BETTER DAYS SITUATION BETTERED
Following a police raid and subsequent closing, Woodward Village’s premier after-hours club — and the city’s greatest beatdown house stronghold — Club Better Days, will re-open this weekend, minus the Friday night promoters whose party occasioned the recent police raid and shut-down. According to Saturday night resident DJ Mike Clark and Saturday night’s "Go Deep" party promoter Korie Enyard, the Friday night raid occasioned a "house cleaning," by Better Days owner Felton Howard, who capped off months of renovations by getting the space the appropriate paperwork to allow the club to continue. Enyard says the shutdown prompted Howard "more or less to just bring everything up to code."
Adds Clark, "They redid the place, now we’re gonna be the only promoters involved with it." The club will reopen this Saturday with resident beatdown house maestros Mike Clark and Norm Talley, and will feature Chicago house legend Glenn Underground next weekend, not Memorial Day weekend as originally scheduled. "We had to push everything back a week, but we’re back on," says Enyard. Better days, indeed.
MOMENT OF SILENCE
Detroit’s underground hip-hop community was stunned last weekend by news that one of its own, MC Bugz of local hip-hop crews 31 and the Dirty Dozen, was in fact the young man killed during what started out as a water pistol fight on Belle Isle last Friday. Rapper Eminem observed a moment of silence for the slain Bugz during his sold-out show at the State Theatre Sunday night, where he was joined by surprise guest and mentor Dr. Dre for a song. Bugs’ death cast a pall over Eminem’s performance; the rapper left he stage after uttering the ominous "Rest in peace, Detroit" after his encore. No word yet on the future of rap group 31, late of the 7 Mile Hip Hop Shop scene and lately favored by Detroit turntablists 12-Tech Mob.
LIVE AND DIRECT
People tired of electronic music being all DJ appearances and "live" shows that turn out to be little more than watching artists tweak knobs of prerecorded sequences should note two upcoming live tours by Detroit electronic artists. First off, Direct Beat/430 West records’ the Burden Brothers have announced an upcoming live US tour headlined by tech-house pioneers Octave One (of which the Burdens are also members) and supported by Detroit’s Aux 88/X-ile electro groups, hot on the release of new 12" singles that — no surprise — reflect the sped-up electro sound of the bands’ adoption by pitch-control-happy ghetto-tech DJs . Look for a Detroit date later this summer at Motor. More info: www.submerge.com.
Ann Arbor’s Ectomorph will also be touring, with the live addition of booty scratchmesiter DJ Godfather, whose effects-warped tricks, add much too Ectomorph’s tinkering, skeletal electro live, as well as visuals by video artist John Manoogioan III. Ectomorph will be touring to support its latest release, the Destroy Your Powercenters EP, which features Spacelings and Bassheads’ John Ryan and a first-of-its-kind "double groove" record pattern. "It’s two mixes and two grooves," says Ecto-mainman Brendan Gillen. "You don't know what you’re gonna get. It should mess with DJs’ heads a little bit." More info: www.star67.com
NOT SO MOODYMANN
Usually reclusive Detroit house enigma Kenny Dixon Jr., aka Moodymann, will release his third full-length LP next week, and in a surprise move is agreeing to do interviews. After high-profile releases of his jazzy, beat-down house sound, 1997’s silentintroduction on Carl Craig’s Planet E label and 1998’s Black Mahogany on Peacefrog, Dixon’s return to the full-length arena marks the usually silent/borderline militant house maestro’s switch to a press-friendlier stance. Dixon in the past had refused to do interviews or photographs, but evidently now, with an impending LP ready to drop on his own KDJ label, he has wisely decided to step up to the mic, and will mount a first-ever US tour later this summer. No word on whether he’s toned down his trademark pterodactyl-wingspan Afro, however.
Despite a recent trend of ravers at the Mack and Bellvue space — where last April’s Eminem rave was held — having their cars stolen and broken into, the party scene soldiers on. Just two weekends ago, however, a raver was stabbed in an attack in what appears to have been a robbery attempt. Says one insider, "Right now the party scene is horrible. All the promoters are competing with one another. It’s just really cutthroat right now." Apparently.