I think my favorite weird drop was the ketamine version of Snap's The Power at Shit Show. I wish I remember who it was that played it.
I have finally recovered from last weekend. The last three days in the steel foundry have been brutal. Luckily the memories from DEMF have kept me going. So here are a few thoughts and notes on how it all went down.
After making the eight hour drive from western Illinois to Detroit, we arrived at the Troubletree. It was late afternoon on Friday and the party was just beginning. Connections were made, plans were set and drinks started flowing. A small group of us decided to get our wristbands early. We walked the six or seven blocks to the venue. The first thing that struck me was the lack of people and the relative quiet of the city. Ghost town would be the words that best describe the downtown. I immediately felt a sense of relaxation and contentment despite the dilapidated surroundings.
A few more drinks and introductions were made, then it was time for the first dance party. The Elysium Lounge was hosting the Visionquest Life & Death pre-party. The club was only five blocks from the hotel. The Elysium is the type of club with bathroom attendants and CO2 blasting onto the dance floor. Not as douchey as The Mid in Chicago, but damn close. Shaun Reeves and Bill Patrick were already playing when we made our entry. These gentlemen began the musical theme which would last throughout the weekend: tech house. Their set was solid, but nothing special. Thugfucker took over next and took things a notch higher. We didn't stay for much of their set, but it was appropriately dark and heavy hitting. Once back at the hotel, more friends had arrived and the Troubletree pre-party was reaching an early climax on the seventh floor.
We managed to grab some precious sleep before waking to a rainy and cool morning. The Captain's Party being held by friends was well under way by the time we were able to make the journey. More introductions and drinks were had, but sadly no DJ AndrewS downtempo set(another day perhaps). A shuttle bus arrived and we went back to the hotel to gear up for festival entry.
I wasn't sure what to expect for our general admission entrance. It was a pleasant surprise to find that I was simply waved through with a quick check of my wristband. Awesome. My wife and I walked around acclimating ourselves to the layout of the stages. We caught parts of Tale Of Us, Mark Farina and Phil Agosta. The first "oh yeah!" moment was had at Benoit & Sergio. The crowd was enthusiastic and B&S were working it well. The next generation of beat-head was in attendance in the form of a toddler being hoisted above the throng of revelers. A hilarious moment ensued when Barb anointed the child with a discoball necklace. "My baby does k all day..." haaahahaha...
Greg Wilson was throwing down the old school jams at the Main which was a perfect lead in for Todd Terje. The weather had remained overcast and drizzly. A decent number of our group gathered for what would be my favorite performance of the weekend. Todd Terje was my biggest anticipation leading into the fest and he turned out to be better than expected. I nearly lost my emotional grip when he mixed in a
Fela Kuti track midway through his set. It felt as if I was hovering a foot above the dance floor. By the time Inspector Norse was played, the fest could have ended and I would have been satisfied. I must see this man again.
The rest of the night was spent wandering. We took in moments of Derrick Carter, David Squillace, Matias Aquayo and Lil' Louis. I had planned on watching all of Matias Aguayo, but the lighting and sound in the Underground weren't doing it for us. Too bad really as Matias was "killing it" as the kids say. We finally settled into Seth Troxler and Guy Gerber who were laying down more of that tech house business. It had been a long day already, so we left early to recoup at the hotel. Lil' Louis was playing Donna Summer's I Feel Love as we walked away. Her angelic voice wafted over the empty streets. I was feeling it.
A quick lesson on after parties: you can't do them all. I had tickets for Circo Loco on Saturday night, but was too spent to make it. I decided to cut my losses, grab a quick nap and rally for Shit Show. My wife stayed in and slept. That would be the third and last wasted after party ticket. Next year I will plan accordingly. So it was off to Shit Show at Waterfalls just before 7am Sunday morning coming off over 24 hours of partying and dancing. Wow. Daniel Bell took advantage of my fragile state and forced me to dance some more. This would begin a dance-athon that would last until 4:30a Monday morning. Public Lover and Til von Sein kept the mood laidback, but heavy. Highlights of Shit Show were Kollektiv Turmstrausse and the Wolfman showing up as a Mormon missionary. Classic.
I walked back to the hotel by myself after Kollektiv Turmstausse finished. The weather had turned magnificently. Partly cloudy skies and a fresh breeze started to saturate my senses. It was festival time again. We listened to a few minutes of Camea before making our way to Slowhands. His set lived up to the hype and the RBMA stage was picturesque. Boats cruised by on the Detroit River and Windsor shined
non threateningly across the water. This was the first time I was really able to enjoy the RBMA stage as the previous day's lineup led to a packed scene. Then it was back to the Beatport stage for the tail end of Heidi. The Beatport lineup was stacked for Sunday:. Maya Jane Coles->Maceo Plex->Ian Pooley->Mathew Jonson->Claude VonStroke.
Something about MJCs' take on tech house hit the right chord for me. Her set was probably my second favorite of the weekend. The women of Movement were amazing this year. It would be great to see an entire day at the Main stage devoted to the ladies. It is great to see more diversity in an EDM world which has been mostly ruled by men. I expect big things in the future from women like Steffi, Cassy, Nina Kraviz, Kate Simko, Deniz Kurtel and of course the remarkable Maya Jane Coles. I've read MJCs' sets at Rare Form and Need I Say More were excellent as well.
A few people have been expressing their disappointment in Maceo Plex's set. I thought it was decent. His studio efforts overshadow his dj sets which tends to lead to a letdown. Towards the end of Maceo Plex, we left and went on a Dirty Epic journey from Josh Wink to Lindstrom to Ian Pooley. Lindstrom was very high energy and disco infused. I had another peak moment during his set. Hot Natured followed Lindstrom and the stage became packed. Too bad because they sounded great with more of that groovy tech house. I wasn't going to miss a second of Mathew Jonson, so we ran back to the Beatport stage and prepared for some weirdness. Man do I love MJ. He brought depth and detail which was unrivaled. Someday I hope to see him do an extended performance in a dark club. Definitely in my top five of the fest overall.
Detroit's own Claude VonStroke was up next. I enjoyed his first fifteen to twenty minutes, but was more compelled to see Loco Dice on the Main. Perhaps the largest crowd of the weekend had drawn as we watched from the steps of the Main's amphitheater. The energy was on high. I liked what I heard and would gladly see Loco Dice again. I had seen Public Enemy before and really wanted to get to the KMS after party, so we only stayed for their first couple songs. Too much yapping and not enough rapping anyway. We went back to the Troubletree and formed our KMS crew. A taxi was hailed and now it was time for the Creators performing at the historic St. Andrew's Hall.
There was a sizable line to get in, but it moved fairly quickly. We were greeted by a wave of heat at the door. KMS was hot and sweaty to the nth degree. Ahhhh, the real Detroit experience. We were too late for Juan Atkins(bummer!), but Ben Sims was hammering the main room and it was proper. I had missed Carl Craig twice in Detroit so far, but vindication was had in the form of 69 Live. Heady dark sounds issued forth. Inner City came out next and played a brief and glorious greatest hits set. Organic soulful voices mingled with steely Detroit techno lifted my spirit towards satori. Our crew raged with The Elevator and The Innovator. You could feel the psychic connection between Kevin & Derrick and the crowd. Detroit at it's finest.
By the time we made it back to the hotel, I was done. Best laid plans to see Maya Jane Coles at Need I Say More were dashed. I had to sleep. It had to happen sometime and it came on Memorial Day morning. With gas back in the tank, we pushed on to the last day of the fest. Monday turned out to be a warm one. Shade was the order of the day. The RBMA stage was hosting No Regular Play and we escaped to it's
shelter immediately. I was pleasantly surprised by No Regular Play's deep sound. It was a mostly dj set with only a bit of live trumpet thrown in. The last time I had seen them it was all live and too mellow for my taste. This set was ideal for the setting.
Despite the risk of serious sunburn, we took our chances at the Main for Nina Kraviz. I had heard she was just a pretty face and conceited in her performance. I didn't get that in the slightest. Although her mixing was average, her setlist was eclecticly superb and her attitude came off as playful. I had yet another blissed out moment while listening to her set as I laid in the shade of the water fountain. The music felt as if it was coming from inside me. Friends now began to gather and the party ramped up again for Subb-an at Beatport and Cassy on the Main. First we boogied at Beatport. More shade and tech house with proggy punctuations. Some moments later and we watched as the sun shone down on Cassy's smiling face.
The smooth loving vibe that Cassy created was quickly erased by the bludgeoning Radio Slave. My wife wasn't feeling it at all, but I danced pretty steadily throughout. We were both in need of a break when Chris Leibing started. Some of the best tech house of the weekend commenced after our respite. Nic Fanciulli and Joris Voorn showed everyone the potential of the genre. Deep + driving, structured +
layered, relentless + forceful. Another top 5 performance. We regretfully walked away from Steve Bug who really impressed me. Gladly we caught the last few minutes of Kevin Saunderson and were in great position to end the fest with Jeff Mills on the Main.
The Wizard. My new DJ hero. I will be eternally grateful to Mr. Mills for reminding me what DJing as really about. As a long time DJ myself, I often get discouraged by the slick sophistication of the modern performing DJ. We live in the age of the DJ superstar and The Wizard lifted the veil on the glamor and pomp which embody it. I watched people storm away in disgust as Jeff trainwrecked with real vinyl. Fuck yeah! He played Supersonic by JJ Fad. Marvelous. I felt as if I had traveled through time and landed in the Detroit of the late 70s. That feeling was amplified when the 909 was fired up. It's not too often that you see a living legend of EDM let loose on a vintage drum machine. So inspiring!
Jeff Mills' set was a symbolic dividing line in the current EDM scene. On one side you have the tech house modernists who want everything perfectly mixed and seamlessly presented. On the other side you have the more artsy experimental types who welcome the chaos and improvisation. The scene and situation are more complicated than that, but to me this idea defines a moment in the evolution of the electronic
sound. Using vinyl and actual turntables, half these laptop DJs couldn't beat match their way out of a wet paper bag anyway. The Wizard put on the show that I would have personally performed given the opportunity.
The next day we had our last two meetups at Slow's BBQ and Old Miami. Slow's was tasty and affordable. The only drawback is that they were slammed and it took us awhile to settle the bill. The Old Miami was welcoming and mellow. I will get there next year for the Visionquest party. Their drinks are cheap and the backyard is huge. Tearful goodbyes were exchanged and the weekend was over.
There are so many more details, but they are either unmentionable or lost in memory.
Extra special thanks to an absolutely magical group of friends. The experience would have been nothing without them. I made lifelong connections that will be cherished and nurtured. Whenever I felt like pooping out, I just looked around and summoned the energy of those around me. There was laughter galore and next to no drama. Everyone was generous, open and playful. Until next year, BLEEPBLOOPBLEEP!!!!!
Wonderful write-up! I'm definitely in your camp regarding Mills. There were a couple of rough spots, but overall, that was one of my favorite sets of the weekend. I had NO energy left, but could not stand still during his set. And, the whole time, I kept thinking "I'm an asshole! Why didn't I make my family come to the festival today?" They would have loved it. The last (30? 45?) minutes of his set,... well, when he started in to The Bells, I nearly lost it.
Last year when I came home from Detroit, I was severely depressed for a week. It sounds silly and trivial, but I actually stayed in bed for a couple of days with the feeling "my life may never be that good again (as it was last weekend)." This year, I came home in a fantastic mood. The weekend couldn't have been more perfect -- way better than last year's DEMF for me -- yet I know that next year will somehow manage to be even better.
I'm out of my league as far as reviewing the sets I saw in any meaningful way, so I'll leave it to a smattering of observations:
1) Holy fuck. Everything was great. And even when something wasn't that great, it takes like 30 seconds to wander over to something that is great.
2) The different vibes at each stage are key. Each one has such a unique setting and feel that it takes what could (arguably) be a weekend full of very similar types of experiences and gives each one its own kind of life.
3) I didn't make it to one after party and I am fine with that. Morning/day raving is the path I've chosen.
4) You are all just magnificent. This thread and all of your willingness to offer advice and tips, etc really helped my crew cut through the bullshit and do this thing right. Furthermore, I had an absolute blast hanging out with all of my "board family" and really appreciate the getting down we all did together.
5) Old Miami FT motherfucking W.
6) I'll be back.
7) My anger at the Detroit Christian Raver Collective may have been misguided. I think it was just a guy so boobed out that he believed he was doing God's work.
8) As far as I'm concerned, when it comes to transitions, I'll take train sounds over whoosh sounds any day.
9) This is kinda ghetto but it makes me wanna vogue.
SoulDischarge posted this on FB but this deserves posting here. NPR's recap of the festival. Sounds pretty true to the experience I had.
Edit: oops, I guess someone I don't know had posted it but Patrick called my attention to the article.
Last edited by chiapet; 06-04-2012 at 07:41 AM.
That was fun.
Rhythm is a dancer.
I have many thoughts. But i'll keep them for now. Just want to thank you guys for being awesome and looking after me (espescially during my BRILLIANT sweatshirted Kms 25 wild man plunge). Until next year.
Rhythm is a dancer.
This thread has convinced me to try my hardest to make it to DEMF next year.
...not to mention that I'm listening to the Til von Sein album right now just imagining getting down to this at Old Miami! Damn!
Fresh off his "JUICY AUSTRALIA TOUR"
anyone having any luck finding any recordings from DEMF or any of the after parties?
Check out Sleeping is Giving in for great mixes and other cool stuff
Who is Gay Marvine and why is he so good?
L337moomoo@gmail.com. This is my first post on the boards in months-- all to satisfy you.
As for DEMF 2012; fuck. I wish I was back this very second. Glad I went with a crew of amazing drama-free, semi-responsible, intelligent, hilarious motherfuckers. Your attitudes, jokes, and stories helped make DEMF an unforgettable experience. Special thanks to Detroit to being one of the realest, scariest, strangest, and most soul-filled cities I've ever been to. ~Chaboi
Edit- Oh yeah, and the music was spot-on. Some artists exceeded expectations and some were more mediocre than expected. Very educational weekend for anyone into djing, producing, or loving music.
Track of the weekend:
Last edited by moomoo; 06-06-2012 at 04:15 PM.
pretty much says it all
Rhythm is a dancer.
WOW. Just ... WOW.
I was on the bass pyramid on saturday completely out of my mind. Who else made it up there?
"How long will this last, this delicious feeling of being alive, of having penetrated the veil which hides beauty and the wonders of celestial vistas? It doesn't matter, as there can be nothing but gratitude for even a glimpse of what exists for those who can become open to it."
I've never gone to the absolute top of that thing. I have an overdeveloped concern for personal safety at festivals. Probably because I'm stumbling around seeing weird things.
I don't think I went to the top this year. Last year Bob and I were on top of that pyramid moving clouds during Soul Clap, though.
8/16: Anthony Naples, Maxmillion Dunbar @ f8
8/18: Man Man @ The Chapel
8/23-8/24: FYF Fest
8/30: Peaking Lights @ The Chapel
9/3: Bear in Heaven @ The Independent
9/24 - 28: Decibel Festival
10/5: The War on Drugs, Cass McCombs @ The Fillmore
10/18-19: Treasure Island Music Festival