The wheels of rock
Carlos D. might be It. Well, the Interpol bassist is not the first rock star to perform live with his bandmates, then dance until sunrise at a party or club. But it’s rare to see a dude sweat it out on stage, then control the after-hours at the decks — especially when he’s wearing a suit. Do we even have to say that when Carlos — just declared one of music’s current it people by Spin — plays records he draws a capacity crowd and has fellow internationalistas like Adult.’s Nicola Kuperus jumping to the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog”? He does. She did. It all happened at Dorkpol, the October edition of Les Enfants Terribles at the Corktown Tavern on Friday, Oct. 15.
A couple miles to the east of Corktown and deeper down into the D, the Detroit Underground label worked hard for the attention of those Toffleresque human beings so necessary to the digital dance scene. At a party in early October, there were fresh 12’s for sale, fantastic fliers, visuals on the brick walls and prodigious amounts of talent. Like who? Zapan (zapan.net) — a producer and DJ who started performing in Seattle in the 1990s and now splits time between France and Japan — and Portland’s Deceptikon. But it was Quantazelle (Liz McLean Knight from Chicago), who caught our oft-jaded imaginations. She channeled magical streams of sound with calmness in her eyes and funkiness in her preprogrammed sonic collages. The next Detroit Underground night features Egg and Jimmy Edgar, as well as Ghostly International label head Sam Valenti IV, who will play a DJ set. It kicks Thursday, Oct. 28 at Foran’s (612 Woodward, Detroit; 313-961-3043).
It’s amazing how the late Motor’s all-under-one-roof (including house, techno, ghetto-funk, drum & bass, hip hop, experimental, dance-schlock, trance and disco) philosophy has influenced club programming throughout the city. Dan Sordyl, who owned Motor during its six-year run (1996-2002) as Detroit’s King of Clubs, is now spotted regularly on the lower Woodward corridor, checking out the scene(s) at Bleu and the State (where he hosts the weekly Altered States every Saturday night). Sordyl, who now appears as at home in Grand Circus Park as he did in Hamtramck during Motor’s heyday, calls Saturdays at the State a “crazy, booty-slapping” time. We believe you, brother.
We showed up at the State’s “stripper-music-for-the-masses” night, with DJs Mike Scroggs and Godfather at the decks: Dry ice was drifting around the sculpted regal medieval soldiers standing in corners, while women gyrated and convulsed on the floor below. Not high art, you say? Duh. … But it’s not supposed to be. Booty’s purpose is to … move the booty. It is simultaneously sexually provocative and innocent, with girls encouraged to lead on the dance floor.
On the same Saturday night and just down the street from Altered States and Bleu, Chicago’s DJ Sneak performed at Oslo in a one-off. In a club where even more historically significant artists like Juan Atkins and James T. Cotton might draw less than 50 people, the 150-plus dancing to a strong set of acid-house meant something. Bodies were in the house, which led us to declare that the ersatz 1990s will one day be even better than the real thing. By the way: Oslo has begun a new series of residencies on Saturday nights, featuring the likes of Three Chairs (KDJ, Rick Wilhite and Marcellus Pittman), Theo Parrish and others. This weekend: DJ Dez from Slum Village is featured. For more info, call Oslo at 313-963-0300.
Fame: Is it any wonder?
In September, the Dance Music Hall of Fame (dmof.com) held an opening reception in New York City. We celebrate the greatness of David Mancuso and Larry Levan, pioneers of the East Coast house scene, who were justly honored. Also Tee Scott — an underground original who gave Frankie Knuckles his break in NYC (and also played Detroit’s L’uomo back in the day) — made the final cut as well as Italo-disco godfather Georgio Moroder. Absent: The Gallery’s Nicky Siano (whose recent CD compilation release for Soul Jazz Records features the Temptations and the Supremes) and everyone who influenced Detroit, including artists like Kraftwerk and Alexander Robotnick. We’re always looking for love for the 313, wherever we can find it.
And Detroit wouldn’t be badass Detroit unless the party scene kicked itself into second and third gear for the holidays. Yes, we’re talking Devil’s Night and Halloween, club kids.Contact Carlton Gholz and Walter Wasacz at firstname.lastname@example.org