In a world of territorial goths, a little kitsch can really work wonders. And that’s exactly what all the performers did at the Disco Nouveau party, Friday, Dec. 7, at the Labyrinth. People came from far and wide for a pure underground Detroit party, including UK performer Ed DMX (also know as the DMX Krew, who records for his own Breakin’, as well as releasing on the Aphex Twin’s label Rephlex). Ed DMX is perhaps the John Waters of electro, as he showed by working the crowd into such a fervor that he had them singing Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” over the instrumental version he was playing. In another highlight, Adult. debuted “Nite Life,” its contribution to the Disco Nouveau compilation, in an intense set for an enthusiastic crowd. Put together for Ann Arbor label Ghostly International, the Disco Nouveau comp is due in February. From punk-disco to neo-New Wave, the children of the Morrocoder came together for a rare night of retro futurism. Special parties like this are rarer and rarer these days in Detroit; let’s hope this sparks more of them.
ANN ARBOR UNDERGROUND
Ann Arbor has undergone a transformation this fall. Since the reopening of the Necto (with its successful Thursday weekly “Touch”), occasional Audiofold nights at the Blind Pig and John Miedler’s open-minded Monday-night events, Ann Arbor has had an abundance of high-quality electronic music nightlife. But beyond weekly events and venues, there is a bit of a scene developing in A2. For the longest time it was all underground, parties only happening in houses (with the likes of Recloose, Richie Hawtin and Juan Atkins), with brief bits of energy (the Liquid Lounge, Solar at the Pig). The main club, Nectarine, has been in a holding pattern since the Wizard (Jeff Mills) left sometime in the ’80s, until it was recently reopened by new owners and management as the Necto. “Touch” came out of the ashes of a Sept. 11 benefit featuring Kevin Saunderson that filled the club to capacity — they had to turn people away. Since then the night became “Touch,” a team involving Johnnie O and Barbara Deyo with the Ghostly International crew holding down the glass room and keeping A2 in the mix as international headliners play the main floor. In other news, John Miedler’s Monday nights have moved from Leopold’s to a temporary new home in the sub-basement of Analogic’s (the old Al Nally’s space), making for the first truly underground night of the new era in Ann Arbor.
For much of the ’90s, Detroit had seminal parties named “Family.” First “Family Function” every Wednesday at Alvin’s with Jim Stone and Brian Gillespie, and later “Adriel’s Family” at Motor every Tuesday with Derek Plaslaiko, Echo and Gillespie. These weeklies became more and more important for the scene as the focus shifted off raves, and Tuesdays became host to many great parties. At the end of the reign of “Family,” Chicago’s mad genius Traxx had become a monthly resident providing Detroit with its required dose of Larry Heard and other gems. Well, seeing as Xmas is the time of family and all, there’s “Family Reunion” at Motor on Wednesday, Dec. 26. It will be a classic, with Derek and Echo in the front room, Gillespie in the back. Motor is at 3515 Caniff, Hamtramck, 313 369-0090, www.motordetroit.com.
Submerge has fresh energy with Genesis and its “Revival” every Sunday at Porter Street Station in Detroit. Dedicated to resurrecting the scene, “Revival” focuses on bringing some new energy to local house and techno, with nights already from Minx and Marshall Jefferson, and with Alton Miller upcoming. Porter Street also hosts “Mixworks” every Thursday — on Dec. 27, it has Buzz Goree and James Pennington aka the Suburban Knight. More info at www.submerge.com.E-mail Pitch’d at firstname.lastname@example.org