Movement: Detroit Electronic Music Festival day one | Live review
Attending Movement last year was an eye opener. Detroit's annual outdoor bacchanalia dedicated to machine music and worshippers of 4/4 beats can seem like rave's last stand. Furry boots, animal backpacks and pacifiers accompany an army of candy kids each year. And as someone who never really did the rave thing during its '90s heyday, the scene can seem like some surreal, drug-addled blast from the past. Revisiting the melee this year, I was no less surprised at the color and creativity of the diverse crowd or the number of young faces losing their minds to this music.
If you think this is some niche event where a few hundred kids dance under a tent to a DJ shoved in the corner, you're wrong. According to Paxahau, the event's organizers, yesterday's attendance hit a new record: 34,820 eager dancers flooded Hart Plaza, and they did it despite the rain that steadily soaked us for the last six hours of the event. No matter, the talent on hand did more than enough to take our minds off the weather. A God in these parts, Richie Hawtin took over the Beatport DJ stage with a two-hour set of bouncing, emotive techno. Berlin talent Monolake shattered eardrums in the underground cement bunker that is the Movement Torino stage. And, as always, the Red Bull stage flipped the techno script entirely with sets from drum 'n' bass king pin Goldie and blistering dubstep phenom Skrillex (Chicagoans can look forward to Skrillex at Lollapalooza this summer as well).
But it wasn't all about the headliners. Movement, though sizable, is still a compact festival and surfing from one dance party to the next is a large part of its charm. New York disco revivalists Metro Area were a great way to warm up for the day. Broadcasting from the main stage, it was all uplifting house and the odd mirror-ball classic—sunshine music to its core. After, a slightly too Jamiroquai-esque Tortured Soul sent me wandering and taking in bits from boogie funk ambassador Dam-Funk and brilliantly high impact live PA from Iranian producer Aril Brikha, which was followed up by fast-rising Detroit foursome Visionquest, who are ushering in a new phase of dance music from Detroit.
Today, the mayhem continues with sets from Carl Craig, Ricardo Villalobos and Loco Dice. At Movement, the last thing you should expect to be doing on this Memorial Day weekend is catch up on your beauty sleep.