It's Halloween time in the city formerly known as the Motor Capital of the World. Long-shadow days made for all saints and all souls, for devils and angels, for dolling up and getting down with the year's strangest set of post-industrial parties. There are enough soirees planned to keep you in costume, dancing and looking for action until dawn on the Day of the Dead. Plus, many of these events are conveniently clustered, eliminating the need for a car. That's right on Halloween weekend the Motor City will be full of the walking dead, or even the dreaded People Mover Zombies.
The odyssey begins on Friday with jungle in downtown Detroit and drum 'n' bass on the near west side, then tricks its way back east for a funky soul-jazz party at one spot and rave-style minimal tech-house at another.
Dilemma or downtempo
Junglists Mark Moss and DJ Zu (aka Zuperman) will pound beats and break loose at Dilemma's birthday bash at the Works (1846 Michigan Ave., Detroit). But if you like your din more downtempo, you can catch some slower rhythms at the Buzz Bar (546 E. Larned St., Detroit), where Exchange Bureau, John Arnold, Szymanski and others will perform. Want a scene that's both trippy and sexually ambiguous? Then put on your Mark Foley mask and head to Oslo (1456 Woodward Ave.), where Vince Watson the Scotsman carries many aliases, including DJ Psycho, the Headhunter and the Maniac plays live along with Keith Kemp, the ultra-hot Seth Troxler, Ryan Crosson and Reference, a new "digital" band making its club debut. The event will also celebrate the release of Troxler's new EP Love Berzerker, released on the Beretta Grey label.
From hot to hottness
It gets even hotter on Saturday, when you can hop (or hobble) around in your bunny or cheerleader outfit to five recommended locations.
At the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (5141 Rosa Parks, Detroit), Viacirca presents hardcore Dutch electro by the Hague's Novamen, Detroit duo Ultradyne (whose last 12-inch to drop was the timely "E Coli" on the UK's Warp label), and DJs Overdose, Ron Morelli and Detroiter Jan D, who's turning more real estate deals in Brush Park these days than she is vinyl. But who cares? She never fails to turn heads when she's behind the decks.
About a mile south of CAID, two parties on the same block will likely rage deep into the night. A host of crazed locals including the Cynic, Darkcube, Greg Mudge, Jason Patrick, Vacuum and Keith Kemp will keep Corktown Tavern (1716 Michigan Ave., Detroit) going bonkers until morning. Then slip out the door, take a three-minute walk to the Works, and suddenly you've gone international. Sweden's Adam Beyer, who is really nailing it in the minimal-tech department these days, performs with Detroit's Punisher and the Overfiend, Chicago's Sassmouth and Mindbender, and others. The party is also a 10-year anniversary event for Beyer's Drumcode imprint.
Back in the heart of downtown, find deep house and classic Detroit techno at Foran's (612 Woodward Ave., Detroit), where Derrick Thompson aka Drivetrain who's kept his engines firing since beginning his Soiree record label in 1990 performs with Robert Lowell and Mike Amerine. Up the street at Oslo, Coitus Interruptus presents Sass, the monthly that bills itself as "Dorkwave and Dethlab's queer kid brother." Make that plural, as in DJs and hosts Mike Servito and Nathan Rapport. Sass's Halloween bash is also the official afterparty for the Rapture concert earlier that night at St. Andrew's Hall. (Hey rockers, it's walkable. Go for it.)
Rave on, undead drones
Since Saturday night and Sunday morning are becoming more or less indistinguishable in the perpetually muted light of the electronic dance world, why not keep the party rolling while America watches the NFL and 60 Minutes? Sunday Beats at the Buzz (546 E. Larned, Detroit) is hosting an all-day, costumes-encouraged Halloween rave called Tesh Club Disguised. (Tesh Club is the name of a roaming private party that started in a suburban Detroit basement and is now rotating around the world, with recent stops at New York's Wolf and Lamb and Berlin's Watergate Club.) DJs for the event include Montreal's J. Hunsberger, Paxahau's Rich Korach and the ubiquitous Seth Troxler. The event, which begins at noon, comes courtesy of Auxetic, the local all-female techno crew that's not afraid to get dirty with the dudes.
Finally, on Halloween proper, you'll want to "Take Back the Night (and give it to the dead)," a party at Oslo featuring the stellar duo BMG of Ectomorph and Carlos Souffront on the decks and a horror fashion show by Infinite Dimensions. No doubt the dance floor will be filled with devils, angels, a few pirates, a politician or two, and other assorted monsters, meaning Tuesday might never be the same.The Subterraneans is column dedicated to Detroit dance culture. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org