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Live from Movement/DEMF: Day Two

Posted by SP on May 31, 2010

Looking at the schedule for day two gave the impression of a start-to-finish hike between stages in a mad attempt to hear everything.  It didn’t quite turn out that way, but there were some really great moments.

Once again, one of those moments was the first set of the day at the main stage. This time that set was by New Zealander, Recloose. Recloose did an upbeat set of dance music that set a great tone for the rest of the day.  The impressive thing about it though, was that in addition to the usual disco, funk, and techno records that most DJs will play in that kind of set, Recloose played dance music from around the world, and from multiple cultures–African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern–all of that and more.  It was a very impressive, absolutely seamless mix that showed both how universal dance music is, and how contemporary dance music fits into that family.  It was great fun too, kind of like this:

Recloose was succeeded by DJ Pierre, who had a fantastic record selection, but couldn’t get anything going with the crowd, owing to a general lack of structure (in this case structure would mean the pattern of musical builds and releases that a DJ creates using effects, record changes, volume and so on– y’know, what DJs actually *do* with all that hardware up there) uses to so we decided to see what else was going on.

Turns out there wasn’t all that much going on.  A lot of the midday acts seemed to suffer from the same lack of structure that DJ Pierre’s set did, but I don’t blame him or them entirely for this.  Partly I think the squishy nature of a lot of the sets was due to the fact that they weren’t getting much feedback from the crowd.  It was unbelievably hot, and Chene Park is all concrete, making it even hotter.  Making matters worse, the festival organizers prohibit the bringing in of anything to eat or drink, including water, the general idea being to gouge festival goers who have already paid a lot of money just to get inside the gate.  When it’s hot like it was on Sunday that seems almost criminal.  Heat exhaustion is a real problem, and having to spend 3$ for a bottle of water (god forbid you want a beer) makes hydration over the course of 8-10 hours an expensive proposition. Of course you can always leave, and go to the little cooler in the trunk of your car and drink free water (like we did), but that adds to the substantial fatigue of the day.  Even if you did have the money and didn’t mind parting with it, finding shade was a principal concern of the day.

The point of all this is that the crowds really didn’t start giving the DJs much feedback on the dance floor until the sun started go down, and I think that hurt the momentum of the midday sets a little bit.

One act it didn’t hurt was the Martinez Brothers, who absolutely rocked the Beatport stage.  (This stage is also in one of the two best shaded areas in the park, so there was a huge crowd of people here–more people + less heat = more dancing = better performance?) Anyway, they were great. Here’s a sample:

The three acts we’d planned on hitting that day were Anthony “Shake” Shakir, Larry Heard, and Inner City.  Of these, we really only got to enjoy Larry Heard.  Of course “Shake”‘s a genius, and one of Detroit’s best known electronic music figures, but he was playing at that underground stage I mentioned in the Day One post and his sound was too loud.  Add heat, billowing clouds of cigarette (and funny cigarette) smoke, fatigue and a slightly crazy mood building on the pit of the dance floor and you can see why we didn’t hang out too much there.  So it was back to the main stage for Larry Heard.

He was awesome–even better than these links would suggest, and the crowd was with him but it had been a very long day. Being exhausted from the heat we did not make it to Inner City, but called it a day instead.  Probably we’ll take it a little slower for Day Three, and plan a little better for the energy-sapping effects of the heat.


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