Due to the demand for more user submissions by Mitch, here is my first contribution. Taking a break from prose and poetry to review a popular local venue for live music. The first target for my opinionated tangent is Ferndale's finest music venue, The Magic Bag. After experiencing several shows at this choice establishment, I am offering my humble opinion to you all, with which you are free to agree or disagree. Click "Read More" for wwghosts review.
The Detroit metro-area is abundant with local music venues, ranging on all levels of the class scale, from holes-in-the-walls downtown to posh trendy establishments in the city's suburbs. The one place I've been guest to many times is Ferndale's Magic Bag.
The room is great, not too big, not too small, just right. Intimate, but still large enough to pack in about 300-400 people. The seating arrangement is friendly to those who want to sit and enjoy the show, and for those who like to get up and dance. A pit in front of the stage allows for the most intimate position to take in your favorite musicians' performance.
Drink prices are moderate, at least I could taste the vodka in my White Russian, however, it did not taste like Absolute... The waitresses get a 8 out of 10 on overall service. They're pretty quick about getting your drink, but getting them over to your table when you need them can be a challenge sometimes. Most of the time they are very nice, polite, and all of the girls I've ever seen working there are very attractive.
Each time I've come through that door, I am always greeted by two large, intimidating men. I have my ID ready to be inspected, but hand it to the wrong doorman, at which time I am given a curt and surly order to give it to the other doorman. He looks me over in a questioning manner, hands me back my ID and stamps my hand. I give my money to his counterpart, who laboriously makes change for me. (Opinionated tangent following--->)The whole process takes over a minute. The task of running the door does not require two people. The saying "too many cooks spoil the broth" applies here, the patron doesn't know who's taking money and who's checking IDs, the time it takes to get that straightened out, one guy would already have you stamped and in the club, assuming he can do two menial tasks as once. Running the door is not rocket science, and it doesn't require a team effort either. The whole time, Michigan winter is in force outside, where everyone else is waiting in line to get in. (end of opinionated tangent).
The bar is conveniently located right by the door, in a large foyer area which also includes the restrooms and an area for band merchandise to be set up. Walking into the auditorium-like area through a double doorway, you are greeted by giant cat lamps lining the North and south walls, with the stage all the way to the back of the room. Wooden floors, railing and furniture not only add a friendly, inviting aspect to the room, but aid in the acoustics as well.
Sound, unfortunately, begins with a good sound guy, which can be difficult to find. When you find one, you better hope he likes you, and you don't piss him off, because he alone holds the power of sound control. I've seen many shows at the Bag, and sound is about 50/50. Most recently, at a local band's show, it was less than par, subjecting the audience to seemingly deliberate feedback for the better half of the set. However, for large national acts, the sound is always stellar, no matter where you sit in the room. The greatest band in the world can be made to sound like a toilet flushing if the sound guy wills it so. We all know one should be indifferent in one's profession, but the real world is full of spite, and power hungry and abusive egos, so feed it, don't try to eat it.
Speaking of power hungry, abusive egos...the next thing you will probably notice about this venue, after appreciating the construction and design of the room, are the MIBs. That's right, the Men In Black. Dressed in black, scanning the audience at all times, talking into their headset walkie-talkies. At the first show I went to, I thought they were bodyguards, since the person I was there to see was pretty well known. But at a closer look, the white letters and graphic on the black tee-shirts read "Magic Bag" "Staff" or "Security". I have had the unpleasant experience of being in their path several times, lucky if I got a harsh "Excuse me", and didn't get bumped or pushed one way or another.
Why, if the security staff is so rude and unfriendly, do I continue to shell out $7 - $10 or more per show to be treated like that? Because it's one of the only "nice" places to see premier local talent. The room is great, the waitresses are nice (for the most part) in more ways than one, and it's in a decent area. The Magic Bag gets a score of 6 out of 10, earning points for waitstaff, room design and feel, local artist showcases, and location, but loses points for security attitude, no reentry, parking locations, and serving alcohol (especially hard liquor) in plastic cups.
That is all for my humble opinion, I encourage you to visit this club and challenge my opinion with your own.
"You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself."