The only way Detroit could get more wired this weekend is if Mayor Kilpatrick installed a 60,000-watt sound system at every intersection. Perhaps that would make more sense — on paper, anyway — than this year’s fifty-some DEMF-inspired parties, which span the sonic divide from Belle Isle to Oak Park.
Think there’s another electronic music event like this anywhere else in the world? There isn’t. But you don’t have time to think — you’ve got a weekend to plan! Until Tuesday afternoon when you can finally rest, the epicenter of speaker chic is here and now, with or without Hart Plaza. This year, event promoters and label gurus have made the weekend’s DEMF alternatives more tempting — and daunting — than ever. And since you can’t do it all, something’s got to give, yes? With any luck, it won’t be your heart, mind, ears or wallet.
Consider this guide a kind of carouser’s crib sheet.
Directions: Gently rip page from Metro Times. Place in pocket or purse. Consult Ouija board for best answers.
Thursday: Remember, you’ll have to ditch work Friday. You’ll no doubt be woozy. But now you:
A) are feeling loud and saucy: Go to Karaoke II: Electric Boogaloo at the Royal Kubo, 25234 Greenfield Road, Oak Park, 248-968-7550). Derek Plaslaiko will guide you through multimedia karaoke performances and DJ sets by BMG, Brian Gillespie, Todd Osborne, Dow & Nasdaq, Dykehouse, Rob Theakston, Rotator and John Ryan. With a healthy dose of crowd participation of the unpretentious variety, the always-raucous karaoke pre-bash has already built up a heady reputation. $5.
B) need to warm up your legs for the weekend: Go and Get Your Freak On at Porter St. Station (1400 Porter St., Detroit, 313-496-1480). The Mixworks crew sets the pace off nicely with Chicago’s enigmatic turntable technician, Traxx. Twonz and Mike Ransom set the stage for the bizarre ride that will follow.
Friday: A subtle revolution in D-town parklife. This is the calm before the storm? Today you’re on a mission to:
A) take back the park and bring in the funk: Pack a lunch (because you already slept through it) and head to the Belle Isle band shell for the In-Swing Welcome to Detroit Picnic. Shortround, Sean Deason, T-1000, Mad Max, Punisher, Mike Clark, Genesis, Buzz Goree and Stacey Pullen await your smiling face for this Detroit first. Free beats, trees and water from 3-9 p.m. Eat your heart out, Central Park.
B) step into the nu school — whatever that means: Move on up to CPOP (4160 Woodward Ave., Detroit www.elementdetroit.com) for Vert. Element Detroit introduces you to the next sounds of Detroit-flavored broken-beat minimalism and nu-jazz hybrid soul. Titonton Duvante, Moonstarr, Scott Zacharias, John Stoll, Sharif, Kaku, Mike Ransom and John Arnold (doing a special guest live set) explore a brave new world of intelligent groove. $15 before 2 a.m., $20 after.
C) see why sleepy Ann Arbor is the new breeding ground for tomorrow’s paradigm shifters: Proceed to Idol Tryouts at Alvin’s (5756 Cass, Detroit, www.ghostly.com/itry), Ghostly International’s pre-EMF spectacular. Derek Plaslaiko vs. Carlos Souffront, Dabrye (live), Midwest Product, Magda, Matthew Dear, Dykehouse, and Jack Vulpine take you on a tour of the metro area’s newfound eclecticism. Glitchy, melodic soul-hop, a neo-wave hybrid band and boundary-pushing DJ sets in this showcase of top-shelf local talent. $12.
Saturday: The checkered flag is waved. Are you still breathing? Good. Today you’ll forget what you did last night by:
A) trying something new: Explore the next level in Detroit nightlife at Panacea (205 W. Congress, www. paxahau.com). Paxahau kicks off its collaboration with the club that houses the best sound system in Motown. Finally, Panacea is open (after a little too much goddamned ado — its so-called “grand opening” was New Year’s Eve) and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Detroit’s unsung maestro of pounding-yet-stylish techno, Rex Sepulveda, joins forces with Finland’s Vladislav Delay, Luomo and AGF for a stirring blend of world-class clicks, thumps and cutting-edge house-based sample tech. The PEMF (Paxahau Electronic Music Festival) will be happening all weekend long at Panacea and each night is worth the effort. This club don’t want no scrubs; although they’re booking underground talent, don’t expect the raver look to do much for you at the door. Saturday is $15. 21+.
B) paying respect to techno’s architects: Head over to Agents of Change 2.0 at CPOP (4160 Woodward Ave., Detroit). Without Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins, there would be no need for a DEMF — lest you forget it. What more can be said about these legends? They gave the 4/4 dance formula an urgency unknown before their metallic beatscape paved the way for today’s countless subgenre offshoots. Price to be announced.
C) letting the music take control: Finding Porter St. Station (1400 Porter St., Detroit, 313-496-1480) in Corktown will be the only hard part about having a good time at Res*i*dent. How many DJs do you really need anyway? Stacey Pullen and Alton Miller have you covered as Pullen pulls a rare all-night-long DJ set of house and techno on the Holy Ghost tip. Price to be announced.
Sunday: DEMF celebrations hit high gear. By now you’ve gotten used to being a zombie and, because you’re a budding masochist, you plan on compounding this feeling by:
A) exploring the root of anticipation: Get in line at 1703 Cass (aka The Labyrinth) for Planet E records’ All Access: Session 2. If you missed the party last year, now’s your chance to make up for lost time. Carl Craig, Herbert live as Radio Boy (with a DJ set by Herbert as well), Mark (Ernestus of Basic Channel fame), Shake, Mike “Agent X” Clark, Ibex, Todd Sines with Natasha La Belle (live), and Rob Theakston understand that your mind and feet are equally important. This one will be worth the wait to get in. Hit www.planet-e.net. $20.
B) testing the limits of matter and cognition: Next door to the Planet E party for the second year in a row, M_nus presents Control at City Club (400 Bagley, Detroit, 519-259-4322, www.m-nus.com). The Works (1846 Michigan Ave., Detroit, 313-961-1742) for Kevin Saunderson’s DEMF installment of Global. Global:Encore, featuring Saunderson, Ron Trent, Gene Farris, D Wynn, Herdest Cummings and Randolf Paul (live), will make you move despite the fact that your serotonin levels are in the red zone. Vodka and wheat grass anybody? $12 before midnight.
B) nod your head at 137 bpm: Cab it to 2030 W. Grand Blvd. for Tronic Treatment. Adam Beyer and Marco Carola in a four-turntable tag-team, Christian Smith, John Selway, Lynxx and more give you a final hit of melodic, percussive techno. $20 presale.
Remember: if your kidneys feel like raisins and breathing takes a conscious effort at the end of all of this, it only means that you had fun. Shaving years off your life never sounded this good.Robert Gorell writes the body electric for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected]