It’s only 9:30 on a quiet Sunday night in downtown Ann Arbor, but already a chattering line of people has snaked its way around the corner of the Blind Pig. Ticket stubs and IDs in hand, the crowd files inside to preview the funky brand of hip hop produced by the performers Gift of Gab and Lateef the Truth Speaker. Inside, the large crowd that clusters along the stage is nothing out of the ordinary for the Blind Pig. Just two blocks away from the pricey eateries and plush nightclubs of Main Street, the Blind Pig packs in crowds each night with raw, high-energy performances.“The Blind Pig is one of the only places in Ann Arbor where you can see live music every day,” employee Matt Hanson said. Although the Blind Pig sprung from modest beginnings as a T-shirt shop in the early 1970s, it quickly became a pillar of the Ann Arbor music scene in 1975 when its owners transformed the business into a record label and blues venue. In 1981, under new owners, the club departed from its blues roots to become a legendary showcase for rock and hip-hop groups across the country. Each night, the Blind Pig ushers in fresh and innovative musical acts, making it Ann Arbor’s venues of choice.Visitors arrived from all parts of the state to catch Sunday’s show. One couple, who praised the venue for its rich history and powerful sound system, drove all the way from Grand Rapids to arrive at the Blind Pig for the first time. Regular visitors also commended the club for its laid-back vibe and more intimate feel. “I like coming to the Blind Pig because its such a relaxed environment. It’s a lot more chill than other bars around Ann Arbor,” LSA sophomore Mamta Patel said.Other University students claimed to frequent the Blind Pig for its reasonable prices. “You can always see a great show at the Blind Pig, and its not too expensive. I think that’s part of why it’s such a popular place for students,” LSA sophomore Catie Luria said. The venue’s popularity can also be credited to its eclectic mix of shows, ranging from jazz to hip hop. This year, the Blind Pig has a recruited a steady flow of indie-rock groups, such as the Suicide Machines and Steve Kimock Band, as well performances by acclaimed performers such as Brandon Benson and Mason Jennings. Historically, the club has established itself as a reputable firm, hosting such legendary bands as Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots. But more often than not, the Blind Pig tries to adhere to its local music roots. “We try to feature local bands as often as we can,” Hanson said. Recently, the venue has provided show space for the Ann Arbor bands Smokestack and Rootstand, as well as the popular group Tally Hall. When bands and professional performers aren’t taking the stage at the Pig, laymen can show off their singing ability at karaoke night every Monday. Additionally, beginning in May, the venue will have movie screenings on Sunday. Also, one of the club’s most popular events is The Bang, a retro-themed dance party that invites people once a month to dress in ’70s attire and enjoy a night of quirky fun. Readers interested in purchasing tickets for events at the Blind Pig, should visit www.blindpigmusic.com or call (734) 996-8555 for information.

Chelsea Trull
MC Chris wows the crowd at the Blind Pig on First Street last month. (Forest Casey/Daily)

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