Concert Review: Movement 08- Detroit’s Electronic Music Festival

June 6, 2008 at 8:49 pm 1 comment

Detroit started the summer of 2008 off with a synthesized bang last month, with the annual Detroit Electronic Music Festival. The lineup this year was pretty eclectic, ranging from laptop superstar Moby to the smooth grooves of Carl Craig. The former capped off the evening I attended, encapsulating the sense of freedom and community that was accrued throughout the sweaty, flashing funk fest.

Approaching Detroit’s Hart Plaza, there can be no mistaking what is happening. A line of colorfully dressed characters stretches all the way down to Cobo Hall. They are grooving to the overflow of beats emanating from the wide range of stages within the plaza. The sun is heavy overhead, but contributes to the sleepy throbbing ambiance of the midday sets, prepping the crowd for the madness that nightfall will bring.

With each different stage, there is a completely different environment. The open air pit is a zone for congregation and light free flow dancing. The underground realm is a breeding ground for the intense folks, who don’t feel like messing around with the pesky sun. Armed with gas masks, glow sticks pacifiers, and a will to get down, these creatures of the night dazzle the senses with their swirling, grooving moves. Elsewhere break dance battles are rampant, as well as every other kind of interpretational dance imaginable. As the afternoon wanes, the crowd starts to swell and the evening begins with a rousing set by euro favorite Benny Benassi. Soon however, the attention begins to shift over to the stage overlooking the Detroit river with a fantastic view of Windsor, Canada, as the Cool Kids take the stage.

One member a Chicago native, the other hailing from Detroit, The Cool Kids definitely have a handle on the aesthetic of the Midwest, making them a particularly good fit for DEMF. In fact, their whole set seemed to be steeped in nostalgia, creating a wholly satisfying homage to the MCs that paved the way for them throughout the years. They hit tracks from their new release Fish Riding Bicycles as well as their two EP’s, Totally Flossed out and The Bake Sale. The centerpiece of the set was a montage of old school jams which they invited everyone to sing along with, including cuts from The Notorious B.I.G. and Skeelo. Full of energy and charisma, the Cool Kids appreciation of the fruits of Pop’s past was a perfect segue way into the set by Girl Talk.

I have always enjoyed the DJ stylings of Girl Talk, but was converted by his transformative live performance. Things really got rolling before the show even started when he took the mic and invited the crowd to join him on stage. This resulted in near pandemonium as legions of frenzied techno freaks leapt over security and started the party. The set started shortly thereafter with an announcement from the performer informing the audience that he was Girl Talk and that there were to be no rules at this show. This announcement was followed by an explosion of beats and a roar from the crowd. Girl Talk himself proceeded to run frantically around the stage betwixt writhing crowd dancers, jumping and diving, and eventually ripping off his clothes down to his boxer shorts.

The set was basically an orgy of classic pop hits fused together almost beyond recognition, including jams from The Notorious B.I.G., Abba,Elton John, Bruce Springsteen,Wu tang Clan, and Ace of Bass, among many many others. With the culmination of this set, the crowd migrated to the only remaining stage, where the smooth jazz stylings of the legendary Carl Craig were fused with beats and live session musicians. A cathartic, suiting climax to a long day of digital debauchery.

Entry filed under: Archive, Concert Reviews, News. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Mort Neff  |  June 6, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    I was gonna cut the grass today too.


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