Thursday, May 29, 2008

Movement - Part 2

Saturday was a great day, everything went like clockwork. I was really stressing out about being away from our kids for such a long time day and night and worried about how the baby would do. But things worked out better than I had hoped for. After a nice morning prepping and cleaning up the house, the babysitter arrived at 2pm. The kids were excited and ready for a nice afternoon. James and I headed down to Hart Plaza and arrived at about 3pm. We parked in a free lot on the Detroit river walk. It was about a mile walk to the festival, but free parking all weekend, no problem finding a space, and a bunch of really nice walks back and forth along the river. We stopped by the underground Real Detroit stage first to catch some of Reggie “Hotmix” Harrell’s set. Lot’s of heavy, loud, funky house. Then we went over to the Red Bull Music Academy stage to see the Nick Speed Collection. I had never heard them before and loved it. The music was really new and different to my ears. Pretty eclectic beats, 4 musicians up there, lots of equipment (2 turntables, mixer, laptop, drum machine, not sure of everything). James got up on the stage to take photos, he was working for the festival doing photography. James Rotz photography, woo hoo! They were having set up difficulties, so while one man was working the laptop, two others were trying to repair the connection between the mixer and one of the turntables (I think that is what was happening). And the fourth man was selling cds. While the two were repairing the connection, one of them eventually stripped one of the wires, and then connected it directly to the turntable. It’s interesting to watch musicians repair their instruments/equipment in the middle of a performance. The DJ got going on the tables and mixer and then suddenly some new sound came in pretty strong and in rhythm, but the DJ looked a bit confused. He motioned to another in his crew to get on the laptop and turn down or turn off whatever was coming through from the laptop. Another interesting moment. And while all this is happening, there is excellent music flowing non-stop and seamlessly through the speakers.

We had to leave there kind of quick because I had tentatively scheduled with Minx that I would videotape her set from 4PM -5:30PM in the underground Real Detroit stage. She still had to clear it with the stage manager before I got up there. So when we got downstairs again, she was setting up. I headed down right in front of the DJ table, which was pretty high above my head. I waved to her and asked/motioned about videotaping. She asked the stage manager and he nodded his head and then disappeared. I didn’t know what was going to happen. Minx continued playing. Then, after a few minutes, the stage manager taps me on the back and hands me a “worker” pass to hang around my neck. I slapped that baby on and headed up to the stage. I was so nervous and excited to be up there. It was one of the most fun experiences with electronic music that I can think of. Watching her up close do what she does, it was freaking great. She was clearly having a good time! It was so hard for me to keep still and not dance while holding the camera. Oh, holding that camera! It is pretty lightweight, medium sized consumer grade digital video camera. I got it in 2003, right before all the really tiny digital video cameras became widely available. Anyway, I really need to get a monopod to hold it in place, because my arms were barking! I rested my elbow on a speaker from time to time and probably have some lovely vibrations in my video now. I wondered if I would get to keep my worker pass, not that I would really do anything with it – what the hell would I be doing back stage at anyone else’s set? As I was packing up my camera, the stage manager came over and asked for the pass back. I figured he would be on it. So I'm going to set up my first feedback interview with Minx to watch her set and talk about what she does as a DJ. I'm so excited.

Mike Grant came on next and played some great music. I had never heard him before either. Then we headed over to see Newcleus, but they were having some setup difficulties and James and I were starving. So we got some food and then I headed home to help get the three boys in bed at about 7:30PM. James stuck around to photograph Terrence Parker. So bummed that I missed his set. Gotta love TP!

Didn’t get back until about 9:30, bounced around for a while and tried to find James through crappy cell phone reception and unbelievable noise from the festival on both ends – nowhere to escape. Eventually we met up and headed over to see Moby. James got on stage and took some nice photos. I tried to keep an open mind about Moby. I liked him when I first started going to raves back in high school in 1995, so maybe he will do something nice at DEMF. But no, he was just silly, getting up on stage and acting like a superstar DJ, but not really doing anything superstarry.

Then we left to go up to Northland Roller Rink on 8 mile in Detroit for Kenny Dixon, Jr.’s Soul Skate party. We went last year and had a great time. But this year we got there much later than last, at about 1:30 AM. Missed the hot “soul food” and got some yummy, but cold food. The mac and cheese was gone by then though. So sad. Got a blister right away, and got knocked on my knees pretty early on. The party was great, things just didn’t go as well for me as they had in 2007. Nice music from Kenny Dixon, more r&b and funk than last year, fewer Detroit techno hits. Heard Isley Brothers "For the Love of You" as we were walking in. Wish we had been able to skate to that. Also played Captain Rapp "Bad Times" for one of the groups in the skate competition. Then we headed home to relieve the wonderful babysitter from her 14 hour stint, and got a bit of rest for the next day of festival going.

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