Wednesday, June 17, 2009

DEMF Afterparty Picks: The Verdicts

In my final words on this year's DEMF, I thought it might be nice to review the afterparties that I so unabashedly recommended. Yes, I actually did go to all of the ones I mentioned, and there's pics to prove it! So here we go...

The Bunker - Detroit Edition @ Oslo

With the simple yet superlative lineup of Jan Krueger and Derek Plaslaiko, there ain't much that can go wrong. The one thing I was worried about -- Oslo's terrible ventilation and intense heat -- was well-taken care of with the additions of several fans (and a not too packed venue). Thanks guys! The only downer of the night was missing Derek's set (my fault). I had wrongly assumed the party would go late and that Derek and Jan would be trading on and off all night. Oslo, under some new stricter rules, closed at around 2AM all weekend. Overall though, a great time, and the perfect way to start off the weekend.
Verdict: WIN

VOLATL pres. The Other Nine to Five @ The River's Edge Grille

Whether it was the venue, I can't be sure, but the vibe at this year's VOLATL afterparty was entirely different than last year's. This was undeniably a change for the better. Whereas last year's party had a bit of a sketchy drugged-out sweaty rave vibe, the vibe this year felt much more laid-back and un-oppressive. The open-air deck out back certainly helped this. The sound in all areas was top notch, and the rubberized flooring on the outdoor deck was fantastic for feet weary from day-long dancing and walking. I didn't catch any of the sets on the first floor, so I can't comment to the music there, but there other two areas showcased some fantastic music.

The inside of the second floor was the Hello?Repeat area, with Clink Recordings running things on the outdoor deck. Inside, a tag-team set from label co-heads Jan Krueger ("surprise" guest) and Daze Maxim got things going, and was finished up with the entire crowd rocking out to an excellent live performance from Bruno Pronsato. Outside, the Clink roster kept things dark and thumping all night long. As much as I loved the deck, the great music inside had me going back and forth between the two areas for most of the night. Fostering a great vibe is key in having a memorable party, and this was well-accomplished. The night ended up feeling like a great night out at a bar with friends, that just so happened to be accompanied by killer music.
Verdict: WIN

I'm On A Boat on The Detroit Princess

My initial apprehensions about this party were soon put to rest. The massive line to get in moved along at a surprisingly quick pace, and the boat took off on schedule without a hitch. First of all, the boat was f'ing MASSIVE. The three floors provided more than enough room for huge crowd that attended, and there was plenty of room to dance no matter where you were (except for maybe right up next to the booth on the Luciano/Dice floor). All three floors also sported great sound, although it was a bit marred on two of the floors by a rattling ceiling. Also on the plus side were clean bathrooms that, on the first floor at least, didn't even have lines.

Further allayed were my fears of potentially boring repeat performances. I'm happy to report that the music on all three floors was amazing! All of the sets I saw were better than their counterparts at the festival, and the artists seemed to be having a better time too, with even Carl Craig flashing an elusive smile during his set. Most outstanding in my mind were MK vs. Scotty Deep on the third floor, and the Dixon/Ame/Schwarz night-long jam session on the first. MK/Deep played upbeat house, full of funk and energy. Usually I can't get into any house sets above a certain tempo, but this one really knocked me on my ass and opened my eyes to how good it could get. With about 70% of attendees packing out the second floor for Luciano and Loco Dice, I found myself retreating to the less intense and cooler surroundings of the first floor, where Dixon, Ame, and Henrik Schwarz were playing. The sparse crowd didn't seem to phase them -- the four performers looked like they were having the time of their lives and it came out in their joyful spontaneous set. I couldn't have been happier either, it felt like a private concert. Instead of the solo sets they were slotted to play, they again combined forces, with Ame and Dixon working turntables and fx, and Schwarz accompanying with his own beats. A very memorable night altogether and a definite front-runner for party of the festival.
Verdict: WIN

Need I Say More? part 4 @ The Old Miami

This party is pretty self-explanatory by now: Big green backyard, sunshine, a slew of happy ravers fueled by minimal sleep and maximal "substance" intake, unannounced big-name DJ guests alongside relative unknowns. Toss in some BBQ for good measure, and you've got yourself a kickass party. This year's edition proved no different. There were some problems with the sound earlier on, but aside from that, the day flowed along pretty smoothly, making quite a few people late to Movement. Even with both hosts eventually gone to play the festival, the party went on, stopped only briefly by the awkward-yet-engrossing ROTC kid gun display (the Old Miami is an old VFW hall, after all). Excellent tag-team sets from Matthew Dear/Ryan Elliott and Jamie Jones/Damian Lazarus (who got with the program eventually) were accented by Shaun Reeves playing on an injured ankle, Alex Picone, and my personal show-stealer of the festival weekend, Pezzner. Just as the then-unknown to me Jan Krueger did last year, Pezzner, who I had never heard of before, gave me a pleasant surprise with his fantastic live set. The only down-point worth mentioning: it seems the Old Miami will no longer play host to this party due to an unclear dispute between the party hosts and the venue management. All good things must end! Hope you got your fill this year.
Verdict: WIN

Hot Natured @ Exodus

Though the music inside was solid, the real party worth mentioning was going on outside on the deck. On the final night of a four-day technothon, you start to get... well... a bit sick of techno. I couldn't have been more grateful for the "disco" set courtesy of Jamie Jones, Lee Curtiss, and Lee Foss that night. Grooving to oldskool jams was a great way to wind down the epic weekend, and the perfect relaxing finish I was looking for before packing up and wearily heading home. Thanks for a great party guys! I hope to see repeat editions in the coming years.
Verdict: WIN


So, if for some reason you couldn't figure it out yourself, that's five wins and zero fails. I was pretty surprised with how well everything went this year. With no major disappointments whatsoever in my afterparty expedition, I think I might just give myself a pat on the back for the recommendations. Whatever you ended up going to this year, I hope you had as much fun as I did.

Also of note were reSolute, which I can't offer too much insight on, since I wussed out after about two hours and dipped around 8AM, and an impromptu party thrown by the Bunker crew at Oslo on Monday night. The lineup featured Eric Cloutier, Steve Bug, and Adultnapper, all of whom played some fantastic jams on a shockingly good sound system.

"Thanks for last night Detroit, but I gotta go. Don't call me, I'll call you."

Check out the full gallery of pictures from afterparties here:
DEMF 2009 Afterparties - Photos by Reuben Sweeney

1 comment:

  1. great review! couldn't have said it better myself :)