Archives For Event Reviews

Where’s the Jungle?

Laura Bailey —  May 16, 2017 — 2 Comments

“Where’s the jungle?” has been a question on my mind since my last jungle write-ups in 2014 (links at the end). Many have accused us junglists of being a dying breed – loving a form of electronic music that is not liked by enough people to be played… though I beg to differ. Drum N Bass has been making a comeback along with its amen-driven predecessor, jungle. Sure it will never be “popular”, but the underground scenes are where my heart lies (and I know yours does too if you’re reading this). This year, I am delighted to write, jungle has found its place close to home again. For those of you who are wondering where to find good jungle & DNB this festival season, you’ll be pleased to learn what our fair city has to offer for Movement goers and Detroiters alike. Detroit may be the birthplace of techno, and I am all about supporting our homegrown talent, but I assure you, fellow junglists and DNB-heads, your prayers have been recognized and will be answered in the coming years. Starting now!

Thursday, May 11th, at a neighborhood bar in Hamtramck called Trixie’s. Formally a place called Turtle & Inky’s, an old house turned bar/restaurant. A fat man, possibly German, stands on top of the building holding a mug that reads “City Club”. A mural depicting downtown Hamtown decorates the large wooden fence that separates the sidewalk from the backyard of the bar. A green light gleams above the front door to welcome customers. Walking inside, a foosball table is to my left, the bar ahead, and the stage is to my right. Four men and five turntables are set up and a crowd watches them in awe. This is what I came for – a monthly thrown by Steve Drones, producer, mixer, artist, and promoter. Steve is a junglist at heart, though one might catch him playing breaks, trip hop or hip hop just as often. Trixie’s is the perfect place for him. It is intimate and interesting. People I know and don’t know move about the bar – conversations, laughter, dancing, smoking out back. Everyone either there for the music, the vibes, or both, like myself – I watch the turntablists intently, then dance a bit, hear a flawless cut and my attention turns to the performers again. I get distracted by the lovely scenic slideshow on the TVs around the venue, the string of colored lights held up by coat hooks along the far wall, and the old obscure vinyl records resting on a shelf above them.

“Good Vibes & Heavy Breaks” is the name of this breakbeat show and it’s held at Trixie’s the second Thursday of every month. You can expect to hear all of the aforementioned genres with the mastery of turntables that only scratch DJs know. And that is what Steve is showcasing tonight – a scratch cypher (cypher meaning artists jamming together). He mixes beats in the background, upper stage right. Jacoby Cataclysmic is to his left with a deck, mixer, and a scratch record. Down front are Joey P and Dave Petty Cash, both with a deck, mixer, and a record each. All three take turns scratching over Steve’s mix – stabs, scribbles, and stutters. I won’t bore you with my lack of scratch terminology, though if you’re interested to learn more about their techniques, YouTube DMC World Championship videos and educate yourself. The film “Wave Twisters” with Q-Bert’s score turned me on to scratch DJing when I was younger. And I’ve been a fan since I watched my first scratch video from ’96 of the X-Men battling the Invisibl Skratch Picklz at the International Turntablist Federation world finals. They make it look easy (and incredibly fun), but believe me, it’s a skill that takes a lot of time and patience to hone and it helps to be musically trained.

Cataclysmic, Petty Cash, and Joey P rock it one after another. I can’t say who played best, but it’s all about the play anyway. Drones jumped in for a bit as his special guests had breaks on the break. After Steve’s turn, Joey P took upper right and started to mix some jungle tracks. Cataclysmic returned to his post on stage and scratched a bit over Joey P’s mix. Then, like a true music nerd, he sat down behind the drum set that is always on stage at Trixie’s. He quietly began to tap in beat, finding patterns to sync with the mix. I wanted to yell to Jacoby to play louder, but he was playing for himself, immersed in his own world where only he and the music could reside. I live for these moments – improvised, live music that will never be replicated, the artist in a world of his or her own, the crowd enjoying the hell out of it, feeling good and loving life. I watched the drummer till he stepped down, then I danced to jungle till I broke a sweat. Good Vibes & Heavy Breaks will never disappoint a junglist. I’m certain that anyone who truly loves the rhythmic complexity of this style of music loves anything Drones will play and promote. Turntablism is an art that all us junglists appreciate, not to mention percussive elements like the old school drum patterns we hear on top of heavy bass lines (drums and bass).

Drones is keeping the jungle alive this festival season by featuring Michigan jungle and DNB DJs at Trixie’s on Memorial Day for a Junglist Throwdown featuring artists from Labelless Records out of Columbus, OH. Here’s a link to the show: http://www.2ndnaturerecords.com/blog/2017/05/13/2ndnatures-junglist-throwdown-featuring-labelless-records/. Steve Drones will also be performing at a DNB show on Sunday the 28th, downtown at Checker Bar. This event will be MASSIVE! Here’s a link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dnbid-presents-dom-and-roland-uk-jamal-jaybee-chrissy-tee-renan-tickets-33758258861. Headlining is Dom & Roland, a long-time DNB producer from the UK on Moving Shadow and Metalheadz records. Jamal from San Francisco and Jaybee from Tampa are also headlining. When I saw that Dom & his Roland were coming to Detroit, I danced around my living room. This will be a treat for all junglists and I have to thank the DnBid crew from Chicago for making it happen. Plus they added two legit producers (Jamal & Jaybee) to the lineup with a handful of Detroit & Chicago talent.  For those of you who don’t know the headliners, check them out (see below). They are staples. Recognize!

My favorite Dom & Roland track, “Deckard’s Theme”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3GoakO9yLw

Dom’s classic ’98 album “Industry”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vk1IIR-Z8ic

Jamal’s “Jungle Music” off DJ SS’s “Back to Jungle” album, released in 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsjlCxieBBg

Jaybee’s “No Need to Worry”, released this year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kk2vjQBYDQ

Back to that question, where’s the jungle? It’s here, downtown, uptown, in my head and hopefully in yours now too. Love what you love and hopefully others will love it soon. Author Anais Nin wrote, “Music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together.” She’s right. We all love music whether it be jungle or techno, rock or hip hop. The genres that seemingly separate us actually bring us closer together. We are all parts of the same magic. If you see me this festival season, come melt with me and let’s make magic. \(^.^)/

Interested in reading more about the Detroit jungle scene? Check out these articles about Konkrete Jungle Detroit, a collective consisting of Detroit DNB/jungle DJs who had played Movement 2014-2016.

“An Evening with Konkrete Jungle Detroit”: https://www.detroittechnohouse.com/2014/05/19/an-evening-with-konkrete-jungle-detroit/

“Konkrete Jungle Detroit’s “Rewind!” with Soundmurder & SK-1”: https://www.detroittechnohouse.com/2014/04/16/konkrete-jungle-detroits-rewind-with-soundmurderer-sk-1/

Photo taken of Steve Drones spinnin’ at Trixie’s courtesy of Chelsi “Sonic Femme”.

Kyle Hall Movement 2016

Kyle Hall

Memorial Weekend…the Techno Christmas we look forward to all year long. A time of great music and even greater after-parties; a time when friends from near and far flock to Detroit for 3 days of dancing bliss; a time to forget about the stress of life and come together for one giant party. This year didn’t disappoint, with lots of great music, agreeable weather, and a countless number of good times.

 

Maceo Plex Movement 2016

Maceo Plex

Saturday started off with the annual amble around Hart Plaza to see the layout of the festival this year. I didn’t have to wander long before I got stopped by Israel Vines live set at the Opportunity Detroit stage. Banging techno to get my day started. The Opportunity Detroit stage was a total shining star over the weekend, showcasing some of the amazing local talent that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Next stop was Kyle Hall who threw down a fantastic set that blurred the lines of Detroit techno and house mixed in his flawless manner. I took a few minutes to get out of the sun and was blown away by Kyle Geiger’s live techno set! Pounding, pulsating and undulating hard techno, exactly what I like to hear on the Underground Stage. Caught bits and pieces of Carlos Souffront and Four Tet before settling in to the main stage to watch Maceo Plex and Kraftwerk. Maceo Plex, as always, brought a fire set that had everyone dancing. There’s a reason this dude plays every year. Kraftwerk brought their visually amazing and robot-studded 3D show immediately after, which was a welcome treat for anyone who missed their last go around at the Masonic last autumn. Having the group that founded the sounds of electronic music made a fitting close to the first day.

Loco Dice

Loco Dice

 

Amp Fiddler Movement 2016

Amp Fiddler Feat. Will Sessions Band

 

Black Madonna

Black Madonna

Sunday the first stop was Opportunity Detroit to catch a little bit of the electro fire that is DJ Seoul. As always, banging electro beats and turntablist tricks that make for a great set. Next up was Black Madonna who banged out a hard set on the Redbull stage and had the crowd on its feet the whole time. Black Madonna gets my vote for most under-rated set of the festival. A crowd favorite, she got into every track with passion and charisma. It oozed out the speakers and left everyone drenched by the end of her set. I then tried to catch Ame on the Beatport stage, but the constant rush of bros and fuckboys back and forth constantly made it unbearable. Loco Dice, another Movement mainstay, made it readily apparent that he should indeed be back every year. His take on minimal is significantly more inspired than the name would suggest. He flawlessly pounded the main stage with his signature style, and it was extremely proper. While meeting up with friends and taking a little rest on the grass, we were graced with some funky grooves from Amp Fiddler and Will Sessions. This was a nice break from the usual fare of the festival and also one of the few bands there this year.  Wandering back to Opportunity Detroit we caught Mike Huckaby playing some jumping house and making people bust out their dancing shoes. The rest of the evening for the most part was planted at the Made in Detroit Stage to catch some great techno from Ellen Allien and a smashing closing set from true Detroiter Eddie Fowlkes.

Modeselektor

Modeselektor

 

Modeselektor

Modeselektor

Monday is always the great day of recovery and late arrivals to Hart Plaza. After some necessary lounging and relaxation, I made my first stop to catch Delano Smith at the Made In Detroit Stage who was bringing a great house set that got the evening going. Next stop was J. Phlip who was bringing the “Dirtybird sound” to the crowd at the Redbull stage. Not finding this particularly stimulating, I made my way underground to catch a little bit of Chicago house and acid at the hands of DJ Pierre, which was totally awesome. Next up was some super hype house from MK and some Jungle bidness with Dilemma and MC Bombscare, both of which were fantastic. Watching the last half of Chris Liebing’s live techno set was one of my favorites of the whole weekend. Constantly evolving and swelling techno with amazing visuals that had the crowd wanting more. Modeselektor made a rare North-American festival appearance and it did not disappoint. Hints of IDM, Techno, Electro, and most everything in between overwhelmed the crowd and created an energy unlike any I had experienced the entire weekend. They played up the set with jovial gestures to the packed main-stage, and the crowd gave right back. Being the first time seeing Modeselektor I was quite impressed. The German duo did right by Detroit, and we thank them for that. All in all, the last day of the festival was pretty dope, yet a test of stamina for sure.

Overall it was a great weekend for Techno and Detroit. Tons of people showed up and danced their asses off. Beyond the music, the best part of the festival every year is the friends and people. No matter who is playing or what is going on, the constant love, companionship, and expression is truly what makes Detroit’s Movement festival so special. Thank you to all of our friends that made it out for a joyous celebration of life once again on Memorial Day weekend.

 

 

Tiga

Tiga

 

Festival Love

Festival Love

Matador (live)

Matador (live)

 

Art Department

Art Department

 

Ellen Allien

Ellen Allien

 

Rza Feat. Stone Mecca

Rza Feat. Stone Mecca

 

IMG_9682

Eddie Fowlkes

 

Hooper at Redbull Stage

Hooper at Redbull Stage

 

Underground Stage

Underground Stage

 

Hart Plaza - Dodge Fountain

Hart Plaza – Dodge Fountain

 

 

 

Stargate Movment 2016

 

Now enjoy a side quest from one of our photographers:

Another point to mention was the No Way Back after-party hosted by Interdimensional Transmissions. It was the strangest night that I have ever encountered. I remember walking into the party and then all of a sudden waking up in my bed, frightened and covered in sweat. It was 12:00 PM the next day. I called my friends and they assured me that the party was great but that I wasn’t around that much. Nobody could explain the lost time that I am now burdened with. Every night I now have visions of alien obduction and seeing a room with children that look like me, like the aliens have been cloning my DNA! The weirdest part is that there is also this small asian man that is DJing on the ship. Fucking crazy, I know! I think the stargate at Hart Plaza had something to do with it. I knew it was trying to steal my energy all damn weekend. I guess we’ll never know…..

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It usually takes me a day to process the madness and joy of throwing events. This one was no different. Huge thanks to the great crowd of people who came to support Wednesday at Asher Perkins show. From top to bottom the night was awesome. I got to warm up the rig with some Techno (which is rare) and I really enjoyed it. Lauren Vellucci then brought serious heat, she is really an amazing talent. Ernie Guerra then kept the crowd enthralled and vibrant with a great mixture of House and Techno that really had the dance floor popping. Aside from being a really nice dude, he’s a great artist too. Asher Perkins closed with a straight-up fire set of live Techno (reminiscent of the legendary live sets by another one of his label-mates, if you know what I mean). We even discussed after the show how rare it is to hear Techno at The Grasshopper, and to see people respond so well is truly a testament to Asher’s skill, and to this area’s dedication to real artistry.

Our Wednesday night monthly has been a true labor of love these past few month’s. Detroit Techno House started doing first Wednesday’s with Jared WilsonDustin Alexander and Jerry Downey Jr. …And then last month was the amazing Tadd Mullinix + Todd Osborn and Erika show. Now that the Asher show is in the books I’m reflecting and looking to the future, while still trying to embrace the continually changing present moment, which has been fueling this wonderful fire. What doing these events has taught me is that good music pervades stigma, and that the Detroit community will support something strongly if it is done with genuine passion. Thanks to everyone who does what they love and supports what they believe in. There’s much more to come.