Memories were created this past Memorial Day weekend in the great urban Michigan city called Detroit. For three days all that could be heard from Hart Plaza, along the Detroit river was the constant pumping of bass. I’m sure Canada (right across the river) got its fill as well!
Saturday, May 23rd, my trusty sidekick, Kat Gaffka, and I drive down Jefferson Avenue only to see that the line to get into DEMF is stretched a mile down the Detroit River. Thanks to WIUX we were able to get into the Media/VIP entrance. The Media/VIP area was very posh. We walk into DEMF to see a multitude of colors everywhere. The outfits were on point (I felt slightly out of place with my Yeezus T). We find our way over to the Beatport stage to check out Polish duo Catz N Dogz followed by Boston duo Soul Clap. Both groups impacted my soul with the freshest house music the world has ever seen. Once Soul Clap finished their DJ set we quickly went over to the Red Bull Music Academy Stage to make sure we could get a solid spot for the legendary Wu-Tang Clan member Method Man. Octave One is playing at the stage before Method Man and they’ve got every one jumping around to their sweet beats. Finally, the time for Method Man has come. The Wu-Tang Clan “W’s” fly in the air the bass to the song “Ice Cream” blasts through the crowd. Method Man makes the audience part of the performance by getting everyone to sway their arms back in forth to “C.R.E.A.M.” and having everyone sing “Clan in Da Front.” His set ends with some violent moshing to “Bring Da Ruckus”, which I may or may have not participated in. Method Man finishes and leaves his fans very satisfied, thus ends my first day at DEMF. We head home to get prepared for an early start on Sunday.
Sunday, May 24th, the sidewalks along Jefferson Avenue were filled with flyers advertising after parties for DEMF that most likely ended at 7 a.m. that morning. Detroit seems like a ghost town at noon, with only a handful of people lined up to see the Ghostly International showcase presented by the Thump/Made in Detroit stage, which is actually our first destination for the day. Brooklyn Ambient artist and Ghostly International A&R, Heathered Pearls, kicks off the second day of DEMF. I had the pleasure to interview Heathered Pearls, aka Jakub Alexander, after his set. We had a lovely chat about Detroit and some of his upcoming projects. You can check out the interview with Jakub at the bottom of this article, along with a few links to his music/projects. He’s a pretty rad dude! I also found out that he grew up a mile away from me, so cool beans.
After the interview with Jakub, the crowd slowly started to grow in Hart Plaza. We went to check out super sweet chick named Gabi who was putting on a DJ set at the main stage. We actually met a 60 year old couple by the main stage who said they were huge fans of electronic music and had been coming to DEMF since its birth in the year 2000, just goes to show that this kind of music caters not only to young people but to everyone! Besides that lovely couple we talked to many other electronic music fans and asked them who they were most excited to see. A majority of the response were Disclouse, Dog Blood, DJ Snoopadelic, and Classixx. One young lady said she just came to the festival to hand out “free hugs.” God bless her soul.
As for the rest of the day, we saw Ghostly International’s Shigeto do a live set at the Thump/Made In Detroit stage, Oliver Dollar at Main Stage, and then concluded the day with People Under the Stairs and Hudson Mohawke at the Red Bull Music Academy Stage. The LA Hip-Hop group, People Under the Stairs was probably my favorite performance of the day. They kept the audience entertained with many shout outs to Detroit and expressed their profound love for the city.
Monday, May 25th, I start to feel the effects of a three-day rave. My body is weakening, but I must go on. The last day of DEMF was solely focused on having a successful interview with LA duo Classixx. While waiting for Classixx DJ set to start at the Main Stage, we watched the Jimmy Edgar and Machinedrum combo, Jets, do a DJ set at the Red Bull Music Academy stage. Once they had finished we quickly ran over to the Main Stage and got a spot right in the front to see Classixx. The LA Duo put on a great DJ set with some awesome Star Wars images floating on around on the screen behind them while they played. They kept the crowd groovin’ for a solid hour and a half. About an hour after their set had ended we met up with them in the Media area and had a nice chat about the festival, Detroit, and their future plans.
Before we concluded our DEMF experience we had to make a trip to the Underground stage. We made our way down to a completely dark cavern to see Matador do a live set. It took approximately 15 minutes to realize that I had gone deaf. I was completely content with it. Once Matador had finished that concluded our adventurous weekend at Hart Plaza. I personally have never been to an electronic music festival and I can honestly say that the event was a very positive experience in adding new artists to arsenal and for getting a view of one of the most popular aspects of the music industry. This year’s Detroit Electronic Music Festival was one of the biggest and best in years, everyone seemed to have very much enjoyed themselves. I know that I did!