Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pontiac, Rock City?

Driving through downtown Pontiac may give you the impression that it's a dead city - a ghost town. Aside from people going in and out of the courthouse during the day or the clubs at night, there's not a lot of human activity - at least, of the non-shady variety. But recently I saw a glimmer of hope amidst the cracking concrete, maybe something like Pontiac used to look.

A few weeks ago I saw NeedtoBreathe, one of my favorite bands, perform at The Eagle Theater, which is on Pike Street in downtown Pontiac, and is part of the Crofoot entertainment complex. 600 other people saw them too - on a Tuesday night. Did I mention this was in downtown Pontiac?

Now, the draw for the concert may have had something to do with the $15 ticket, which is practically free compared to most shows at DTE, or the incredible live show that NeedtoBreathe puts on, but I still think it's pretty significant that something happening in Pontiac on Tuesday night (that wasn't Arts, Beats and Eats) drew such a sizable crowd.

And the Eagle is a cool place. A plaque outside the door said the theater was built in 1925 (check out this sweet old photo), and some of the old architecture and decor is still visable. Inside, it's been given a fresh coat of funky orange paint. It's general admission, so no assigned seating, but there are different levels where you can stand and view the stage (this is important when you're only 5 feet tall and like to get up close and personal with the band), and small seating areas on either side. For the averagely-proportioned person, there really isn't a bad spot in the house.

Maybe it's just my bias towards the band, but the show was incredible. The stage set-up, lights and sound were great. I could actually hear the lyrics over the instruments, which often isn't the case at small theater concerts. At the end of the encore, the band got the whole room quieted down enough that they played a couple of songs entirely unplugged (they usually do at the end of their shows), and you could actually hear them. It still gives me goosebumps to think about it!

Procuring tickets for the show was a bit tricky, as The Crofoot/Eagle doesn't really have a physical, staffed ticket office, but they're easy enough to buy online.

Back in the good ole days, Pontiac was a happenin' place - a place people drove TO, not just around or through. Maybe with a little help from the Crofoot and the Eagle, it can be again.

*The above photo is from Paul Hitz's photostream on Flikr.

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