Photos by Mintypics.com
Article by Nick Starr
The Machine Shop Concert Lounge located at 3539 South Dort Highway in
Flint is one of Mid-Michigan’s premier live music venues, carrying
on the tradition of the great American rock clubs like CBGB's and The
Whiskey A Go - Go.
The club first opened in 2002, with a popular Flint-based cover
band of the day, Spirit Bone, being the first band ever to take the
stage. Since that time "The Shop" has played host to everyone from
funky blues rockers Clutch to rockabilly/metal fusionists Volbeat.
Over the past eight years the club has built a reputation as one of the
top small rock bars in the country. Bands seem to either love the
venue, or if they have not been there yet, it is one of the places that
they most want to play. When young up and comers My Darkest Days
played the venue for the first time this year, they told owner Kevin
Zink that they had wanted to play there since they were kids. Recently
modern rock mega-stars Three Days Grace took the stage, and after the
show a crew member with the band said that it was the loudest crowd he
had heard in his four years with the band.
Zink says, "I love it when
arena bands that are too big to play here come and play here anyway." Ryan McCombs, lead singer of alternative metal band Drowning Pool, is
such a fan of the venue that he actually tattooed Flint’s location on
the map of Michigan on the inside of his hand—which is not so unusual for Michigan
natives, but perhaps a little more out of the ordinary for an Indiana
native playing in a band based out of Texas.
For all the acclaim and
accolades Zink is quick to credit the bands' love of the club to the
crowds. "The people that come here are blue collar Flint proud," says
Zink. "They want to cheer and have a good time, to forget the worries of
their city for a bit." The owner continues, “The staff and the crowds
here are a big family, and the bands are a part of that—they can feel
it." He goes on to say, "I really feel that the people of Flint and
the surrounding areas are responsible for all of this."
Though things have been going well these past eight years, Zink still sees room for improvements. "I would
love to add dressing rooms to make the club more band friendly." He also
still has a couple of bands on his wish list to play at The Machine Shop. "I would love to have
Stone Sour and Social Distortion play here," he says. But perhaps his grandest vision for the club involves expansion. "The biggest goal would be to add a second
location somewhere, possibly on the west side of the state or in
Toledo." As we wrap up our conversation, Zink leaves me with a parting
thought: "If it is at all possible, I try to make it happen. I'm a
big fan of music and this all still excites me."
© Nick Starr, 2010