As we start the “warm up” festivities on Thursday at T.V. Lounge in Detroit, we are happily surprised how everyone is so welcoming and nice.
Motor City, as everyone should know, is the birthplace of techno and even at 9pm, 7pm or whatever time of the night, we get some techno beats in the face and we love it. The venue is nothing fancy, the speakers look like they’re custom made, it looks more like a bar than a club but it has such a real feel to it, we enjoy the place very much. T.V Lounge is the Staple for the Detroit underground scene and after meeting a couple of people, someone comes up to give us a vinyl, which reads “Detroit Electronic Quarterly”, the guy also runs a small magazine which features all the gigs happening in the city around Movement. The next day we start off with a cool gig at Northern Lights, Chris Fortier, Atnarko and a few others are in control of the musical guidance, the turn out is decent and once again it feels like everyone already knows each other we stay there half of the night and decide to attend the Black Flag Vs Vatos Locos showcase at Magic Stick. When we arrive Cocodrills are behind the decks and they are delivering some intense beats, everyone in the room is jumping in the air, grooving and smiling. We try to get back home early -around 3am, it’s Movement Day 1 tomorrow Saturday and we want to save just a little bit of energy.
Saturday we approach the entrance around 1pm, there is no line at all which makes it very easy to get in. We start off on the Pyramid stage, it becomes quickly our favorite stage since we can enjoy a nice vue of the Detroit River. Detroit’s own Golf Clap has started the festivities and Coyu is next. It is Coyu’s first performance at Movement and he doesn’t disappoint, his techno set is on point, we enjoy his set from beginning to finish, we see some of Rodriguez Jr live show and go to somewhere else. Larry Heard is greeting us with his song “Praise”. The man also known as Mr Fingers –that’s his moniker with Robert Owens, is importing his Chicago House to Detroit with style. He’s doing a live session with his partner in crime Mr White. The big moment for everyone is when they close the set with “The Sun Can’t Compare”.
We literally have goose bumps, the fans are singing the song with Mr White, it’s completely surreal. When getting close to him on stage, we try to take some videos but Heard gave some very strict instructions, no photos and no videos allowed. The man has often described “the media” as being negative or deforming so it does make sense in a way, when his set is finished we aim for the main stage where Nicole Moudaber is playing. Her set is precise and solid but we look forward to seeing that trio “The Belleville Three” aka Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins and Derrick May. They are playing on the main stage and the set up they have is no joke. They’re using the new Pioneer DJM Tour 1 coupled with 6 CDJ Tour 1. Kevin in the middle of the action, Derrick throwing some of his legendary cuts on the mixer and Juan sending some fx, lfo, loops and so forth. It is a very emotional closing as Kevin Saunderson means so much to the Detroit crowd. As we walk closer to the exit we see a glimpse of Carl Craig’s set, much more chilled compared to Saunderson and we can’t miss his cowboy hat, quite funny. We hear a version of “Like A Child” that epic remix Carl Craig released in 2009, Craig came prepared too as he’s having someone with him playing the keyboard live.
When coming back on Sunday we get to meet Kevin Saunderson in person, the man just celebrated 30 years with his label KMS Records and he’s actually having his sons The Saunderson brothers playing on the “Origins” stage. We congratulate him on his set from last night, his response: “It was a little messy wasn’t it? But thank you!” It’s heart whelming to see someone so humble. He’s making that effort to be available for the fans and they are lining up to thank him for his contribution to the Detroit Techno scene. The whole Saunderson family is hanging out, his wife and younger daughter is right there dancing, “you got to move your legs to the beats like this” Kevin tells her…Talking about legendary DJs, the next performance comes from Green Velvet. The Chicago native takes on the mike and goes around the decks to show some of his special moves, the crowd loves it! The rain doesn’t stop the fans dancing and there’s a guy named Seth Troxler who’s next. We hear Adam Beyer is about to play on the main stage, Adam Beyer in Detroit, can’t get any better than this? The rain is pouring but the whole stage is completely packed with +8000-devoted fans. His Drumcode set is so effective, the smoke machine is running full blast around him, which gives a mystical vibe to the Swedish DJ.
“Test Pilot” is the moniker for Deadmau5 for his techno project. He’s just about to perform but to everyone’s astonishment the promoter decides to delay his set because of the rain. There is no music at all for close to 25 min. From there comes a whole lot of drama as they get that wonderful idea to give the microphone to Deadmau5 to entertain the crowds. And then Deadmau5 does what he’s usually very good at, talking crap. He complains about the promoter, the weather, asks for more beers and even burps. The least you can say is in terms of spirituality, the guy doesn’t have it and even if he gets the job done with his live act, we just don’t feel the soul in it. Once again while walking towers the exit, we get drawn into the music of Kevin Saunderson as E-Dancer, he’s closing the show and that’s a whole different ball game. He showed up with some fancy make up and we recognize his distinctive sounds right away. Some of his beats seem so close to “Good Life” that anthem he originally released in 1993. Those stabs, it does have soul in it. It’s almost midnight the festival is about to end, we’re looking at him behind the decks, his positive energy is clearly contagious. Kevin will reach 53 years old in September and he’s still sharing his love for music just like the good old days.
Our first time at Movement Detroit was a great experience, we can’t wait for next year! We can’t help making comparisons with the Ultra and clearly…every single stage at Movement had the vibe we love. After this musical journey in Michigan we’re starting to understand the meaning of those two words, Detroit Love…