Ah, the first day of the festival. The hype builds up all year for Detroit’s Techno Christmas, as one of our crew members likes to call it. We’ve been waiting all year to kick things off but sadly, the first day did not leave a very good impression for many.
Most of the anger stemming from an absolutely ridiculous will call line. You thought the line to Magic Mountain was bad? Not as bad as this was. Personally, I didn’t have to wait at all to get a media pass. There was one person in front of me and I waited maybe 3 minutes or so. I was in the festival for hours and started to wonder where the hell my friends were. Turns out they were all waiting for hours in line. By the time I saw them, they were pretty sour about the whole thing. People took to Movement’s Facebook page with tons of hateful comments. Someone even created and is now selling a t-shirt with, “Fuck Yo Will Call Line” printed on it. Paxahau returned with a heartfelt, “We’re sorry!” and pretty much blamed it on new “wristband technology.” Not many people really accepted that though and are demanding refunds. I agree that something should be done, but at the same time, understand that there was a record number of attendees for the first day.
Even though there were massive amounts of people, the overall sourness coming from the long wait carried over to the atmosphere of the event. It took me a while to put my finger on it, but something just seemed a little off. After a while of chatting with others, I came to the conclusion that there was just a serious lack of a good vibe going on. It wasn’t a bad vide, just an overall sense of blah. There seemed to be a lot of chaos going on everywhere and no cohesiveness to the whole event. Good thing that the artists playing still held it down though.
I heard some Todd Terje coming from the speakers of the Red Bull stage and made it over to discover Rick Wilhite mixing superbly. He was the first thing that I saw that was really enjoyable. It was getting hot out and I found a nice tree to chill under while listening to Rick play a ton of classics.
After him, I wandered around but eventually came back to the Red Bull stage and saw Kerri Chandler. Being an originator of the deep house sound, Kerri led us through deep, jazzy, and soulful tracks signature to his style. Flawless mixing and great selection was expected and he definitely delivered on all fronts.
During Kerri’s set, I started to hear a bunch of hollering at the back of the crowd. I headed over to discover some damn good dancers in a cypher. They were really working the crowd and everyone was trying to get some pictures. At one moment, to everyone’s surprise, a Detroit police officer steps in and starts busting a move as well. He was damn good too. Only in Detroit, would you see something like this. Good thing his gun didn’t fall out of the holster and shoot a raver. I was glad to see some people trying to bring some vibe into this event. This was easily the most entertaining part of the day for me.
After that I headed over to the Made In Detroit stage and hung out there for a while and saw Gaiser, Recloose, and Stacey Pullen. Gaiser was ripping it up when I got there with some trippy Techno. Lots of bleep and bloops but still banging. He has a real fun sound to dance to and people seemed to be really digging it. Recloose was playing his own mix of Techno and House and was nice, although there seemed to be some problems with the sound at that time that led into the first few minutes of Stacey Pullen’s set as well They must have worked it out, because the sound got better and Stacey was able to properly display his skill on the decks. This dude always delivers. He is classic Detroit from my perspective. The perfect blend of Techno and House that people come to expect. He is truly an amazing talent.
While wondering around, I briefly saw a bunch of other DJs throwing it down. I never say anything bad but also never saw anything to write home to momma about. The first day is usually played safe, and I guess you could say that was going on this year as well. House and Techno everywhere but nothing unique or special. Seth Troxler, Henrik Schwarz, and Richie Hawtin all played very well, but lacked anything that I would call amazing or next level. So, at the end of the day, the first day of Movement was just okay. Not bad, just a little meh.