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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Welcome to Detroit: Pre-DEMF Ramblings

posted by on May 24 at 10:09 AM

Spirit of Detroit @ DEMF, 5/27/2007Once again I find myself here in Detroit, completely amped for Movement: Detroit’s Electronic Music Festival (DEMF). I didn’t do much plugging for the event this year, because short of my interest in the festival’s “going green”-maybe this year there will actually be some recycling-there wasn’t much to report other than lineup changes.

Even more than with our own Decibel or Mutek, DEMF has been plagued by cashflow issues, organizational issues, and all kinds of general drama, but in the last few years since Detroit-area powerhouse promoters Paxahau took the reins, things have gotten a lot more quiet and predictable. In early years there was desperation over whether each year would be the festival’s last, but now it’s matured to the point where it seems external factors (will gas prices keep people away?) rather than internal politics that will be the event’s downfall (hopefully years away, if ever).

I got into town yesterday and so far things are off to a slow start. There was a big Godfathers of Techno party that had a similarly slow start, despite Juan Atkins, Eddie Fowlkes and Scan 7 on the bill (but I was there during the first half hour, far too early to make a call on how the night went). The official pre-party was headlined by the creator of one of last year’s finest techno albums, Efdemin, but he stayed a little too dubby for my tastes, when all I really wanted to hear was his Chicago house gem “Just a Track.” Ryan Elliott picked up the tempo, but it still wasn’t enough. Downstairs Detroit’s own Guys on Drugs were playing a great evil basement minimal set, but it was too hot, sweaty, and otherwise miserable to put up with the intermittent sound issues. In all it was a bit underwhelming, but for $5 it’s hardly worth much complaint.

Left around three and went to grab some food. A brawl nearly broke out despite the table full of law enforcement officers as the drunks commingled. I ate my hot dogs in peace, then drove back to my hotel with the sounds of Terrence Parker on the radio. Welcome to Detroit indeed.

And now it’s time for the festival. More later.

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