Arts & Culture » Culture





You know it’s summer when the counters of baggier-than-thou retail stores start brimming over with those Japanimation-and-future-fonted full-color fliers for upcoming parties promising the world’s (and Detroit’s) best DJs at an undisclosed (and, most of the time, as yet unsecured) location on some Saturday night in the not-too-distant future. Last summer was all about the rave scene getting a little top-heavy with lost-leg-of-Lollapalooza-sized lineups and massive outdoor soirees so over-the-top (Rabbit in the Moon: the Peter Gabriel-era Genesis of rave? Discuss …) they inspired an even-more-underground series of bare-bones, room-and-a-strobe parties.

This summer, well, things have been a little slower, what with most parties losing money last summer – except, interestingly, ones featuring hip-hop acts. But the coming months show a few biggies looming into view, beginning with "Family Ties 2," the sequel to last summer’s Wamdue Kids-featuring two-room sweatbox. This year’s model from 33 1/3 productions, Vision Underground and Sin-Di-Kat goes down – all three rooms of it – on June 19.

Interestingly, the main room ain’t no candy raver techno pacifier extravaganza, but instead a full-on hip-hop room dedicated to trick DJing (known as "DMC style") and featuring New York radio mix king Funkmaster Flex and San Fran’s Q-Bert of the Invisbl Skratch Picklz doing the wicky-wicky thing. Which is good, because nobody goes to raves to dance anymore anyway, so at least all the kids will have something to watch instead of working the usual let’s-stand-there-and-stare routine while some British guy in headphones turns a knob so that the bass frequencies drop out (which, given that the last half-hour has been the same 4/4 throb, qualifies him as a friggin’ genius when he turns the knob back and everybody goes nuts cuz something, thank God, has happened).

In addition to the turntable ballistics, FT2’s got a whole lotta jungle, including New York’s DJ Dara and Philly’s hippity-hoppity junglist J-Smooth. The real attraction, however, is Chicago’s Cajmere performing live – green afro wig, dancers and all – as Green Velvet, doing a live house thing that dusts the Stardusts of the world and proves he can swing the goodtime baguette with the best of the filter funkin’ frogs. But I digress. Another party to watch and listen for is July 4th weekend’s two- – count ’em – day "Convex" thrown by the Michelles, Banks (no relation to Mike) and Herrman (no relation to Pee Wee), featuring the "Tronik" tour (for hard techno fans, that means John Selway will play) as well as the U.K.’s darkest, jazziest drum ’n’ bass hardsteppers Ed Rush & Optical and – like it matters to ravers – "Grammy Award nominee" Lil’ Louie (one-half of Nuyorican soulsters Masters at Work and one-half the size of most ordinary men).

For more info, see a baggier-than-thou retailer near you, and get fliers and info numbers.


The good news: Electronica-defining Virgin subsidiary Astralwerks is releasing Carl Craig’s Innerzone Orchestra’s full-length debut, called, ironically, since it features live musicians, Programmed. Bad news: It’s not an electronica record per se, but instead, in grand jazz-meets-techno mindmelding, a long strange trip through postbop musical ideas and techno production wizardry – from Latin funk to paranoid hip hop, with guest appearances by everyone from former Sun Ra sideman and current Detroit percussion icon Francisco Mora to Windsor techno franchise Richie "Plastikman" Hawtin. Not the spacey sound track techno Detroit’s been delivering by the long afternoons-full of late, or even the ’70s jazz fuzak of LTJ Bukem-ish jungle, but full-on, bugged-out cosmic slop with nary a hook in all the chops and editing board effects. IO’s Programmed drops domestically late August. Meanwhile, anybody planning a trip to NY June 26 can check out Innerzone Orchestra doing their techno-jazzbo thing live on the Central Park Summer Stage free, appearing with former ’60s revolutionary African pop icon Hugh Masekela and former Russell Street Deli prep cook DJ Recloose. More info:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.