With the Ren Cen looming like a big Detroit parent and the bluest of blue water gently moving within view (but not audibly due to the music), with the sun beating down mercilessly, this weekend’s Movement Festival, the daytime portion anyway, provided this music journo with the ideal opportunity to sit back, check out some awesome talent, and people watch in the most idyllic of surroundings.
A reminder – this festival takes place in the heart of Downtown Detroit, within close proximity of that famous fist. Hart Plaza becomes an Oasis around Movement time. Art installations pop up everywhere, and people of all ages, races, genders, and nationalities come together to simply have a great time. That might sound a little trite, but it’s true.
If you’ve never been to Movement, you might have a preconceived notion of what it’s all about. You might be imagining drugged out ravers dancing to whatever bleeping and-a blooping the various DJ’s decide to unleash. You might think that’s none of this stuff is music anyway – that they’re just pushing buttons and playing other people’s records. Therefore, the people that love it are being duped. You’d be wrong.
Or at least partially wrong. OK, so within an hour of arriving, I had seen two grown adults sucking enthusiastically on pacifiers, a few people dressed in those furry animal costumes (despite the heat), and countless people hula-hooping, juggling, engaging in various feats of acrobatics, and generally acting all festival-y. Didn’t see too many people tripping on molly or anything else, although the only cloud in the sky was one of weed. A few silly hats but, really, switch the DJ’s for an indie rock band and we could be at Coachella. Movement is a music festival much like any other, where people let their hair down.
For me, the Made in Detroit Stage was what it was all about. On the Sunday, Gabi killed it with a set that was, as she describes it, “pretty dark with dubby bass lines, but with melodic, very ethereal melodies over the top. It’s kind of like a cross between deep house and classic dub-techno.” With an ice-queen face ever-so-slightly breached by the merest hint of a smile, Gabi layed it on thick and got a great reaction in return.
British DJ Max Cooper generated a huge buzz on the Beatport Stage – people were running from all corners to hear what they’re doing with techno music on the other side of the Atlantic. Local boys Golf Clap created a party atmosphere, Amp Fiddler popped up with a great live set, and DJ Psycho, well, he played “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi, which went down like a fart in an elevator.
The truth is that Movement can and should appeal to everybody. Try it next year and check out something completely new. Take the family (I took my toddler). Just keep your mind open and enjoy.
As I was leaving, I noticed a young man stood on a box, preaching the word of God. Rather sternly, he was telling those entering and leaving the festival that, “God knows what you’re doing this weekend – he knows what you’re up to.” As I looked around at all of the peaceful, happy faces and looked down at my son happily lapping up a rapidly-melting ice-cream, I couldn’t help but think, “I hope so.”Follow @City_Slang