Day Two of my Memorial Day weekend in Detroit was equally fantastic. I rode up to Avalon International Breads to hang out, jot down some notes of the previous days events, have espresso (which was pretty good), drink kombucha, and eat more than one sea salt chocolate chip cookie. Those cookies are GOOD. Chocolate, salt, and good chewy-ness, come on. Plus, after being around lots of people the previous day, I needed some solo time. This bakery is fantastic – lots of local ingredients, organic ingredients, delicious pastries and breads. I got to sit and watch them dump out enormous buckets of bread dough and cut and shape it into loaves. And they have an industrial composting program! It’s so rare to see businesses compost their waste. It drives me nutty to see restaurants and other food related businesses use compostable utensils and serving ware, but then offer nothing beyond a trash can for it when you’re done. Avalon has compostable cups, bags, and wrappers, and barely any need for a trash can in the whole operation. I love that. And, assuming you’ll need to use the washroom when you’re there, you’ll get to set your sights on Aretha.
On my way to Avalon, I blew a tube on my bike, so I got to head on down to the Hub of Detroit. It’s a great bicycle shop just a few blocks down Cass from Avalon. I debated just buying the tube and putting it on myself, but, y’all, I had on a white t-shirt! And you know they did it way faster than I could have! HUB!
After the new tube, I slowly weaved my way back down to Hart Plaza. I wanted to check out nospectacle. They were pretty fascinating, as always, but as I mentioned previously, the sound was too quiet. There were some young kids down there checking it out. I was glad to see that. That’s one fun thing about a festival, the potential to check out and be moved by something you haven’t heard or seen before. I then made my way over to the pyramid stage to check out Com Truise. Here’s how he describes himself, and I like it: “Mid-fi synth-wave, slow-motion funk.” Totally. It was perfect to just sit and listen and I really enjoyed it. I had never really listened to his productions before, just recognized his name and wanted to check him out. Glad I did! I usually have fun seeing a live set, or at least think it’s interesting. This was both. After Com Truise was Space Dimension Controller. Now this man, I’m a fan of. I came there knowing that I liked his productions, and left even more of a fan.
Here’s his bio, take it seriously:
In the year 2257, Planet Earth was invaded by an energy seeking race of aliens known as the Pulsovians, sparking a galactic war that lasted over two years. Sadly, the Pulsovian technology was much more advanced than that of the humans and Earth was lost. The Pulsovians drained the energy from the sun, turning it into a Pulsar. Earth died soon after, leaving the humans no choice but to flee into outer space to find a new home. For over 75 years the last remnants of mankind lived aboard their escape vessels. It wasn’t until the year 2334 that a man named Max Tiraquon discovered a distant planet in Mikrosector-50 of the deep space grid that was suitable for human habitation. Shortly after the discovery of Mikrosector-50, Max Tiraquon founded the Tiraquon Security Council as the first government of mankind’s new home. A man known as Mr. 8040 was made the Deputy Space Dimension Controller of the council. By day, Mr. 8040 and Max Tiraquon defend the boundaries of the security barrier from astro bandits and rebels who seek to destroy the barrier and free the citizens of Mikrosector-50. By night, Mr. 8040 lives a secret life… Travelling outside the barrier into deep space where no radar can detect him, Mr. 8040 creates music using ancient earth technologies alone in his Electropod. When ready he ventures deeper into space to uncharted colonies where music is accepted. He plays in illegal night clubs on distant moons and alien proto-spheres. When asked to describe his music, Mr. 8040 doesn’t really have much to say. The only way to describe it is…GALACTIC FUNK.
Super fun, very funky, dubby, spaced out, make me dance the whole time, great set.
By that point, my friend arrived who had never been to the fest before. She knows the area, knows Detroit, grew up here, but is a little bit new to electronic music, Detroit techno, club culture, ETC. She was my bitch. I told her where to go and what to do. She made me! We both have kids, and both homeschool. It was nice to add a new layer to our already dope ass friendship. Plus, I love that she actually wanted to come down to Detroit and hang with me for a day and a night. She’s totally open to new experiences, AND new music. We teach each other cool shit all the time. We went to check out Minx together at the Detroit stage. I described Minx to her as a fierce badass, … and she’s a good DJ. Ha! Yeah, Minx is a badass DJ and producer, and is just generally fierce as hell.
We then went over to the pyramid stage (I told you I spent a lot of time there!) to check out Ana Sia. I didn’t know anything about her. She was pretty good, lots of break beats. She played some version of this remix below. It was a bit different, but I like this one better. So I’ll be lazy and not listen to the other 37 remixes of this song, most of which I’m not into.
Then we got to hang out with friends and got pizza in Hamtramck. Supino’s was closed, losers. Got to meet Noleian Reusse who has a release out on Love What You Feel. Kuri Kondrak just charted track A1 from Noleian’s Black Tekno EP on LWE.
After a nap, my friend and I headed out kind of early to Too Far Gone … No Way Back at the Bohemian National Home. It was the tenth year for the party. It’s legendary and definitely something that I plan to fit into every festival weekend. I wanted to get there early because Sal Principato, Carlos Souffront, and Scott Zacharias were playing a tag team set from 9 to midnight. They were great as expected, each with their own sound. My bitch could tell the difference between all three even when we weren’t in the dance room. I was proud.
While we were taking a break in the other room, I heard this (pretty sure it was this, it was a woman singing a Gil Scott-Heron song):
It wasn’t this, but hell, I’ll put it up anyway. Another cover of a Gil Scott-Heron song.
Scott played excellent disco and funk jams, of course. Carlos played very nice electronic stuff, mostly without vocals. Sal played mostly disco that sounded like more of an NYC style than what normally gets played around here. More highs and mids, a little less bass heavy. But totally excellent and fun! I danced a lot. And Sal P was dancing! I kept thinking, when they’re done, I’m going up to Sal and tell him how great the night was, and how excited I’ve been about it, and that I’ve loved his music for a long time, and blah blah blah. Never got the chance. They continued past midnight until the police came in and told them to turn down the music. It was very sad. I don’t think I’ve ever been at a party that has gotten shut down by cops while I was still there. It was all very slow and calm. My friend was intrigued by the whole experience. Once she realized that we weren’t going to jail or anything, she could just step back and observe how interesting it all was. The cops herded the crowd out of the dance room and into the central room. Most of the people were pretty chill and quiet, but there were a few who were running their mouths. Pretty quickly, Derek Plaslaiko, who was standing up in front, turned his head to the back and said, “Why don’t you shut the fuck up!” On the inside, I was like “Yeah!!” It didn’t really work. But clearly, if you just chill and be patient, it will all work out just fine. Before they started checking ID’s and letting us out one by one, the cops told everyone to drop drugs, put drinks down, and then asked if anybody had a burner. Most of the crowd, not from here and white, was confused. “Gun, anyone have a gun?” It was funny. We all left, it was sad, this couldn’t have happened to nicer folks. But I guess that is one risk of hosting a party in a space like the Bohemian National Home. We went back to our hotel to sleep and prep for Shit Show the next morning. You can read more about that the next time you stop by schoolcraft wax.
The Movement festival occurred this past weekend in Detroit and I had a fantastic weekend, not just at Hart Plaza, but all over Detroit. I love this city. My favorite part of the whole weekend, are you ready, … was riding my bike around town. I strapped that turquoise girl onto my car and headed down to Detroit Saturday afternoon. I stayed in the city all weekend and adored riding in Detroit. I’ll tell you more about that as we move through the details of my weekend. On my way to Detroit, I got a text from Frank Glazer letting me know that DJ Harvey was not in town and would not be playing the festival. Thanks Frank! Frank and Tom Cox of Infinite State Machine came to Detroit this weekend with every intention of enjoying Detroit, and with no intention of going to the festival at all. It’s a politically motivated choice for them, and I totally respect it. Something that I really like about Tom and Frank, in addition to their extensive knowledge of music, willingness to share that knowledge, and their strong support of Detroit and other local music scenes, is that I have never felt judgement from them over my slightly less politically motivated stance toward Paxahau and the Movement Festival. They may be pointing and laughing behind my back! Ha! But then, that’s none of my business or concern. They’re great guys. Buy records from Tom whenever you can:
Anyway, Harvey was the part of the actual festival that I was most excited about, so I was sad to hear that he would not be in town. Hope he’s doing alright. After recovering from that shocker (I said “fuck” a few times), I made it to Detroit and got excited driving down Jefferson past Hart Plaza hearing Michael Geiger play this by Romanthony:
Michael Geiger was someone who I thought I would check out, maybe, but figured since I had seen him play before, I would spend more time at the pyramid (Red Bull) stage checking out Hudson Mohawke and at the main (Vitamin) stage with Metro Area. I did those things, both were fun. I hadn’t planned on going to see Michael Geiger play because I’ve seen him play before in Detroit a few times, and figured I would check out people I can’t see play as frequently. I’d never seen Hudson Mohawke before, and I really like his productions and DJ sets that I’ve heard before. Hudson Mohawke has an interesting head bob that involves a rhythmic slump just slightly behind the beat. He was extremely focused on what he was playing, very serious. I like observing how people move when they play music, instruments, records, audio files, whatever. Just so you know, I’m not poking fun at all, just sharing what I saw. I met up with ethnomusicologist, Luis-Manuel Garcia, who I totally adore, then met up with Carleton Gholz, who just happened to be at the Detroit stage where Michael Geiger was playing records. And thank goodness, because that dude named Geiger was one highlight of my weekend. Seriously, one of my favorites.
Geiger at that stage with that sound system was really excellent. His track selection was fun to dance to. He plays all vinyl and plays lots of great house music. And he is known in Detroit for excellence. There were plenty of local house heads and Detroit DJs down there checking him out. All weekend, I kept saying to folks who didn’t know of him – “Michael Geiger, great Detroit DJ, plays with Mike Huckaby alot. One of my favorite things all weekend.”
The Detroit stage was pretty great this year. It was outside in the spot along Jefferson behind the main stage, not in the underground concrete box as in previous years. In addition to that happy fact, it was not stuck inside a tent (smelly armpit smell?). The stage was set up like the pyramid stage and the river (Beatport) stage with an enormous structure covering almost the entire dance area with lights and sound equipment mounted overhead on the rafters. The production elements of the festival continue to improve every year. For various reasons, my time down at Hart Plaza was limited this year, so I can’t adequately evaluate the sound at the main stage, underground stage, or river stage. I was not over at the Beatport stage at all, and I was only at the underground stage for nospectacle on Sunday afternoon. They sounded good, but maybe not quite loud enough. My skin was not vibrating. Typically, when I hear nospectacle, my skin and other body parts vibrate; my eardrums almost hurt. That was not the case this weekend. However, the sound at the Detroit stage and pyramid stage was pretty great every time I was there.
Michael Geiger. Photo by Carleton S. Gholz.
After Gieger, I caught WAY too little of Daedelous. It was super fun and goofy, as expected! Then I enjoyed the first half of Dam Funk, and moved on to Tortured Soul, then Aril Brikha. I caught the beginning of Aril Brikha’s set. It sounded great. Lot’s of interesting, intellectually stimulating, make you wiggle and flow, techno. It had been raining lightly for a little while by this point. When it actually started to really pour, I decided to head over to Forans. They had AXL pale ale on tap – local and micro is what I like, as long as it’s good. Foran’s is a great place to get in out of the rain, or sun, or just get a festival break. Always see lots of Detroit music folks in there. That’s something that I really love about this weekend, seeing Detroit friends all in a few days that I only see sporadically throughout the rest of the year; meeting more Detroit music people that I don’t know; hanging out with friends who come in from out of town that I typically only see on this weekend; and meeting folks from out of town that I know of or have only interacted with online, but never met in person. LOVE ALL THAT. I met up with Fred Heutte at Foran’s. Fred is a long time 313 list contributor and long time serious Detroit techno fan. Seems like he knows most everybody and most everything. We had met once before briefly two years ago at the 2009 festival. Carlos Souffront introduced us, I think it was during the Starski & Clutch madness. We talked just briefly that year. It was great to actually hang out and chat this year. After Foran’s, then Lafayette Coney Island for coneys and chili cheese fries. Oh my god, I want to have that right now! Fred has tons of great stories about Detroit music, he’s been coming here for years. He’s been to Heaven, saw Ken Collier play. And probably every other important spot (club, record label office, other stuff) in the legacy of Detroit techno.
Omar S. Photo by James M. Rotz.
After a brief nap, I headed down to the Deep Detroit party hosted by Kai Alce featuring Brett Dancer, Omar S, and Kai at 1515 Broadway, the second location of the Music Institute. This party was excellent, as expected. Omar S’s set was another highlight of my weekend. Michael Geiger and Omar S were definitely my favorite things on Saturday. I could not identify anything that Omar S played that night. Tons of 90s house and acid records. Lots of dancing for me. Apparently, lots of other skilled selectors and track identifiers couldn’t I.D. much either, so I felt a bit better about it. During a break outside, I met Shawn Kralism of Night Gallery Records. His Night Gallery partner, Kuri Kondrak, who also writes for Little White Earbuds, was too busy dancing inside to come out and meet me that night. Jerk. Ha. Ha! It’s a joke. I joke. Necessary move. The music WAS that good. I also got to catch up with Tom Cox and Frank Glazer.
My tiredness and crowded-out-ness got the best of me and I left the party around 3, right when Omar S started to get a little space disco on us all, just a little bit. I’m sure it continued to be amazing. There, Day One, Done.
Detroit centered folks, if you do anything this weekend, I heartily suggest that you hear DJ Harvey at the Movement Festival main stage, Saturday afternoon at 2pm. Whatever else you do, go on a boat, see lasers, spend the weekend having every meal at Supinos and drink Verners from the fountain and cough at every first sip because you forget how fizzy it is EVERY TIME, go to Slows, have Bangladeshi food, ride a bike around town, have espresso at Stella and Avalon, buy records, get hyped for Wajeed, possibly miss nearly all the headliners at Hart Plaza (except Claude Young! Although tiredness may get the best of me by then), hula hoop/avoid hula hoops, whatever you like to do. Some of these I will be doing, some I won’t be doing. It’s anyone’s guess. I’m perfectly inconsistent and unpredictable, just like every other human being on the planet.
The past 15 years have been good to us. Many of our artists have gone on to release internationally acclaimed records, have done numerous world tours and have arguably been some of the brightest stars of the past couple decades.
On May 27th, we will celebrate this history with an extra special event. The Event will take place at our favorite place to party in Detroit. Bookies Bar & Grill will be filled with our family and friends as we bring together 4 rooms of entertainment.
Many special plans are in order. In addition to the 46 acts in Bang Tech 12, We will have many international headliners. We will also be featuring friends old and new as well some up and coming talent from here in Detroit. Burst Audio will be providing the soundsystem for the roof and reinforced systems for the other 3 rooms. Visuals provided by Detronik for all 4 rooms. Plus many givaways and other special surprises.
Bang Tech 12 is a very large family that has members residing in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois and Minnesota in the USA as well as France, Scotland, Holland and Costa Rica.
On this special day, we will all come together for a massive all day party that is…….
Black Ice Slipmats
Detroit Techno Militia
Bookies Bar & Grille
Motor City Wine is a great spot. Detroit is full of great, independently owned small businesses. David Armin-Parcells, co-owner with Mark Szymanski, has been a consistent part of representing Detroit music in Detroit for a number of years now. He and Todd Weston (Jit Wiggins of Bang Tech 12) have hosted a weekly Thursday event called Hot Pot for at least two years now. David and Todd are the residents and each Thursday they present consistently interesting DJs. Many of the DJs who play Hot Pot are local to Detroit, but they also bring in great DJs from out of town. Some of the fun one’s that I’ve been two featured Marcellus Pittman (one of my favorite producers and DJs), Theo Parrish, and Mike Huckaby, not all in one night, but each at their own event. No they sure don’t crowd a whole bunch of DJs into one evening, and I love that. David and Todd get busy and get down. It’s a pretty big deal that they have maintained a night for so long in Detroit. It is regularly packed on Thursdays. The fact that they are able to host such great DJs so consistently is a testament to David and Todd’s role as respected folks in Detroit’s music scene. Check it out, spend your money there, listen to fun music. It’s super close to Hart Plaza and right above Foran’s. And if you go to Foran’s, be sure to have some kind of beer brewed in Michigan in honor of schoolcraft wax. You’re still celebrating, right?