Finally, I can sit down to write this report. I think I’ll start calling them reports. Been thinking of it as a review for a while. But really, it’s more a description of just how awesome something is than an actual review. So this is my awesomeness description. That’s the new category. I just finished listening to Rob Theakston’s Sunday night radio show on wrfl.fm out of Lexington, KY. This week was a special on Tribe records out of Detroit. Excellent excellent show of some beautiful jazz selections. I always learn lots of new things when I listen to his show. It’s every Sunday night from 8-10PM. I fretted around after that trying to find something to listen to that I could write to. More jazz, I guess. Donald Byrd radio on last.fm is what I chose. It’s working.
So Discolanti at Woodruff’s in Ypsilanti, MI. This is the third of this bimonthly party. It’s pretty fantastic. Not sure why I would ever miss it. Todd Osborn hosts it at Woodruff’s, you know, that place that I like alot. The wonderful Chuck Hampton also takes care of business at this party with great disco, house and funk selections. You should just go so that you can watch him behind the turntables. He’s super cute and dances, just a teensy bit – like that “I’m a sweet gay man, not really flamboyant, except when I wear a red feather boa and enormous gem rings on every digit while I play records at the Interdimensional Transmissions Halloween party, you love me, I’m handsome AND cute AND smart” kind of thing. Other DJs bring hot sounds as well to this party, like Mike Trombley, Rob Theakston, and Carlos Souffront. This week was Todd and Chuck, and it was exciting as always.
All the photos in this post, I took. Can you believe it?! I actually brought a clunky camera with me and attempted stealing some souls.
I don’t really play video games, but these are like, cool, or something. I forgot to snap some photos of the bar and Andy and Hasan, the guys who run this place. They do an incredible job and are loved and adored the world over, seriously. Remember everybody’s name. Get all in your shit, in a good way. They know what’s up. Excellent beer selection, from Michigan and elsewhere. Excellent liquor selection. Anyway, Woodruff’s is just cool as shit.
Read WAY more about Finck’s Detroit Special Overalls at Sweet Juniper.
And, hanging above the fireplace, yes, a fireplace (ski lodge):
I got there early, long before most of my other friends arrived. I’m special like that. I know how to get to a place super early and enjoy sitting alone listening, maybe writing. And then it gets a bit long, I’m here by myself still, my only friend here is busy playing fantastic music. He doesn’t need me bothering him. I actually got whiny enough that I nearly went home early. That would be stupid, because just look at what I would have missed.
Todd played lots of great italo songs early in the night. One track sounded kind of like a Giorgio Moroder thing with some vocoder vocals. Couldn’t make out the vocals, didn’t know the track.
Then a super cool version of this, not this one, something way awesomer. Remember, this is the awesomeness meter post.
Brendan Gillen of Ectomorph would go to the store as a child and say house into a casio synthesizer and then play how-how-how-how-how-how-how-house nation. When I heard this song, sort of early in the night, I thought, this is great, but I wish I could hear it later, while dancing. And I did hear it again! But I was engrossed in a good conversation with a new friend, so sadly, I was not dancing yet again. However, I did exclaim, “He’s such a great DJ” to new friend. And it’s true. Todd is totally fucking ridiculous. His sets are consistently exciting. I’m never let down. Back to when I was still sitting on my own, writing a list of themes for the concluding chapter of my dissertation (!! I know what to write, I just have to write it !!), when my ears were then graced with this:
Had I not been sitting, pen in hand, I would have been dancing like a freak. I then thought how good everything sounds. It keeps getting better. Sound system is solid. Perfect for hearing everything I want to hear. Meaning, good for the songs I get to hear, but also good for all the different sounds that come through.
And then, oh my god, this. All those bass sounds get me.
It’s here when you want it. Oh boy. And then, right when I thought I was going to whine my way all the way to the car at midnight. I had already been busy with my kids all day, what can I say. All my friends arrived at once. Arthur Russell song, here. “I want to see all my friends at once.” I was in heaven.
I did not hear this at discolanti, but you could easily expect to. Hearing Arthur Russell played is always a favorite moment for me. I also met some new folks, friends of good friends. I ended up talking most of the night. Now here’s a reference to that post about how much I love skilled divas. When someone comes up and wants to make a request, just say “I can’t hear you.” Your friends will laugh.
Chuck played Patrice Rushen “Haven’t You Heard,” but I already put that song up in an earlier post. Can’t put it up twice!!
He also played this business. Always a favorite!
Of course, I really enjoyed hearing this next one. I had been listening to it earlier that very evening, like probably 5 times or something. My boys didn’t complain. I have a tendency to listen to songs I really like repeatedly. I go in phases, sometimes come back to songs and do the same thing all over.
Here’s a little snip from a conversation I had out on the patio: “You’re still writing!? Do we need to talk again?” As in, “it’s been a while since you interviewed me, Denise, I can’t believe it’s taking you this long. So much has happened since we did our interview, we should probably sit down so I can fill you in and make sure you’re doing this right.” I then gave this friend the finger for the first time.
Wait, there’s more.
There’s a jukebox. It plays 45s. Crazy awesome funk 45s. It plays records. Acquired broken, and then restored by Todd; fixed and modified by Todd; filled by Todd. 1 play for 25 cents. It doesn’t matter what you choose for your quarter, it’s all fantastic.
And that shit is loud, so when the needle moves down and hits the record, you hear it at a disturbing volume. I love that. Sonoramic Sound. 120 Selections.
Get your fucking hand out of the way, Ethan, jesus christ:
There were many more great songs and sounds heard all night. Lots of lovely conversation with super cool friends. New friends made. I even danced a little bit, I think I was tired, and just really having fun hanging out. Woodruff’s has great things going on every night of every week.
So I went to a local electronic show tonight. It was free, early, on a Thursday night. I went because I thought I might enjoy the music, see friends, and write a little bit. I did all those things. I caught the end of a trainwrecking DJ set. I know mistakes happen, to anyone. I’m fine with that. But when a DJ has a local techno radio show and regularly trainwrecks to such a degree that I can’t listen to it at all, and then does the same thing tonight, well … Then was the electronic, sort of noise, interesting hip hop, live set by a local musician. Once it got going, it felt pretty fun. I was just sitting by myself, having a drink, writing some thoughts down, listening to music. Yes, I do that. I like it.
Anyway, the early show was supposed to go until 11pm. Reasonable night for me, especially since I’ve got big dance all night plans tomorrow night! The place was not that crowded. It’s Ypsilanti. Thursday night. 8-11PM. You’ve got to know that a small crowd was what you were going to get. Come 10:30, I look up to see the musician sitting with his girlfriend/wife (?) talking. Fine, normal. Then the song ends. Silence. People look around. Musician says, “Yeah, I’m done.” Oh you are? Diva. You’re done for the night? A half hour early? I hope you’re not getting paid, sweetheart. Because that’s beyond diva bullshit.
I adore divas. Love the diva. Straight men who are divas, even better. But being a diva doesn’t mean you straight up fuck shit up. Do you know where you are? You’ve had a few releases on a good label, an album in 2008, then a few tracks since then, sparsely here and there. You’re in southeast Michigan. Any idea how many brilliant musicians are here? Brilliant. In Detroit, Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, etcetera. And if we look at just the electronic musicians. Brilliant, amazing people. And you’re going to slap a few sounds down and turn in early? Please. All these incredible musicians around here, who regularly play to a crowd of seven. And play the shit out of that crowd. Of seven. Can you imagine how that must feel? Not everybody likes to play to seven people. Sometimes they get to play to a full club in Detroit. Some of them travel internationally and play to thousands. We get to hear these musicans play music, records, songs, whatever, for us in intimate clubs with so few people, sometimes, that I could do cartwheels. I probably should next time. Doesn’t mean anything. It just means I’m spoiled here and I know it.
And this man had friends there to see him. Your seven friends came out to see you, and you treat them like that? For real? Are you sure?
I don’t normally write/say negative shit like this publicly. Why waste my time making people uncomfortable, or even angry. I like to write about what I like. But this was beyond necessary, or reasonable.
Whatever, I’m going to go listen to some real house music. Turn it up!
Woodruff’s. Come see why it’s one of my favorite places ever.
OK, I’ll say it … EVAR.
See, so sweet, they even named this flower after it.
Join legendary DJ’s/renowned electronic artists: Todd Osborn (Ghostly/Spectral) and Chuck Hampton (Secret Mixes Fixes) along with Mike Trombley (Macho City) for a night of debaucherous disco, jackin’ house and italo sleaze; underground sounds new and old.
Oh, what’s that? You don’t live close enough to Ypsilanti? You can’t make it? That is so sad. Guess you’ll have to just listen here instead.
Just to give you a visual. I’m standing up at my laptop, yes, standing up, it’s hot here, tired of sitting. There’s a special spot for it right next to my turntable. I’ve got my nice headphones plugged in, listening to Patrice Rushen. Dancing in place. Feet firmly planted. Bouncing. Do it.
Monday morning, heading past Hart Plaza around 10 AM on my way to Avalon before Shit Show, I heard this LOUD filling Jefferson and Woodward, coming from the Detroit stage at Hart Plaza. Sound check indeed. And I didn’t know that Harold Faltermeyer composed this until two minutes ago, seriously. I’m laughing so much that tears almost flowed, partly because I’m in a computer lab and trying desperately to be quiet.
Monday was an excellent day for music! It was even better than I had expected, especially Waajeed at Shit Show, hosted by Gary Springs Hunting Club. Yes, those nerds had Waajeed play their party. Didn’t realize that, didjya? Apparently not many people did, cause that floor was empty, and it had nothing to do with Waajeed. Hey, more room for me to dance. But let’s backtrack, I’m trying to be more linear and not blob all over the place. How’s that working out …
After a short, but excellent sleep, my wonderful friend and I got up and went down to Avalon for more espresso, cookies, bread. Yeah, we hung out there for a while. It was a perfect way to start the day. Bought my mom a beautiful marble rye. Their buttery brioche’s are excellent. We shared our hopes and dreams for our futures, honestly, we did. We regretfully parted ways and I rode around the city for a while. Once again, enjoying my solo time. I really like riding my bike in a city. I used to live in NYC for five years in the late 90s, and loved riding my bike all over the place there. I had never been on the Dequindre Cut before. I didn’t carry my camera with me this time, so no photos of my own here, sorry. But here’s the cut:
And yes, there’s still plenty of great pieces like this up along the trail:
I had a great ride. I wasn’t exactly sure where to get on, so I rode through the Eastern Market area down to Gratiot, rode down Gratiot, didn’t spot the ramp, and then turned around when I got right downtown and rode back up Gratiot. The ramp was just a bit past Russell. I turned onto the ramp and excitedly rode down onto the trail. There were lots of flowers and grasses, new trees, and plenty of old growth still as well. I rode down to the river and then zipped around town over to Grand River and up to TV Bar for Shit Show.
Oh my god, another highlight of my weekend. I had a pretty good weekend, I must say. All the good shit is out there, you just have to know where to find what you like. Matt Abbott and Aaron Cummins, the brilliant minds behind Gary Springs Hunting Club, know how to take care of Detroit. This is the second year in a row that they have hosted a ridiculous 24 hour party during the festival weekend. It was really good, and successful, last year. It was the same this year. They had a petting zoo around back. Yes they did. What a sweet little surprise. I was on a mission for Metro Area, so I sauntered right past those barn animals. Metro Area. Yes they did. The line up for this party was fantastic. There was something good going on at all hours. Metro Area was super fun, and after standing around talking with friends, they got me up and dancing at noon! After them was Eddie C, also excited for him. I love his disco edits, and his productions. He played a pretty nice, minimal edit of this:
No vocal, and not much of the melody line, at least not in the portion he played. And he played it for quite a nice long while. It was not the Francois K edit. Maybe it was his own edit. It was a really great set. I danced in a shady spot outside for at least the first half of his set. Oh yeah, and I met David Shettler of Moon Pool & Dead Band! Cool guy, great band.
I had to tear myself away from Eddie C because Com Truise was playing inside, and I wanted to see him again. Good choice. I went inside and sat down for a while and really enjoyed his set. Then Waajeed. What can I say. One of the best things for me all weekend: Michael Geiger, Omar S, Waajeed. Excellent. Quality. Greatness. I didn’t know what he was going to play. I’ve never seen him DJ before, and definitely not in Detroit. This is who Waajeed is:
Half of Platinum Pied Pipers. Founder of the Bling47 record label. And many etceteras.
Here’s his bio from the Red Bull Music Academy site:
Waajeed is no stranger to those who know their beats. After helping Slum Village get from dot to bang with J Dilla in the mid-’90s, he dropped cuts with Dwele and a series of classics on his label Bling47. Then came PPP, a collaboration between Waajeed and Saadiq, with guests like Sa-Ra and Spacek, the Platinum Pied Pipers album brought a blend of Detroit soul, hip hop, house and rock to the table. Like a lot of cats from the D, Waajeed is all about the music. Platinum has never sounded so good!
Now do you realize why some of us were excited? Yeah. So his set was fantastic. He started off with some really nice hip hop. I was standing in the back corner bobbing my head, staring at the carpeted floor thinking “why is there carpet now? I hate dancing on carpet.” I quickly got over the carpet issue and didn’t give it another thought. After a bit of hip hop, he started playing some techno, house, electro, and old funk and hip hop that I didn’t know; tracks that are so Detroit without necessarily being made here. He played some Detroit stuff, but also lots of things that get played in and around Detroit by serious selectors. Heard a few Kraftwerk songs. Some Dopplereffekt.
Pretty sure I heard these:
Also, Blue Monday by New Order. Plenty more that I could not identify! Like this one bouncing, ridiculous techno track that I’m sure I’ve heard before, but have no idea what it is. It was the hottest thing I’ve heard in a long time. It’s like Alexander Robotnik, but not. And, just to add some slightly extraneous information, Axel Foley’s theme song by Harold Faltermeyer is on Waajeed’s Electric Street Orchestra mix! Axel Foley! Harold Faltermeyer! Hearts from me to that. There was tons of greatness throughout his whole set. I think I stepped out for just a second, but didn’t want to miss a moment of his hour and a half set. And the only times I stopped dancing were to stand in front of the fan.
I almost forgot to share this gem with you.
That's Aaron Cummins and Matt Abbott. Party Throwers.
After that special little party, I enjoyed a hearty, lengthy meal at Slows. I attempted the festival, but ended up needing to head home to take care of some more important things, last minute. There were some good things I missed, particularly Claude Young. Some other time, I’m sure.
Lovely seeing and meeting you all. Looking forward to next year. Also looking forward to the next time I go to Detroit, like, this week.