Thanksgiving night's "Fluid" party was the first casualty of Fox 2 News' sensationalistic "Crave The Rave" segment, in which a Detroit police captain promised a crackdown on so-called "rave" parties in Detroit. "Fluid" organizers Detor productions went out of their way to secure a legal venue with all the necessary licensing ("the same permits St. Andrew's Hall uses," claims organizer Derrick Ortencia), including a Class D cabaret license, to allow "Fluid" to go off without a hitch, even going so far as to hire off-duty Detroit Police officers to work security. "We were treating this like a classy event," explains Ortencia, "to prove that this scene can party like grown-ups."
But despite the legal and licensed venue on Detroit's east side, the Detroit Police Vice Squad, known as the "gang squad," showed up ten minutes before doors were opened and informed party organizers that they were "told by a higher authority" to shut the party down. At that time organizers produced the necessary licenses and paperwork. Vice told Detor they'd have to shut down at 4 a.m. anyway, at which point the big name Detroit techno deejays scheduled to perform and who co-organized "Fluid" as a homecoming party for Detroit techno, became involved. "Derrick May got on the phone, Kevin Saunderson, Carl Craig and Kenny Larkin started arguing with the vice squad," says Ortencia, "but really it was just some guys trying to talk it out, because some of the techno guys even knew some of the vice squad or had mutual friends."
Detor and Saunderson and the others decided to go ahead until 4 a.m., and then to move on to an after party location. But at 2 a.m., in the middle of Kenny Larkin's live set, the gang squad returned without warning and rushed the door and demanded everybody leave immediately. "It was a disaster," says Ortencia. "We were told we could go until four so we figured we could issue free after party tickets at 3:30 or so, but we didn't even have a chance to make an announcement or do anything. It was just Vice yelling at everybody to turn on the lights and get out."
The real irony is that of all the after-hour parties the vice squad could have picked to crack down on, "Fluid" was arguably the least "rave"-ey of the lot. Organized by Detroit techno names for Detroit techno fans at a legal venue, "Fluid" bore none of the druggy/outlaw/abandoned warehouse stigma the "Crave The Rave" segment spotlighted. Instead, it was an effort on behalf of Detor and, to their credit, the usually aloof Detroit techno names more known for their deejaying in Europe than supporting the local scene, to legitimize techno and parties in the city devoted to this music. "For once these guys saw the kind of discrimination that goes on in this city against the people who love their music," said a still-frazzled Ortencia. A make-up party is already being planned.
NOISE IN THE HOOD
Following the "Fluid" disaster, organizers of Saturday's "Harmony" party were understandably nervous. After a last-minute venue change, "Harmony" went off pretty much without a hitch in a less isolated area on Detroit's east side in close proximity to other nightlcubs and thus less chance to be singled out by the gang squad. Vice never showed up, but local police responded after partygoers from Auburn Hills were involved in a traffic accident nearby, according to one party organizer. "Harmony" continued until 5 a.m., when the venue leasee "pulled the plug," apparently after a car drove by and shots were fired. Nobody was reported hurt, though the micro-managing venue leasee may have suffered a popped forehead vein.
AN OFFER HE COULDN'T DIFFUSE
DJ Godfather will no longer be the lounge sideroom resident DJ at Hamtramck's Motor. Motor management, swiftly adjusting to the sudden departure of Steven Sowers, apparently bristled at the rowdier, b-boy types Godfather's electro, booty and hip-hop trick deejaying style was attracting. But inside sources say Godfather's basement-party soundtrack sideroom was out-drawing Motor's national headliner deejays. Throw/Twlight 76 vinyl guru Brian Gillespie is now the sole resident.