Nothing beats an old rave story, especially Detroit ones. It always surprises me how much the people who attended parties back then were inspired and how dearly they hold onto their musical memories. Being part of something is what many people yearn for and being part of something fresh and revolutionary is truly special. Detroit Techno is one of those things. It isn’t without its ups and downs though and Detroit knows this better than many other cities.
When it comes to Detroit raves, nobody knows the ups and downs of throwing a party like the promoter does, and attempting to throw a party in the D requires a straight head and loads of gusto. Many have tried and many have failed, been chewed up, robbed, hacked, and sent back to the burbs. When it came to the late nineties to the early 2000 era, throwing a rave became much more difficult. Parties were constantly getting busted and good ones were becoming rarer by the weekend. Some people still managed to pull it off though.
Mike P from YPC Productions recently sent me a story he wrote about when he threw rave parties in his youth. It is a common tale that many have experienced and I feel that it really gives some insight into that time period of Detroit parties. Being at an epic event is one thing but throwing a successful one in Detroit is a high that can last forever.
Below is an excerpt from a cool story that Mike wrote about his rave adventures and it definitely deserves a read. You can check out the full story located here.
-July 14th, 2000 finally arrived. I’m sure I probably didn’t sleep the night beforehand. I was excited, but more nervous than I had ever been in my life. On one hand if everything worked out this could become a legendary night many of us would remember forever, on the other hand there was a fair chance I could end up in jail. It was a risk I decided to take, and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made.
Most of the YPC and I got to the venue in the afternoon. Part of the deal was that we would clean up the mess from the last party. We were also going to put black plastic sheeting over all the windows. Naturally we also needed to be there while the sound and lighting companies set up. Oddly the venue was in more of a residential neighborhood than an industrial neighborhood, and when we started setting up some young local kids kept coming in the venue and running around. This was awkward for me because as much as I wanted to yell at them so they would leave, I didn’t want to frighten them enough for them to get their parents as to be completely honest I was definitely scared of the idea of getting confronted by the locals. This was the ghetto, and I had a lot more to lose than these people, so I didn’t want to piss any of them off.
Things were going according to plan until we hit a couple more roadbumps. Lucas wasn’t able to get the video camera he promised, and whoever was supposed to pick up K-Step at the airport had to back out. I was very stressed out and anxious about the party and admit that I flipped out on Lucas. This night had become the most important thing in my life at that time, as I’d like to think it was for all of the YPC, and I knew we’d want video footage of it to watch down the road. Unfortunately, there was no back up plan and there was no footage shot that night.
The next problem was determining who would now head to the airport to pick up K-Step. For some reason everyone seemed to have an excuse for why they couldn’t, so it was up to me. Kellee and I drove to the Detroit Metro Airport. At the time you still could walk up to a gate where someone was arriving so we parked and went in. We went to the wrong gate and when we realized that and knew we were running late we started running to the correct gate. Nobody had cell phones at that time so if we missed K-Step there would be no way to get a hold of him! It was really dark at the party where I saw him spin before so I barely knew what he looked like. We finally got to the gate just in time and there he was! He had a big, hard case full of drum & bass and scratch records, and he was wearing the coolest clothes I think I’ve ever seen. I was relieved. I was excited. I was starting to calm down because I knew we were one step closer to the party going off.
When we got back to the venue the lighting and sound was ready. Everything looked great and was ready to go. To my surprise people started showing up between 9 and 10pm before I had even posted directions. I knew this happened at big Saturday parties when the location of the venue leaked, but I wasn’t expecting it to happen at our little Friday party. I started to get the sense that we might get a lot of people and that this party could be something really special. I realized I had to get authoritative because I didn’t want these people walking into the party for free. I yelled out to all the people that showed up early that they needed to form a line on the outside of the building. Within seconds I realized that the line was as long as the building and would need to wrap around soon as people kept showing up.
I knew that before anything else I needed to change the recording on the YPC infoline to list the directions. I had a very retro, mobile phone in my car that my parents had given me just for emergencies and I planned to use that. There was just one problem. I didn’t realize it before that night, but once someone listens to my placeholder greeting and hears the beep they automatically leave a voicemail, and the system wouldn’t let me record a new greeting with the directions until I had listened to every voicemail and every hang-up. Shit! Lots of people were calling and even more were calling as I was listening to the initial messages. It seemed like it was neverending! I would hear a few hangups and then a couple messages with a raver saying something like, “Hey man! We’re trying to get directions to the party. We don’t know where to go!” I was freaking out big time because it just wouldn’t stop. Dozens and dozens of calls kept coming in and the line along the side of the building kept getting bigger. Finally, I reached the last message and I was able to record the new greeting. As was the standard in those days I listed directions from the north, east, south, and west. I did it slowly and carefully because I didn’t want to risk having to record it again.
Once it was done I double checked it and then booked it for the door. I knew later in the night I’d be able to let someone else do it but I decided to take the money at the door myself for most of the night. That was the only party I threw were I didn’t offer pre-sale tickets and I learned my lesson because it scared the crap out of me to have that much cash in my possession.
People started coming in non-stop for hours, literally. I was stuck by the door but I knew the party upstairs was a success by 11pm. It wasn’t until around 2am or so that I was finally able to have Kellee take over the door so I could head upstairs. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I did. The venue was completely packed. There was no way this many people could have fit in “The Whorehouse”! The security guys were freaking out because they only brought 2 people and the party was 5 times bigger than they expected. Even Wilhelm K said he was only expecting to see a couple hundred people and there was clearly a thousand. It was magical.
I touched base with my YPC friends and soon realized that I was possibly the only sober person in the building. People were dancing. Everyone was having fun. The dream I had been working on for so long was finally realized. There were even breakdancers getting down on the linoleum that Billy brought. I couldn’t get over how many people were there!
I had assembled a good lineup, but this party became legendary because of the YPC family of friends. All those times they handed the flyer to someone and talked to them about it, all the times they told someone about Triptronix, all the times when the conveyed that this was a rave by partykids for partykids: That’s what made the difference. We made a lot of friends and those friends all came with all their friends and their friends’ friends. It was a team effort and we were all enjoying the night together.
I had actually timed my entrance into the main room specifically to catch the end of K-Step and be there for when Dave started his set as Triptronix. When K-Step finished he surprisingly got on the microphone and thanked the crowd. He gave the YPC a really heartfelt compliment about how this was by far the best 1st party he had seen thrown by any production company anywhere. To this day that still means a lot to me. After that Mike A got on the mic and gave Triptronix an unbelieveably over-the-top intro. It was so big and Mike A talked him up so much that several attendees that we met years later actually thought Triptronix was a big headliner from out of state!
What was great about the sound setup is that Dave’s gear was connected to the PA mixer differently than everyone else. All DJ’s played on the same equipment (Technic’s 1200 vinyl turntables and Pioneer DJ mixer) but Dave had his drum machines and synths plugged into the PA mixer. The reason that matters is that his music was set at a slightly higher volume than everyone else, and when he started his set around 3am it was louder than anyone else had been the entire night. The bass hit so hard it was unreal. In fact, it was so loud that pieces of the ceiling in this old building actually started falling onto the floor. Everyone was going going crazy.
Halfway through his set the unthinkable happened. A random raver had snuck onto the stage and tripped over a cable completely cutting out Dave’s music. The building went from epic euphoria to a dead-silent standstill at the drop of a hat. Shit! The few of us on stage looked over and immediately rushed the randoms off the stage, but before we knew it Dave plugged it back in and before anyone could really grasp what happened the music came back on perfectly timed to a beat! Everyone in the building went fucking apeshit! It was incredible.
To continue reading Mike’s story please visit here