The night of Wednesday, March 26th, Ferndale’s Grasshopper Underground hosted an educational experience for me. I was schooled by Lauren Vellucci’s expert handling of the decks, and Monty Luke threw down a lesson plan that had me groovin’ till the lights went up. The night’s called Stimulus. It’s held every Wednesday at the Grasshopper with a monthly episode brought to you by Walter Glasshouse of Detroit Techno House. It’s a House haven featuring some of Detroit’s finest DJs.
Those who showed up the last Wednesday of March brought a vibe that was divine. There were old school, new school, no school, house heads, speaker freakers, party animals, and even a few bar hoppers. Though it was my first Stimulus, I had a beautiful time. Most everyone, including myself, seemed to be running into someone they hadn’t seen in far too long. Hugs and smiles were abundant.
I’ve been frequenting the Grasshopper for Tuesday night’s Comfort Food. The CF boys have a delicious taste in music. Their guests are always fresh. I know all I need to bring is my dancin’ shoes and I’ll have a great time. From around 11:30PM to closing time Tuesday nights, you can find me in a trance of movement by those speakers – shaking my hips, twisting my feet, jumping with the beat. I’ll be there.
Dance is a form of meditation for me. Often times when I stop and listen to the music, I am overcome by it’s complexity. Though when I combine what I hear with movement, I find myself in a state of bliss. I am not in a bar, filled with people and surrounded by concrete walls. I am floating, high above the city, into fog, into wind, into aether. Others move with me, and we all float off together.
When the body is submersed in creative dance, an amazing natural high is achieved. My buzz started Wednesday night as soon as I found a small space in the crowd. I began by shakin’ my hips, then tappin’ my toes and kickin’ my feet. But I was distracted by watching Lauren on the ones and twos. She had such care with her combinations, pulling in new tracks like she were a chemist mixin’ two volatile liquids. The result was a steaming, foaming creation. I was especially fond of her closing tracks, heated with soulful lyricism. Then Monty Luke came in. And I began to dance again.
Monty had me swaying like I was caught in a wave pool. I felt lifted on the crest, the peaks of the beats, and pulled towards the floor as the bass shook deep. I looked around the small underground bar and could see shadowy faces expressing joy. I could see bodies riding that wave, bobbing with utter freedom. And even as the lights came up, we were all floating off together into a sea of elation. Then the music stopped. We gathered our senses, our coats and friends. We went our ways having gained a feeling much like that achieved through meditation.
I’m still learning how to dance to House. As a student of the 160-180 bpm range, the slower tempo makes it difficult for me to keep my step. Though the musical selection of Lauren Vellucci and Monty Luke has been excellent instruction. I felt as though my heart rate were locking into that 120-135 bpm range, creating what might be described as transcendence – a relief from the body and the mind. That deep steady bass traveled through me and into my hands and feet. I became part of the sound. The Grasshopper Underground Wednesday night was full of people dancing to their heart drums, their heart rates synching with the music. It was a most informative experience indeed. And due to this experience, I will be there in front of those speakers every Wednesday night I can make it.