Monday, June 4, 2012

Movement Electronic Music Festival- Day 1 Recap

We stepped off of the plane into Detroit Metro Airport just before noon on Saturday and were set to embark upon a legendary weekend that we will not soon forget.  After a half hour drive, during which our shuttle driver schooled us on a bit of Detroit history, we arrived at our abode for the weekend, the Doubletree Downtown.  On a day that was supposed to be sunny and in the 80s, it began to rain.  Not just a light drizzle either, but what could be considered a torrential downpour. The weather at this point couldn’t even come close to hampering the excitement we were feeling.  We met up with the friends we were staying with and began to make preparations for our weekend as well as a few whiskey drinks.

As we prepared to make the relatively short walk over to the festival site at Hart Plaza, the weather began to clear.  The sun came out and subtly reassured us that we were in for not only a gorgeous day, but a beautiful weekend.  As a quick aside, despite what you’ve heard about Detroit, we found that the downtown area of the city is actually a really nice area filled with really friendly people.  We arrived at Hart Plaza, which sits on the waterfront of the Detroit River across from Windsor, Ontario. around 2 o’clock.  The first thing we noticed as we approached the gate,s was Detroit's monument to Joe Louis "Fist of A Champion" punching the air in the direction of Hart Plaza.  We got our bracelets and passed through the gates to find a giant fountain sitting in the heart of Hart.  After looking like overwhelmed, lost, first time DEMFers for a couple of minutes, we located the main stage just as Mark Farina hit the decks. To give you a little idea of the festival grounds, there were five stages total;  The bowl shaped amphitheater that was the Main Stage, the Underground Stage, the Redbull Music Academy Stage by the water, the Made in Detroit stage by the entrance, and the Beatport stage towards the rear of Hart Plaza.  The GM Renaissance Center, a group of seven interconnected skyscrapers overlooked the festival grounds.

After The Jump

Photo courtesy of Lodovico Oldani
We made our way to the front of the stage to find a nice large puddle from the earlier rain storm but were not deterred.  The main stage was equipped with a large light rig, a 4 paneled visualizer screen at the back, and vertical LED lights that also ran along the stage’s ceiling.  Mark Farina began his “Mushroom Jazz” set off with the type of mellow grooves that characterize this sub-genre he created.  As he moved into more hip-hop type beats, I was approached by a guy who wanted to take a picture of my brand-new, orange Dance Party Chronicles shirt.  I happily obliged.  I ended up becoming pretty good friends with this dancing-party loving dude, and kept running into him on the rail of some of my favorite sets.  A fun fact about Farina for all of you DJs out there, like a lot of other artists this weekend, he uses CDJ’s to perform his sets.  As I was noticing this, he dropped into David Bowie’s “Fame.”  The main stage area was not very crowded at this point, but everyone there went nuts.  This launched us into a disco-funk oriented dance party.

Greg Wilson (left) and Mark Farina (right)
Towards the end of Farina, Greg Wilson began preparing his trademark reel to reel turntable and equipment.  Wilson started with a couple of great tracks that provided a smooth transition into his set.  As the guitar riff from Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” faded in we knew we were in for an incredible, unique set.  After the rock riffs of Jimmy Page and the screaming voice of Robert Plant were sent echoing through the bowl shaped main stage area, the sweet vocals of Sister Sledge led us into a remix of “Thinking of You.” This track gave us a taste of some sexy, dancey disco.  It was followed by a Dream Time/DJ Agent 86 Edit of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.”  Greg then hit us with another Sister Sledge remix before launching into Tiger and Woods’ remix of Tensnake’s “Need your Lovin’.”  After such an eclectic first half to the set, I had no idea what to expect next.  How about Michael Jackson>Garbage>Talking Heads>Prince>The Clash.  Yea, it was like that.  Greg Wilson wrapped it up with Motown classic, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”  This set was an adventure through different genres and decades and completely blew us away.  Luckily for everyone, it was released late last week on soundcloud for your listening pleasure.  I’ve listened to it at least 4 times already and it is just as good as I remember.

Up next on the main stage was a DPC favorite, Todd Terje.  This was definitely one of the sets I was looking forward to all weekend.  He certainly didn’t disappoint.  He played a set full of Balearic beats, Caribbean disco, and some cosmic spacey house, all in his socks no less.   We even got Norse-bombed by the Inspector himself. After catching a bit of Derrick Carter, I wandered over to the Made in Detroit stage to meet some friends.  I was about to experience the first of several points of the weekend when I was absolutely floored by music that I was not very familiar with.  This flooring was delivered by a b2b set from Kyle Hall and Jay Daniel. These two young DJs delivered an energy filled set full of Detroit techno.  After catching some of Seth Troxler and Guy Gerber’s b2b set, we headed back to our room to prep for DEMF phase 2: the after parties.

Derrick Carter at Movement 2012 (Photo courtesy of Lodovico Oldani)
During Greg Wilson’s festival set, I met a mate of his from outside Manchester, England named Sparky. He convinced me to head over to St. Andrews for an after party featuring Greg.  Although details of this performance were slightly less easy to recall then his set during the day, it was really special to see such a legend of dance music in such an intimate environment (see below).  Our first day at DEMF was a huge success and we even managed to sneak in some sleep before the dance parties to come Sunday.  The final attendance number for Day 1 of Movement 2012 was 30,703.  Expect to see a Movement Day 2 and 3 Recap coming later in the week.

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