Anyone who's heard the digital wizardry of Velvet resident "Hometeam" DJ Terrence Parker can certainly understand the change. While swing's big band nostalgia has grown tired, electronic music's lifelike pulse is now re-energizing the masses. Outside, Tonic refaces itself accordingly with a keenly confident logo standing tall and proud. Inside, the decor is less than electrifying (they're working on it); dance floor-spare with a DJ booth (aka throne for Terrence) up front. In Velvet days, the backroom was a lover's den with cozy couches and a "rich-parents-out-of-town" feel. Now, it stands gutted (begging for the continued renovation). Downstairs, this dingy minimalism works better. The basement space functions as a clandestine rave scene, with kids breakdancing on an old tiled floor.
On any given night, you'll hear house, pulse, trance and jungle remixes. Friday and Saturday nights are 21+, attempting to attract dressier, more sophisticated elitists looking for a place to get their groove on (and cash out heavy tabs). Sunday nights are 18+, so the local ravers can show their stuff.
It's probably a little too soon to tell if Tonic will generate the crowd that Velvet once did, but at least Tonic caters to a wider variety of patrons. The freeform style of dance increases the opportunity for invention and eliminates all those embarrassing blunders from newbie swing dancers. Whatever the reason behind the change, it's OK to bid farewell to the past when it's replaced with the inventive sounds of tomorrow.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.