As festival season powers through the summer, many are still riding the excitement of one of the most impactful music events on the scene — Movement in Detroit!
I’m one of those people.
The feeling you get walking through a lively Hart Plaza, techno pumping from each stage in the city that made it, is truly unmatchable. Combine three days worth, with some of the best tech and house DJ/producers in the industry, and people from literally all over the planet, and you’re in for an unforgettable experience full of fun and music discovery.
Something I’ve noticed right off, from my first year at Movement in 2015 to 2017 — the growth, not in mass but in dynamic. I heard more stories of people traveling great lengths to get to the concrete ravers paradise (I’m thankful the D is within driving distance for me). One instance in particular sticks out to me, as a couple from Australia heard about, then researched Movement, fell in love with the music, and decided to make it the destination for their first music festival, ever. They said it was the best weekend of their entire lives, and they weren’t the only ones.
Saturday night was all about getting your feet wet when it came to the music. Jumping around stage to stage, I felt naive thinking in my head, “It all sounds the same.” But, I knew better. The heartbeat of each song might pump the same, but each artist equips the tracks differently through unique style and sound. For the only time in recent memory, I let go and went where the music took me. Finally, I forced myself to stay put for an entire set, which happened to be Richie Hawtin closing out the Main Stage on day 1. He went for a slow opening, with an eerie build that bloomed into a theatrical, adrenaline infused performance — with every moment as intentional and intricate as the next. He completely captured my attention, and that of the packed in audience with his carefully crafted set and visually stimulating CLOSE production until the bitter end.
Sunday was another blur in terms of who and what I watched, but it was a consistent flow of amazing music, great conversation, and afterparty talk — “Where’d you go last night?” “Where are you going tonight?” “Oh, well, _______ is the best afterparty all weekend!” Soon, it was time to lock down a plan. Being a huge Deadmau5 fan, I decided to camp out for Testpilot at the Main Stage and that’s when Adam Beyer unexpectedly served up one of my favorite techno delicacies of the weekend! The uncontrollable dancing was soon shut down by rain, then lightning, and delay on delay on delay. Few artists can deal with a situation like that, keep their cool, power through it, and still come out on top with one of the best sets of the entire weekend — and Joel Zimmerman aka Deadmau5 aka Testpilot is one of them. More on his epic set here!
At Movement 2017, it seemed each day was better than the last, and Monday topped off the incredible music festival with the most variety offered all weekend. I started off my day by dying and going to heaven with a surprise Mija set in the VIP section to celebrate her birthday, complete with sunshine, cocktails, and treats… Then made my way to Main Stage for Soul Clap live, into Claude VonStroke‘s debut of Barclay Crenshaw, by far the craziest set I witnessed all weekend (watch here)! Survive, Carl Craig, The Gaslamp Killer, and Detroit’s own Danny Brown were all sprinkled in there, finishing off the day with the legendary Carl Cox — who truly gave a grand finale -esque performance laced with the best sounds techno has to offer! By the close of the festival, Main Stage felt like a house party. And, that’s what Movement is all about.
As I frolicked above ground, others found home for the weekend in the underground… Like my colleague, Georgia, that will take it from here…
For many, the Underground Stage is a foreign land nestled just below the rest of Hart Plaza. And while house-y and tech filled grooves blast through the speakers at the stages above, the Underground Stage, hosted by Resident Advisor this year, was thumping away with its hard techno beats, not a sound that many can get used to. But for me, it had been like the promised land, especially after the 2016 lineup had fallen a bit flat when it came to diving into the deeper depths of techno that many fans would have liked to have seen. It’s probably important to note that the techno I refer to here isn’t quite the same as the Detroit techno that still came highly represented.
2017 was most definitely the return of techno to Movement and I mean real, heavy, industrial like techno. This cavern of concrete was home to artists such as Headless Horseman, Rrose, Drumcell, Adam X & Perc, Rebekah, Function, DVS1, and quite a few more.
In years past I had barely spent time down there for a few reasons, but the biggest was most definitely the sound. This year was by far the best that it’s sounded in the four years that I have attended Movement and for that, I tip my hat to the sound engineers that no doubt worked tirelessly to transform a space of stone into something that could work acoustically. It finally felt like I was able to hear the music the way that it was supposed to be heard. And perhaps it was too good because it led me to not leave the stage pretty much all weekend. I tried catching a few other acts that I had made plans too see but no matter how hard I tried the Underground Stage kept pulling me back in.
Saturday boasted probably the most impressive lineup out of the three days with Matrixxman, Rrose, Headless Horseman, Adam X & Perc, and Function all leading into one another. Each artist worked and performed perfectly into the next, keeping intensity the whole time. The deeper sounds that make up Rrose and Headless Horseman were the perfect appetizers to one of my favorite performances of the weekend, which was the back to back set from Adam X & Perc (AX&P). I’ve been lucky enough to catch both separately, specifically at the Interface | Scene 2016 after party (the destination party for all things techno), so I knew what both were capable of and together, well, it exceeded my expectations for the day.
Sunday was most definitely my most laid back day in terms of who I wanted to catch and allowed me to do a bit of wandering around the festival which is always enjoyable. But of course, I once again found myself in the Underground to be able to catch DVS1 at 8pm. This is an artist I’ve gotten to catch back home in Chicago before so it was another can’t miss set for me. It’s evident that this mans knowledge of music and the genre of techno is next to none with the way that he is able to command the dance floor. He proved this once again when he took to the stage at The Works for the closing of the Interface | Scene party later that night.
The best part of the Underground stage is that it is a safe haven from the rain that unfortunately rolled in over the festival that weekend. So when I walked in a bit late on day 3 and a sudden, yet short, storm decided to pour on us I quickly made my way down there. Monday gave way to artists such as DJ Hyperactive, Rebekah (Hybrid Set), Drumcell, and Ben Sims b2b Truncate.
By this point in the weekend my energy levels were definitely fleeting due to lack of sleep and too much good music (I just couldn’t stop dancing). Which is why Rebekah’s set was the prefect tempo to ease me into day 3 and bring back what ever little energy I had left. She had been one of my more anticipated acts to catch and I was happy to be able to make it in time to do so. Via a live hybrid set, Rebekah was able to showcase why she is currently one of the hottest acts to catch. Immediately following her was Drumcell, a California native that is on a mission to prove that America knows exactly what it is doing in terms of techno. He was relentless and that is exactly what I expected from him. Up next was Ben Sims b2b Truncate, a pairing that I truly didn’t want to miss but unfortunately had due because my body was giving into its exhaustion. And while I enjoyed some chicken alfredo from room service back at the hotel those two men delivered a perfect set to wrap up a perfectly curated weekend spent Underground.
Check out the #MovementDetroit 2017 Recap Video! Thank you to everyone for an incredible weekend in #Detroit. See you next year! ❤️ #DoNotDisconnect🎶 : Michael Mayer & Kolsch – Dogma 2 (Original Mix)
Posted by Movement Electronic Music Festival on Thursday, June 15, 2017
Photo credit: Doug Wojciechowski / Paxahau