Archives For Movement Festival 2015

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So you have gotten this far into the weekend; you’ve kept a good party balance and you’ve made it to Monday at Movement. Luckily, the last day of the festival is often packed with some of the best music. The schedule had a lot I personally wanted to hear, so I made sure to make it down to Hart Plaza kind of early so I could squeeze the maximum amount of music into my last day of Movement.

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Audiofly was the first thing that really grabbed my ear and led me in after arriving at the festival, pulling me toward the Beatport stage to get my day started with some banging techno that was getting the early day crowd warmed up.  Awesome beats, a cool breeze and the excellent view that this stage always offers made this the perfect start to my day.

Next up, I made sure to get to catch a little bit of D Wynn, one of my favorite locals. He didn’t disappoint, playing sweet, soulful house tracks that you can’t help but to dance to. I wanted to sample as much from every stage as I could, so I wandered a bit more, saw Clark drop some live, slow techno beats at the Underground stage while rocking thick basslines on a Moog, heard Ben UFO drop some signature acid tinged techno for an eager crowd, and was pleasantly surprised by the house music being spun by Patrick Topping, whom I had never heard of prior.

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While meeting up with a friend I had the pleasure of hearing Detroit homeboy Marshall Applewhite tearing up a set of his signature “sludge” sound of dirty slowed down beats, and also had the pleasure of catching a live set by the legendary Phuture. Heavy acid and remixes of classic tracks were the flavor of the day, and they absolutely killed it. This was possibly one of the greatest sets I saw all weekend.

Meandering over to the Beatport stage, I got to catch Paco Osuna just as he was going on, and knocking the crowd down with heavy, deep techno. Before a mission back to the car to recharge for a few, I had the pleasure of listening Joy Orbison rocking a crowd with a sick house and breakbeat set, and caught a little bit of Lee Foss warming up with his unique house flavor.

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On the way back in, I was drawn to the Main Stage by Maceo Plex banging out hype techno beats to an eager crowd. As a Movement staple, I have seen Maceo Plex many times, and I have to say this was by far one of his best sets. The pulsating, driving music had the entire Main Stage bowl dancing in unison.

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What happened next was awesome. It had been recommended by several friends that I not miss !!! (pronounced chk chk chk). I was totally unfamiliar with the group, and was fascinated when I walked over the stage and saw a band set up. They quickly began, and I was gifted to see one of my other top contenders for best set of the weekend. !!! brought an electro-indie rock sound that reminded me in parts of LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip. The lead singer brought an energy that spread to the crowd, and their keyboard/drum machine/synth/hand percussion dude was amazing!

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My day was capped out beautifully by one of my favorite musicians, Squarepusher. This was his second go around at Movement, and his set was everything I hoped it would be; glitched out, breakbeat IDM with bizarre visuals that only Squarepusher could bring.

The last day was a great one. It was a little mellower, but the music was on point, and the crowds that showed made the vibe amazing. A fantastic close to Movement and beginning of Summer in Detroit.

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Detroit was the star again for day 2 of Movement Electronic Music Festival, presented by Paxahau. The long lines of day 1 had died down quite a bit, and other than a little wait for general admission at the main gate, the day went off proper.  The weather was beautiful, 75 degree and partly sunny, Techno christmas was in full swing. A record number of people showed out for all the amazing talent to be seen across 6 stages. The crowds made me think of a few things… 1 : Techno is alive and well, and so are festivals. The familiarity of festivals with this generation of music lovers has created a loyal and fervent stock of people who use vacation time, and every penny they could save to party and dance with thousands of others for 3 days straight. 2: It is quite remarkable how well organized a group of 50,000 neo-hippies can be when faced with the challenge. I surmise that only the technocrat could weave the delicate and tumultuous terrain of Hart plaza whilst managing a beer in one hand, and a friend on the other. It certainly isn’t without chaos, but that’s kind-of part of the ambience, and for so much chaos, I have to say we do it pretty well.

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My day started off with Todd Osborn (live) at the Made in Detroit stage.  It was a sight to behold with Todd bringing out the gear for this one.  A unique blend,  as expected with Mr Osborn, laden with pounding kicks, snappy snares,  and 303 lines galore.  He pleased the crowd as Detroit’s iconic building, the Renaissance Center, played a perfect background.  The stages seem very well set up this year, with the next artist already hooked up and ready to go, on a separate table, with connectors to patch power and audio. When Osborn was done, they simply unhooked his rig and rolled the entire thing away as JTC took over to continue the Ghostly showcase on the Made in Detroit stage on Sunday.

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Next I caught a bit of JTC, who did not disappoint. Playing a mix of vinyl and digital,  he kept driving rhythms and plush bass the whole way through. There’s something extra classy about a JTC set that is hard to describe, but palpable in person. James T Cotton is the man. His track selection is a treasure trove of classics and new heat, all of which incinerate the dance floor.

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I saw people under the stairs next, and I was blown away by the true hip hop showmanship I experienced. These guys tore the place down. Real lyrics, dope beats, and style for days. These guys had timing, they had charisma, and they had content. It was a performance that reminded me of what hip hop was, and what it can be. It doesn’t have to be a boring braggadocios pile of drivel, it can be a real show, and it can rock the party right. Bravo, People Under the Stairs, Bravo.

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I caught Art Department for a short while on the Main Stage, and it was rumbling for sure. What was billed as their “last set ever”, seemed to have a very jovial feel. Traditional Art Department style with deep tracks, and bass for days, the duo seemed to be really enjoying the moment. I often caught them smiling to one and other, and that attitude really poured over into the crowd. These guys command respect with their production, and their DJ sets, and whatever they move on to next, I’m sure will be a plus for us music fans.

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Danny Brown would be my next attraction, and his persona cannot be mistaken. Bold, and outspoken, Detroit’s alt rapper had the crowd buzzing and bouncing with skywlkr providing his unique blend of hip hop and electronic beats. Danny’s high pitched barks were a bit muffled, but the crowd sang along to most of his tracks, and the energy was incredible. He was wearing some kind of Kool-aid man shirt with an American flag on the front and a British flag on the back, perhaps a nod to his recent UK tour. I caught some great shots of Danny and his crew.

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I Managed to sneak away to the underground stage for Rodhad, and it was an amazing scene. So much dancing, mesmerizing lights, and aggressive Techno pounding. I will say that the sound was far better than in years past underground, and that’s probably due to the significant amount of deadening they did to dampen the extremely echo-ey space. They had it dialed in proper, and that made for great sets all around.

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I need to make a separate ode to Mike Servito here… His set at Movement was as expected, a great time. He pleased the locals with his signature style of House and Techno, but the after party was where I really saw him shine last night. He played at the Interdimensional Transmissions show at Tangent Gallery for an annual party entitled “No Way Back”, and that was indeed a statement to heed. His 3am set right after Mark Verbos – live (also amazing), was nothing short of an ass-beating. He came like a bull dog to those turntables and relentlessly dropped fire for an hour and a half. I don’t know that I’ve seen kids dance that hard outside of a Canadian Gabber Core party in 1993. Ha. Really though, he played slamming Techno with Jim Gibbons AVS Sound rig hitting on all cylinders. It felt as underground and old school as you could get in 2015. The energy from that set is still with me now, and I can’t even explain it properly. It was one of those times when all the colors of the night fade into one blur of beautiful madness, a watercolor canvas of art and culture high-fiving in a worm-hole. Yeah, that’s what it was.

Matthew Dear was my surprise of the night, he did an exquisite job. Weaving techno rhythms and House basslines with his signature brooding style, and the occasional abstract vocal to jar your consciousness a bit.  He kept the crowd moving the entire time, and he was really playing to the Detroit community with his track selection.  I found my crew of people specifically got down to his set.  It seemed everyone busted out the techno they had in their bags today, but Matthew Dear did so with a grace that was subtle and organic.  It didn’t feel like he was trying to do anything he wasn’t completely comfortable with, he was in the moment.  Grooving.

Ben Klock would be my final experience of day 2, and my goodness what a treat. A saturated underground stage stood witness to hard Techno, in epic proportion.  Ben did what he does, destroy the fucking room, and he did it with reckless abandon. Every track seemed harder than the last, even though that didn’t seem possible.  He used acid-like break downs to mark the valleys of his set, and would just as quickly bring it back up to an even higher peak than the last time. A true professional with patience and a vision for his sets. This was a journey, and the time was just right for Ben Klock. Props to Blank Code for programming an amazing Underground stage all weekend.

Detroit was captured beautifully in between a crazy scene at Hart plaza. The crowds were overwhelming,  for everyone involved,  but that didn’t stop amazing music from beaming out of the speakers nonstop.  The crowd seemed decidedly underground in their tastes, and the attitude of respect and moderation seemed consistent.  This I enjoyed. The EDM scene seemed heavily deterred by the lack of mainstream names, and it was a welcome sight for a festival such as Detroit’s. It was it’s largest crowds I’ve seen since going to a pay format, and the music was top notch. The crowds were hindered by long lines, but once inside were sufficiently rewarded.  The lesson we learned this year. Have your bracelet mailed to you, no matter what.  Detroiters cannot wait with the common folk. JK JK  😉

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May in Detroit is a special time. The weather finally breaks, we emerge from our cold weather slumber and gear up for summer, and most importantly, the Movement Festival invades heart plaza and helps us to appreciate Detroit for one of its greatest gifts to the world besides Motown and the automobile: techno. Last year, we at Detroit Techno House assembled an all-in-one survival guide to ensure that you got the maximum enjoyment out of your Memorial Day Weekend. This year, we keep the momentum going, and add to the original survival guide with some additional pointer and tips to ensure techno bliss, along with a few reminders from last year to keep you primed up for the weekend.

1.  Prepare for the Worst: Michigan weather tends to be fucked to put it bluntly. Wild temperature swings and unexpected precipitation are the norm. Be prepared with appropriate footwear, rain gear, a hoodie/jacket, and maybe a change of clothes. You never know, you might get rained on or “raver slimed” by a sweaty dude who’s been marinating in his own filthy juices all day in the sun.

2. Study Your Schedule Carefully and Plan: This years schedule is phenomenal, and tends to lean heavily on some amazing Detroit based artists of both past and present. Give yourself a chance to catch some of the artists that make this city such an amazing Techno destination.

3. Don’t Believe the After Party Hype: Every year, we see more and more after parties pop up, with amazing global talent that often even eclipse that of the festival itself. Heck, I know some people that just make the after party loop every year and skip the festival altogether. That being said, don’t get caught up in the hype of who can throw the biggest most packed out headline of an after party. You may end up paying $50-100 bucks just to end up at an overcrowded venue with no room to dance and it takes an hour to get a drink. Some amazing nights were had in past years just hitting several smaller, low key events where the vibe made up for the hype and headliners.

4. Work Out Your Late Night/Early Morning with Detroit Local Delicacy: After a day and night of hard partying, nothing redeems the soul like a Detroit-style coney dog. Locals, you know what I’m talking about. Out-of-towners, get your ass to Lafayette or America Coney Island, clog your arteries and revive your spirits with this Detroit specialty.

5. Wander Detroit, Even for a Short Time: Obviously, use common sense with this one. Everyone wants to explore the ruins, but street smarts go a long way if you want to attempt that endeavor. Detroit is a city that is rebounding fast. Despite the negative aspects that a majority of media would like to focus on, there are tons of cool things to see here. Just a few miles from the festival, Detroit boasts Belle Isle, an island park that straddles the US and Canadian border that can be an amazing relaxing escape from the fervor of the weekend. See the outsider art of the Heidelberg Project. Or grab some authentic Polish food in Hamtramck. Detroit has many wonderful secret places; take a moment to check them out.

6. Get Lost: Even if its only for 15 minutes, lose your friends and wander by yourself for a bit. It always makes for an interesting festival experience.

7. Keep It Clean: You’re about to spend potentially 12+ hours dancing to great music with a large crowd of people. Not heeding the at-least-once-a-day shower rule is NOT an option. Ain’t no one want to smell that rave funk on you.

8. Check Out a New Artist: Taking some time to listen to an artist you’ve never heard of before can be magical. Every year I make it a point to spend some time digging some new talent I’m not familiar with. I have yet to be disappointed.

9. Pace Thyself: It’s not a race. More of an endurance contest. Don’t lose your mind so badly Saturday night after-partying that you’re down for the count Sunday into Monday. Drink some water, have some chill sessions, and don’t blow your load too early. Monday is oft overlooked by many a Movement attendee, and it tends to have some of the weekend’s best talent.

10. Let Go: It’s a music festival with an amazing vibe. Leave your life drama at the door and enjoy yourself all 3 days. It’s hard not too.