Archives For Movement Festival 2014

Monday was the perfect cap to Movement 2014. A long, late weekend led to a late start at Hart Plaza. The air was hot, which complemented the hot music perfectly. The crowd was exceptional for the last day of the festival, leading me to believe that the 15 Ways to Survive were followed by many, leaving them to enjoy some amazing sets.

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My first stop was the Made in Detroit stage. DJ Seoul and T. Linder were tag teaming a set of sinister techno and electro in their usually hype manner. It was a great way to bring my energy back, and I was glad I got to hear part of their set. There’s a reason these guys seem to play like 365 gigs a year, they know how to throw down and keep a crowd moving.

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Next up I wanted to be sure to check out Lee Foss. I’ve been a fan of this dude’s DJ sets ever since I watched him destroy it at an after party a few years back. He brought it just as I expected, deep, sexy banging house music; the kind of music that tends to whip a crowd into one giant, pulsating rhythmic body. I was having a hard time trying to focus on taking pictures, because I kept finding myself dancing. This was easily one of the best sets I saw Monday.

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I missed Escort to my disappointment; whom I have heard was amazing, but managed to catch part of Kenny Larkin throwing down that Detroit style fire. I wanted to see Adam X play Underground, but the sound was way off and too bass heavy for driving techno, so I made a quick escape to hear an oddball house-ish set from Bonobo. I then caught the end of Jamie Jones banging out an amazing house set on the Redbull Stage, followed by a transition into some straight techno from Loco Dice. All of this in the matter of an hour and a half or so, but so much good music so fast, totally worth all the running around.

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After a quick pit stop, the rest of my evening was spent at the Made in Detroit stage, and for good reason. Kevin Saunderson back to back with Seth Troxler was a set not to be missed. Undisputed dance music champions of both the new school and the old school tag teaming a Detroit flavored set of house and techno, and had one of the largest crowds I have ever seen at this stage swollen in to catch part of it. The energy didn’t let up and after Saunderson/Troxler closed out their set, Octave One dove right into a hard techno/electro live set to close out the stage. The next hour was a driving, raw, analog soaked journey into what really defines Detroit Techno. Automated, pulsing mechanical drums, and raw analog synths was the best way you could have possibly closed out an electronic music festival in Detroit. Cheers to Octave One.

Movement 2014 Sunday Review

B.Aware —  May 26, 2014 — 1 Comment

I showed up fashionably late for the second day of Movement 2014, obviously not following our advice from the 15 step Movement survival guide. Being a pro at this though, I avoided the long swelling line at the main entrance by slipping in at the Riverfront entrance. No line, no wait, no problem. I was in the festival for day two.

One act I really hoped to see but missed was Detroit’s own Jimmy Edgar who deservedly played the Main Stage this year. Jimmy has been signed to Warp Records since he was a teenager, but after more than a decade, he has really come to find his own sound in just the past year or two. He also started a label, ULTRAMAJIC. I caught him last time he came to Detroit and he threw down a nasty set at The Works. I assume he performed similarly but I’ll admit I’m only speculating.

Malik Alston @ Movement 2014

My first actual stop of the day was to go see uber-talented Malik Alston and his live band rock out some sweet soulful D-town house music. The band was hot, complete with drums, bass, guitar, congas, two sets of keyboards, and three vocalists. They sounded like a cross between a funky R&B group, gospel choir, and a late 70s disco band. It was great energy and refreshing to hear music with such dynamic range played by human beings; no pre-programmed beats here. It had soul and spirit and set the vibe for the rest of the day for me.

Martinez Brothers @ Movement 2014

As I walked to meet some friends at the Beatport stage to see the Martinez Brothers, I passed by the Moog stage and heard the unfamiliar and exciting sounds of Bicep. I really wish I had strayed over there. The music was unique and had a definite style unto itself. The Martinez Brothers were good, don’t get me wrong; they never disappoint, but I’ve seen them before and got exactly what I expected: thumping house music that’s easy to dance to. But I was thirsty for something new after that sweet little taste Bicep left lingering in my ear. And so I wandered to the deep dark depths of the underground stage to see Zeitgeber, a collaboration between Speedy J and an artist named Lucy, who is admittedly new to me.

The earth beneath Heart Plaza started to shift. These were the familiar intense rolling rhythms of Speedy J that I have come to love, but with an added layer of atmospheric drama. The crowd sucked it up and the scene down there was charged with great energy. I stayed quite a while but tore myself away to finally head to the Moog stage; the stage where I’d been sonically teased by Bicep.

Julio Bashmore Movement 2014

And then it happened. It always happens; the first act you see all festival long that really brings down the house. Julio Bashmore stood there barely moving; this low-key, unassuming producer and dj from the UK rocking a Detroit Tigers jersey, a bucket cap, and dark shades. His music simultaneously banged and swung with elements of disco, UK step, and 90 house music sensibilities, all with the most luxuriously dirty bass lines pulsating and carrying the whole thing. This guy was born to perform in this city. When they finally made him stop playing, a palpable sense of loss washed over the crowd, but the appreciation was equally strong. Whether it’s loving or loathing, Detroiters always let artists who visit us know just how we feel. He must have gotten the message that he just threw down a damn fine set.

Bashmore’s afterglow was enjoyed by the act that followed him, Kode9, who had a bit of a slow start following Bashmore but then found his own groove. This was newschool electronic music. Heavily compressed bass music with dubstep and trap elements. It was so loud (compressed) it overtook other stages including Maceo Plex at the Beatport stage. In any case I hung around with my earplugs in tight and my reward was that I now ‘get’ trap and bass music. It’s like hardcore rap meets punk. It was fun for a bit but I had to move on. Had to take a much needed break.

Now a photo press pass gets you just about anywhere in the festival and a friend guided me to the VIP area behind the main stage to rest and refresh. It was another world within the festival. An odd bubble, not as diverse, obviously populated by higher-income patrons. It seemed from this vantage-point that we were watching an intense spectacle from what would otherwise be a very quiet park where you might take your kids. I saw pretty faces but felt less beauty around me. After making a 360 degree observation I counted just one person within view dancing in the VIP. I felt like I belonged here, but I wasn’t so sure about 90% of the people around me. Maybe this is a microcosm of the creeping gentrification that Detroit is currently coming to terms with. And no doubt, when I looked up at the buildings around me, the city had it’s big arms wrapped around the entire festival including the VIP, like a mother lovingly holding all her troubled children close to her heart.

Delano Smith @ Movement 2014

But there are always gems around you. You just have to look. I met a young man named R in the VIP area who flew all the way from Vancouver, a six hour flight, all by himself and it was his first festival. He was there alone with his camera and knew next to nothing about electronic music. It was a beautiful site to see. I took him to see a hometown hero, Delano Smith at the Made in Detroit stage around the corner. Delano killed it. He played harder house and techno than I’m used to hearing from this oldschool Detroit master. He clearly was riding the edgy electricity that filled night air as the end of the second day approached, and the long afterparties would begin.

I unfortunately had to leave at this point to meet up with friends but I’m going to mention one more name: Robert Hood. This guy is a legend and last time I saw him years ago at Movement, he was the artist who really blew my mind. This year I missed a rare live set by him and I hear it was incredible. Later when I asked several people, including Malik Alston, who on the Sunday lineup rocked their world, it was unanimous; Robert Hood destroyed it.

On Sunday the artists brought their A-game to Detroit, the after-parties didn’t stop until the sun came up, and the weather was easily the best we’ve had in years for this festival. This year is one to remember. All love.


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Nothing beats a nice day in the beautiful city of Detroit, and you definitely can’t go wrong with a good Techno festival. Put the two together and you have yourself a mad fresh combination of chaos. The first day of Movement 2014 has already passed and as I contemplate the day, I’m left feeling pretty satisfied. Not overly satisfied in a ‘that was the tightest shit ever’ kind of way, but in a ‘comfortable zen, okay how things are’ kind of way. There were some good points to the day as well as one very bad one that I will get into a lil later. To me though, I have to say there really wasn’t anything that blew me away or was groundbreaking. Not that it has to be like that, but I wouldn’t mind having my brain explode from some next level shit. Is that too much to ask?

I mean I guess it is the first day. I’ve seen better starts to the festival, and also have seen much worse. The best word to describe this year’s start would have to be “safe”. Except for the girl I saw taken out on a stretcher, she wasn’t playing it safe and obviously did not read our article on 15 ways to survive Movement.

Los Hermanos kicked off the day for me and I am always down with any variation of the Underground Resistance crew. A live techno band. Get outta here! It’s not something you see all the time, unless you’re from Detroit, and in the days of using minimal amounts of gear, it is good to see instruments played by live musicians. These guys represent classic Detroit to me and you can just feel the energy of the city radiating from their sounds and stage presence. Another well done set by The Brothers.

Justin Martin Movement 2014

Next I headed over to the Beatport stage to check out Justin Martin who always tears it up. He’s not everyone’s cup of tea and Detroiters can be a little jaded about things not being underground enough or just mad that people who like Rihanna also are into Justin Martin. No denying this guys talent though. He mixes well and his production is original while still staying true to House music roots at the same time. He played most of his classics and had the crowd happy and bouncing the whole time. Don’t go!

After Justin I was wandering around, meeting up with friends, shooting the hooblah and fidgeting with the whatsawhat while trying to stay awake during Metro Area’s set. They weren’t bad, just a lil slow. I had the fire in me to see something crazy so I then made the unfortunately horrible decision to go see what Riff Raff is all about. I heard his songs and had seen his videos and knew he was completely ridiculous but still gave him a little bit of credit. He’s kinda original and has his own “flow” if you wanna call it that. When I saw him live though on this day, I can now say that this dude is fucking horrible. Really really horrible. He was just playing his tracks with vocals and all while lip-syncing the whole time. Every once in a while he would back up his own pre-recorded vocals and Lil Slutty just stood there looking dumb as hell. I’m really not trying to be a dick here, but I love me some Hip-Hop equally as much as my love for Techno. In Detroit we have some badass fucking Hip-Hop. From Dilla, to Black Milk, to Royce 5’9″, Danny Brown, Guilty Simpson, Elzhi, OneBeLo, and Audiological. Detroit holds it down on some Hip-Hop. It seems like everyone raps in Detroit. I fucking rap myself (Macom on Swoll). This dude Riff Raff and Lil Slutty could be destroyed lyrically by 13 year old kids that live down the street from me. Do they think this is a fucking game? They think they can dress up like assholes and treat Hip-Hop like it’s a parody. Fuck them!

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Good thing Action Bronson came on after and at least actually rapped. I really like this guy. It wasn’t a flawless set by any means but it was cool. He has a great attitude and is very photogenic. I could take pictures of this dude all day. I could have done without the Ghostface Killah singing badly over R&B songs thing though. But he is fun, and I’m not sure but it appears that he spilled a little bit of sauce from Slows on his shirt.

I didn’t spend enough time as I would have liked at the Underground Stage, but I was down there to check a little of Black Asteroid’s set and it was pretty damn killer. I heard from some friends that the Techno on this stage was seriously on point. From Alstadt Echo to Brian Sanhaji, Techno fans were treated right in the underground. I will be spending more time there over the weekend for sure.

The last thing I saw before snaggin some Slow’s mac and cheese and bouncin to an after-party was DJ Marky. He was killing it. Drum and bass done proper with turntablist tricks to go with it. At one point he was holding a turntable upside down and scratching. This was seriously the best thing all day and the closest thing to amazing I saw. I didn’t even remember to take pictures of him because I was too concerned with getting the fuck down, and got down I did.

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Despite some small issues, overall it was good start to the festival weekend. Even if all the music sucked, which it didn’t, just seeing all the people you don’t see regularly and hanging out in the city during a beautiful day is plenty for me. I love my Detroit people, and for me that is what this festival is really about.