It’s been a few weeks since Movement Electronic Music Festival 2018 took place in the heart of Detroit, fittingly stationed at the city’s waterfront playground, Hart Plaza. But there’s no amount of time that can separate me from the music and the memories forever engrained in my brain, as the weekend still has a strong hold on me.
I’m not sure how many yards or meters away from the festival I happened to be when the excitement overtook me and I broke out into a run toward the gates. I had to keep reminding myself I was with a group of people and settled with a purposeful power walk instead. Inside the grounds, there was an instant wave of freedom — that indescribable feeling I’d been craving since Movement Detroit wrapped up last year.
I was home again.
It was creeping into the evening hours and the crowd was rushing over to see artist Fisher on the signature Movement Stage. The stage was already heating up by the time my group arrived and he was throwing down like a true boss. It felt good to be back and Fisher knew exactly what the occasion called for — lots of crowd-pleasing tech-house and his own sensational collection of ripe hits.
Soon after that, I disappeared for a while in the underground as Helena Hauff commanded a driving techno set that instantly made Detroit proud. Her set may have only been an hour and a half, but in the heavy, sweaty darkness that is the Underground Stage it felt like half a lifetime.
Out of the underground, it was shocking to still see any trace of daylight. Justin Martin took the stage around dusk and played out one of the most beautiful sets I’ve ever heard. Alone, lost in the crowd, I’d find myself in tears — the good, happy kind — as the producer showed off his unparalleled taste in house music and beyond.
It was then time for Dirtybird‘s fearless leader to take the stage. Claude VonStroke’s set rocked many of his own masterful productions as well as some of the very best selections his label has to offer. Situated in an actual, illuminated bird’s nest, VonStroke closed out the Movement Stage for the first time on his terms.
“I’ve played Movement more than ten times, and every time it’s one of the most nerve-racking shows of the year,” he later revealed to DJ Mag. “I always want to bring the hottest possible set for Detroit, it’s where it all started, and my parents always come watch.”
From start to finish it was an impeccable show. Well, from what I gather it was, because I did sneak off to see a bit of Maceo Plex before the night closed out. It was a beautiful thing to revisit one of the very first artists who had me completely entranced at Movement years ago. It’s a decision I certainly didn’t regret, especially because Claude will soon unleash his entire Movement set in full as a live album.
Scrambling to get our lives together, my group headed for the festival with only one true destination in mind — the Pyramid Stage to catch Tiga‘s set. Taking a beeline toward the stage, we could hear pounding music coming from all different directions. Movement was back in full force for day two.
I’m a pretty emotional person, but not to the extent where I regularly cry it out during DJ sets. However, something came over me at Tiga. When the set I was most looking forward to all weekend long was there right happening in front of me, I completely lost it. Tiga took me on a two-hour trip through another dimension and it felt so electrifying that I’m surprised my constant buildup of tears didn’t shock me there on the spot.
The rest of the day was a blur of all sorts of musical talent as I wandered around from stage to stage. At times, I didn’t even care to look up who was playing or when. It sounds a little negligent on my part, but the music sounded so right that nothing else mattered.
Bits and pieces of Seth Troxler, Eats Everything, KiNK and Nina Kraviz were highlights of the night. But, my intentions were already focused on a totally stacked Monday with some of my favorite artists.
The sun was blazing down when Detroit-duo Golf Clap took the Star Gate Stage, unleashing their infectious house rhythms on an eager audience. The masterminds behind Country Club Disco and some of the hottest Movement afterparties were able to show the city exactly what they’re made of over a two-hour set — and the crowd soaked in every moment. On the final day of Movement, there’s no taking anything for granted.
From there, Star Gate hosted riveting lineup of young, inventive talent with J. Phlip, Mija, and Rezz. I found myself glued to and even on the stage during this crazy run, which truly felt like a surreal raver dream of mine. But this was real life. Directly after Golf Clap, J. Phlip took the stage and shook the place with her sophisticated and well-seasoned taste in dance music. No booty could resist the urge to wiggle. Mija served as a perfect follow up with her sophisticated, eclectic mix of tunage as she rinsed out some of the most unique tracks I’ve ever heard. With a thoughtful balance of party vibes and sonic escape, Mija stole our souls and surrendered them to the music.
Then, it was time for Space Mom to take the stage and for a moment the crowd fell eerily quiet. Rezz wowed newcomers to her sound with her distinct style of dark dance music, and pleased her regulars with new edits and transitions that felt special for the occasion. It wasn’t too long into her set that I learned one of my favorite sounds in the world is hearing other people experience Rezz for the first time. Gawks and gasps were at times heard over the producer’s own bass-heavy drops and I couldn’t resist smiling as I heard her take over Detroit.
Diplo, Diplo, Diplo… It’s seriously impossible to put into words what this producer did for the festival and music in general for that matter with that amazing, tasteful set he threw down. Within minutes of taking the stage he already proved all the haters wrong and played Movement ridiculously right. His allotted set time of one hour was dedicated to house music with some perfectly transitioned hip hop selections to mix it up. As he crept over his time, he eased into his signature Diplo sound that so many were uppity about hearing at a techno festival. He delivered and then some. Ultimately, Diplo closed out the festival on a heartfelt, housey note, but not before working in a stunning version of Fedde Le Grand’s “Put Your Hands Up For Detroit” — which gave him an insane amount of street cred on the spot. F**king bravo, Diplo.
So, that was my Movement Detroit 2018 experience, in a nut shell. Yeah, I made it through the festival somehow without seeing Wu-Tang. Though, I heard it was a great show. There are tons of artists that have gone unmentioned and I’m sure moments that have slipped my mind. Not to mention the afterparties that kept me up all night and the friends that made me laugh all day. These words are really only an outline, as Movement gave me so much more than I could ever describe.
Until next time, Detroit.
Movement Detroit 2018 Rewind