The political party animals that we are, it was hard not to notice the convergence — within a recent four-day period — of two of the most unholy days on the Western calendar: Devil’s Night and Election Day. We definitely needed a day of rest in between, so we chilled on All Saints’ Day. Finding parties on Nov. 2 was easy. But the Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians; the Green, Natural Law, Metro Detroit Communist and Michigan Socialist parties all looked a little hurt when we told them, “Dudes, we give you love and respect, but yours is not the kind of party we’re looking for.”
Thankfully, Hamtramck’s Belmont Lounge was throwing down its regular Punk, Pabst & Porn night, with one television monitor dedicated to the wrenching results coming in from Ohio and other Democratic (er, Republican) strongholds. The evening kicked off early with Julie Becker’s ( target="_blank">punkfitnessdetroit.com) always-fresh aerobics class. Who says you can’t dance to “I’m So Bored with the U.S.A.”? Election results were coming in about the same time as DJ Mikel Smith was hammering away with the Slits’ “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” the Buzzcocks’ “Orgasm Addict” and “Oh Bondage, Up Yours,” by X-Ray Spex. If you can’t dance to that, someone needs to check your voter registration card.
Treak or treat?
A lot of checking was going on during Halloween weekend, which began with a treat — the Detroit Underground party at Foran’s — then continued with the aforementioned “D” Night, and lasted until all the tricks played themselves out on All Hallows’ Eve. At Foran’s, we caught Derek Michael and Kero, Rochester Hills wunderkind Jimmy Edgar and SV4, a badass experimental disco and hip-hop DJ who came to the party wearing a mask that bore an uncanny resemblance to Ghostly/Spectral founder Sam Valenti. Say what? Oh, it actually was the head of America’s most prolific indie label for electronic and pop dance music behind the decks. Needless to say, this Valenti guy looked like a million bucks, putting his slow, grinding groove on inside the pub while an October rainstorm raged on through the window in the background. Talk about your drama.
Vowing to stay dramatic for Devil’s Night itself, the Subterraneans tried to remain underground as much as possible, but a second-floor live spectacle by Detroit Techno legends Scan 7 (Underground Resistance, Tresor, F-Communications, Cratesavers) forced us up the stairs at the Corktown Tavern. The vibe was flying high, no doubt aided by the large number of comely girls with angel and butterfly wings. We noticed a couple of druid priests near the staircase, both trippin’ over their robes and groovin’ to the electro beatdown provided by the mysterious 7 (down to two for this performance) and their machines. Scan 7 founder Trackmaster Lou told us that 2005 will be a big year for the band, with new audio and video releases, and more live dates, in the works.
We just wanted to fit in at Untitled’s Labyrinth party, where we shared the dance floor with a robot from outer space, a woman in a wedding dress, more winged girls, a couple of zombies and a mummy. But we came dressed as psycho-geographers, which seemed to scare everyone away. No worries. We had better access to Geoff White (Force Inc., Morris Audio, Ghostly International), the Canadian producer who recently dropped a full-length (Viscous Solid) on Ghostly using his Aeroc alias. White did a live P.A., while Matthew Dear (recently tagged by XLR8R as one of that magazine’s artists of the year), Mike Servino, Ryan Elliot and Derek Plaslaiko (all Untitled regulars) spun records, smoked cigarettes, drank beer and laughed all night long.
On our way out we saw an insect that looked like promoter Jon Ozias deejaying in another room. It sounded great, and he had all the freaks who dressed like skinny white suburban kids still rockin’ as the hour approached 4 a.m. But it was getting late. We were up, down and turned around, and now we had to find our souls on our way home.
John Peel (1939-2004)
BBC Radio One DJ John Peel’s death last month shocked and saddened the Subterraneans. We are believers in the revolutionary mix of youth spirit and tribal bounce, two things that Peel championed. His broad-ranging love of music reached Detroit often: Most recently he counted himself a fan of Ghostly International, which was Peel’s label of the month in August (bbc.co.uk/radio1/onemusic/exposed/ghostly436p01.shtml). His life was an inspiration. From the Detroit underground, we promise to keep the same fires burning. Teenage kicks, Mr. Peel.
Friday: ~Scape 5-Year Anniversary Tour, featuring Bus and D. Mateo/Dabrye tag-team plus Savas Pascalidis (Oslo, 1456 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-963-0300).
Saturday: The Bad Plus and E.S.T. (Esbjörn Svensson Trio); DJ sets by Aarnio courtesy of Ghostly International (Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-668-8480).
Nov. 19: DetroitLuv, featuring Carlos Souffront plus 13 other DJs (The Works, 1846 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-963-0300).
Nov. 20: Detroit Techno Militia (Corktown Tavern, 1716 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-964-5103).
Nov. 24: Ellen Allien, with Sharif Zawiden and Mike Servino (Oslo).
Nov. 25: Magda, Clark Warner and Marc Houle (live) (Oslo).Contact Carlton Gholz and Walter Wasacz at email@example.com