Lately, Detroit’s late-night mind-numb contingent has seen the best of times and the worst, as Mark Renton would say, cdrapp. The bigger clubs remain on a steady diet of wankster rap, cottage-cheese emptiness, imitating each other and, at best, booking DJs with crates fulla house tracks that should’ve been pawned off on ebay four years ago. So not much has changed there. Meanwhile, the booty-shakers and bleep-seekers have kept to the bars they call home.
Yet something has changed in the collective subconscious, and at risk of sounding like a total hippie, it’s like, more than just the seasons changing, ya know? Seriously, there seems to be reflection and progression going on in large amounts right now. Of course, progress in nightlife means as much socially acceptable stupidity as possible.
Here are this week’s examples of nights that inspire forward thinking, remembrance, and carelessly spinning in circles:
After housing its share of well-intentioned but doomed weeklies, Panacea (205 W. Congress, Detroit) is once again taking chances with the beautiful (if not overly shiny) fishbowl of a club. Sponsored by geek-worshiped Warp Records, Weekly Agenda is not for the agoraphobic; the ceilings are high, and free (quality) drinks from 10-11 p.m. means that you are too.
Jimmy Edgar, Warp’s protégé du jour, hosts the ambitious-for-a-weekday happenin’. He’s all of 20, from nowheresville suburban Detroit, and the enviable bastard already has a multialbum deal with the label that nursed diced-up, heady glitch from birth to the bitchy teenager it is today. If his live sets of laptop-patched, spastic soul are an indication of what’s to come when his debut EP drops in November, then hot damn, Warp might get a new foothold on cool with a boost from young Jimmy.
Thus far, guests have ranged from Keith Kemp to Juan “I actually showed” Atkins. This week finds newcomer Dolan Jenner (well, it’s really obscuro promoter and Movement’s unsung power-booker Sharif Zawideh), Mike Servito and a Phil Stone fashion show. Oh, and don’t miss out on Weekly Agenda’s biggest fan; a young lady who just spins around all night like she’d gotten drunk after getting laid off by the Ice Capades. …Yeah.
Gotta have house
Toasting a year of puttin’ the house in Hunter House (1427 Randolph, Detroit), and the harmony back in Harmonie Park, Beautiful Fridays is celebrating being one-year deep this week. Resident Korie holds forth with a cognac-drenched mix of Detroit soul-house. The Beatdown Sounds crew (Mike Clark, Norm Talley, and Delano Smith) and Al Ester keep in rotation, moving the steady cast of post-college urbanites to the b’dump-a-dump-dump. This is likely the least-tainted club night around and even mentioning it brings mixed feelings (so to spea’ … never mind). Fridays at Hunter House is both the real and, without question, a spiritual thing.
In a weird, but somehow completely unsurprising turn of events, Motor (1315 Caniff, Hamtramck) is having a reunion party. Apparently, the martini lounge-cum-techno club was never actually sold. The whole shebang, bang, bang, b’bang fell through for undisclosed reasons; however, considering the ridiculous amount of venomous smack talk between its former, um, current owners, it’s not too much of a stretch to picture the sale blowing up like a recently pawned smoke machine.
At any rate, it’s happening.
Stacey Pullen, Green Velvet, Terrence Parker, Dennis Cox and Gabe Real will get the gears in motion. Hopefully they kept the bar firmly in place and stocked with 151 because, as one former Motor employee accurately said, going back to the club for an event shortly after its widely hyped closing party last year “was like going out with an ex-girlfriend, knowing I wasn’t gonna get any at the end of the night.”
Thankfully, they’ve chosen Pullen, Velvet and Parker to headline the night — a class representation of what the spot was when it was at its best. It never hurts to reminisce as long as you wake up in today.
Paxahau promotions is celebrating its fifth anniversary by raking in some long overdue talent from key players on Germany’s home for satisfying, song-driven minimalism, Kompakt Records. (It’s presale only, so if tickets haven’t already sold out by print time, snatch ’em up now at www.paxahau.com.) True to form, Paxahau is behind one of the year’s most massive one-off club takeovers (tied only with its own Speedy J/Vladislav Delay party this May).
The bash happens at Times Square (1431 Times Square, Detroit) with Reinhard Voigt (live) and Michael Mayer dropping some of the slickest, stickiest beats on the planet. The after-party (tba at Times Square) finds ~Scape recording artist Deadbeat (also live) playing an eye-opener at 5 am. Drew Maddox and Chuck Flask keep the crowd at bay until then.
Overall, it’s not a bad week to work those brutal robot moves or just get a little sauce in that shimmy-shake. Honestly, you look fahn-tah-steek.Robert Gorell spends his days hungover. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org