Detroit is at a crossroads: The generation gap in this still-young scene is getting wider and wider. The folks who first threw parties we called raves in the early 90s the parties that alienated the scene that came before them (Music Institute, UN, etc.) are now even further from their progeny, the younger, Rave-a-palooza crowd. Modern raves are more like a circus and follow a fairly simple formula: Flyers done in Bryce (type font) the size of a placemat (100 percent bustproof, all acts guaranteed, P.L.U.R.), a major hip-hop act, drum n bass jocks, progressive house jocks, some local talent and a lot of $5 balloons. They draw a fairly wide crowd, mostly with a white b-boy aesthetic, but people are there more because they know its a crazy outlaw scene than for the music.
Yet another side of this generational rift is the 20-something post-rave crowd. Fitting neither here nor there, these are folks with a bit of history with the music, but who also appreciate a good, smaller party. Fortunately, their thirst for the in-between is slaked by such regular nights as Tuesdays Family night at Motor (3515 Caniff, Hamtramck), occasional events at IO coffeehouse (1529 Broadway) downtown Detroit and at Windsors 13 Below (139 Ouellette) on Thursdays.
Never the twain shall meet?
KILL THE MESSENGER
Theres a fabulous book on the subject of the changing faces of this above-mentioned youth culture called Generation Ecstasy by Simon Reynolds. The book covers the history of electronic dance music and its parties from the styles of the parties to the chemical habits of the patrons of these events.
One of the main tenets of the book is that you havent truly experienced electronic music unless youve gone to a party and partaken in what the partiers do: namely, Ecstasy, which in a mass of people can be a huge bonding experience. Reynolds further asserts that once Ecstasy is introduced to a scene, it will never be the same. The subjectivity of Reynolds book, coupled with a decidedly English slant (he is English), leaves his version of the musics history up for debate (especially the Detroit parts). But while Reynolds has written for Melody Maker, Wire, Spin, the Village Voice and the New York Times, and has coined about half the terms we use to talk about electronic music (in other words, the kind of resume that makes you fairly PBS accessible), he is the real deal, really lives his life dedicated to the music and knows it inside out. Hell be coming to town to talk about his perspective and sign some books on Friday, Aug. 13, at Shaman Drum Bookshop (313 S. State Street, Ann Arbor) at 8 p.m. Call 734-662-7407.
Saturday, Aug. 14, finds "Welcome to My House," presented by One World Productions, rolling into the scene with flyer-worthy promises of being "the biggest rave ever in Detroit ever with the biggest DJs ever." More than 23 DJs are on board, to be exact, including some real gems such as Roy Davis Jr. (master of psychedelic house), Eric Davenport (about the only West Coast DJ you can stand), Titonon (boy genius from Ohio) and (Garfields nemesis and d n b with hip-hop tricks DJ) Odi. Call 248-988-0148 for the info.
Also in big party news, after the police shutdown of "Picasso," BTM Productions is throwing a make-up event on Saturday, Aug. 21, with Detroits reigning hip-hopsters Slum Village, Rahzel (the Roots Human Beat Box) and Jazzy Jeff. All tickets held for "Picasso" will be honored. Call 313-778-2641.
The Velvet Lounge in Pontiac is in good hands for Sundays once again, making it the perfect spot for the post-rave crowd with quality DJs and live acts (with resident greatness spun by house maestro Terrence Parker). In other club news, Better Days on Woodward has expanded into the old Scorpio Porn Theater, increasing its capacity to 2,500 people.
Watch this space to see how thats utilized ...