Ah! Halloween in Detroit. The one time of year when local clubbers actually dress up to get down, shedding their usual drab, anti-fashionable dance gear to wear something even more hideous.
But, hey, forget the clothes. It's all about the music, right? As long as the D is still kicking it from the deep end, all is right with the world. Problem is, though, the music the world has come to expect from this place appears to be masquerading as … well, a collection of drab, anti-fashionable stale grooves that fewer and fewer people want to hear.
Yes, that's a not-so-thinly veiled and mean-spirited critique on the present state of the local scene … and, no, I won't take it back. We are falling off the charts from the standpoint of production and presentation. Our music has become dull and our parties have become lazy, drug-infested, boring exercises in degenerative retrograde flow — if there is any flow at all. Not many people (aside from those already invested in a petrifying scene that still celebrates the mid-1990s as the last golden age of techno) want to jump in, even if they were invited. This is supposed to be music that reinvents itself every few months as something new and fresh — an evolving marriage of humanity and technology that's immune to crummy nostalgia. C'mon, Detroit. Forget the past and give the kids what they want: The future.
Party like it's 2099
OK, enough bellyaching, for now. 'Tis the season to be masked or unmasked — angel or devil, mother or whore? Accordingly, there are dance parties worth attending; local DJs still digging for the best music being made; and out-of-town celeb performers who need to be experienced live.
So, begin at Fi-Nite Gallery on Friday, Oct. 26, when crews from Bang Tech, Breakloose, Detroit Techno Militia, Women on Wax and others combine to present Night Gallery. Appearing at the decks: Dilemma, DJ Seoul, G. Major, Mizz Chavez, T. Linder, the Vandal and Minx, with the latter producing, performing and growing in her music since 1998. (Scour the web for fellow Detroiter Pirahnahead's "headjob" remix of her "Fuzzy Navel" track out now on the Japanese Pony Canyon label.) Fi-Nite is at 1370 Plum St., Detroit; $10 before midnight, $15 after. With costume, it's $5 off all night. Look for me in the Rod Serling death mask!
If you're still in the Corktown neighborhood Saturday night, Oct. 27, slide back into Fi-Nite for Moto and D-Version's Masquerade party. On tap: Cratesavers' DJ Di'Jital, Wallshaker's E Dubb, Rob Rage, Wilhelm K, Jeff Woodward and more; $5 before midnight, $10 after.
On the east side of downtown, there's a buzz building around Escape, which in another lifetime (sorry, I mean the '90s) housed the famed Warehouse Club. Reports are that the space, which once hosted Jeff Mills and other pioneering electronicats, has been snazzily outfitted inside and out. Perhaps the best test will come on Oct. 27, when hard-charging Swede Adam Beyer headlines a party brought to you by Hej Records, VOLATLtm and Resident Advisor. Expect more grand slams from Punisher and John Overfiend (the Detroit duo behind Hej), Joe Geez and Chicago's Mindbender. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at Detroit Threads (313-743-3044) in Hamtramck and Record Time (248-336-8463) in Ferndale. Escape is at 3000 Woodbridge St., Detroit.
If you're looking for something a bit more minimal, however, and you're a Trekkie, the party for you on Oct. 27 features Montreal's Pheek and Goosehound's K. Atou, who split time between Athens and Berlin. The two assume star command at Auxetic's Engage party, along with Detroit's Keith Kemp. At Proof, 2001 Woodward Ave., Detroit; $5 before midnight, $10 after. Beam me up, Scotty.
Also on Oct. 27: Interdimensional Transmissions presents the label's annual Samhain event at the Bohemian National Home. IT is the label started by Brendan M. Gillen of Ectomorph, a group that helped lead a Detroit- and Ann Arbor-based world domination of stripped-down electro in the (yup!) 1990s (fellow travelers included Adult., Dopplereffekt, Goudron and Perspects). Joining Ectomorph are Patrick Russell, Carlos Souffront and Mike Servito. Also appearing live earlier that same night: Portland improv-psych duo, Yellow Swans. At 3009 Tillman St., Detroit; 313-737-6606; Doors at 9 p.m. $8.
Finally, there's a Devil's Night bash at the Works this year, featuring local DJs wearing costumes of performers known around the world. Try this on for size: DTM as Kraftwerk and Darkcube as Carl Cox. Or Paranormal Tek & Kero as SCAN 7. Or Josh Dahlberg as Giorgio Moroder. And here's one that sounds like fun: DJ Southside and Corbin Davis as old Richie Hawtin vs. new Richie Hawtin. Well, you get the idea … At 1846 Michigan Ave., Detroit. For more info, go to bangtech12.com.
So long, Detroit
I'm never happy to report that another loyal Detroit techno kid is splitting the scene that spawned a thousand scenes around the globe, even when it's for good reason.
But Mike Servito is moving to Brooklyn at the end of the month. Two of his colleagues in the original Untitled series (from the early '00s, not the '90s), Derek Plaslaiko and Matthew Dear, are already in that same neighborhood. Dear is tearing it up as both a solo artist (as Audion and False) and with his band, Big Hands. And Plaslaiko is the resident DJ at NYC's Bunker, a hot night that never seems to cool off (thanks largely to the talents of the effervescent DJ, originally from Downriver).
Servito was a charter Dorkwave member and then started Sass with Nathan Rapport (who left Detroit earlier for San Francisco and eventually plans on New York for a later move).
His So Long, Detroit party happens as this MT issue hits the streets, Wednesday, Oct. 24, and starts at 7 p.m. It's styled as a "dinner disko," according to Servito: "Why the hell not?" he asks. "We've done late night, early morning and day raves. Detroit needs an after-work mid-week dance party." Greg Mudge, Matt Abbott, Craig Gonzales, Ryan Elliott, Kemp and Russell will join Servito. At Northern Lights, 660 W. Baltimore St., Detroit. A donation at the door gets you in. The party will wind down around 2 a.m. Stay sassy on the East Coast, Mike.The Subterraneans is a regular column dedicated to Detroit dance culture. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org