Movement Electronic Music Festival. It is truly a difficult task to put into words how amazing this festival is, but I am going to try my best. Movement takes place every year in the birthplace of techno, Detroit, over Memorial Day weekend in late May. Unlike other festivals taking place on these exact same dates (Electric Daisy Carnival New York, Mysteryland USA, Sunset Music Festival), Movement chooses to focus almost entirely on the genres of house and techno, with a smattering of hip-hop, electro, and electro-funk. The lineup for the 2015 edition of Movement was one of the best yet, and featured nothing but the most talented house and techno artists on six different stages, all intelligently and methodically set up across the small space that is Detroit’s Hart Plaza. With over 140 different artists appearing throughout the 3-day event, Movement, in my opinion, can rival any other electronic music festival in the United States, and the small and intimate setting of Hart Plaza very successfully ties everything together.
Movement 2015 began on Saturday, May 23rd. We arrived at approximately 3:45 pm. Our first destination was the Movement Stage, also commonly referred to as the main stage. At 4:00pm, experimental techno producer Recondite was taking the stage for a live set, his specialty. The set started off strong, but it seemed as though the early set time was not conducive to Recondite’s spacey, trippy techno, and the crowd seemed to grow a little restless. About 1/3 of the way into the set, we decided to leave and head over to the Beatport stage, to catch the 2nd half of another live set, this time from the man himself, KiNK. Hailing from Bulgaria, KiNK really brought the good techno vibes to a crowded Beatport stage, producing a very upbeat, happy, and psychedelic live set that helped set the tone for the festival as a whole.
Day one only continued to improve from there. Following KiNK was Dirtybird regulars, and Pets Recording co-founders Catz ‘N Dogz. I had listed this duo as one of the top five acts to see at Movement, and they absolutely did not disappoint, dropping bass-heavy tech-house infused tracks that consistently rocked the dancefloor. We followed this by stopping by a classic techno set on the Thump stage from New Jersey-born Kerri Chandler, and then continued on to the main stage to catch the end of Mano Le Tough, followed by an extended set from Dixon. Mano Le Tough, who I admit I did not know a lot about, blew me away, bringing the groovy, heavy deep house to the packed Movement Stage, effortlessly blending bumping tracks filled with rolling basslines and psychedelic synths. Dixon followed, slated for a 2.5 hour set, the longest on the main stage all weekend. This long set was due to a foot injury sustained by Luciano, who was supposed to follow Dixon but had to back out.
Dixon displayed the techno expertise that he is known for, helping to very successfully welcome in the change from day to night, often not an easy task for a DJ. We could not stay for the whole set, however, as the legendary Method Man was performing on the Red Bull Music Academy stage, followed by the equally-legendary Eats Everything. We caught the end of Method Man, who the crowd definitely seemed to enjoy, and then successfully worked our way to a close spot for Eats. I have seen Eats Everything once before, playing B2B with Justin Martin, but this was my first time seeing him on his own. With the stage jammed, Eats delivered, dropping countless heavy, tech-house tracks that continually shook the immediate area with heavy, wonderful bass. Eats Everything really has his own sound, similar to others on the Dirtybird label, that seems to really appeal to crowds all over the world. It is truly booty shaking music, and the crowd loved it.
After enjoying Eats for a while, we made our way over to the main stage, with a quick stop at the very intense, very awesome Underground Stage. This stage is, literally, underground, and is home to the heaviest and darkest techno artists on the Movement lineup. At the moment of our arrival, the native of Great Britain Regis was bringing the thunderous techno, and the crowded dancefloor was loving it. This stage immediately reminded me of the nightclub Fabric, in London. Dark, heavy, overwhelming, stimulating, all at once. A really unique experience. We did not stay long, however, as right near by the more danceable techno of Richie Hawtin was just getting underway.
We worked our way in through the extremely packed crowd, and managed to earn ourselves a decent viewing point to the right of the stage. Richie took control of the decks, and immediately the biggest stage at Movement Festival erupted, cheering on the almost-Detroit native. Richie started strong, and had the crowd where he wanted them, but sadly, this high level of energy seemed to fade a bit. Although this is understandable during a two hour set, the crowd began to grow a bit restless, with a number of groups making for other stages.
One of those groups, interestingly enough, was mine. We made our way to the equally packed Beatport Stage, where a special performance by the newly-formed group Tuskegee was well underway. Tuskegee is, of course, Seth Troxler B2B The Martinez Brothers. In total, the three men were gifted a 90-minute time slot, and they really brought their A-game. In a youtube video, Seth Troxler discusses how he feels he is “one of the best DJs in the world”. While a bold statement, I honestly agree with it. Seth is absolutely at the top of the game, and everytime I see a set where he is involved, solo or otherwise, he blows me away. This time was no different. Seth and The Martinez Brothers combined to bring a beautifully heavy, psychedelic, melodic and hypnotic form of deep house to the Beatport Stage. A perfect way to end the first day of Movement, these house music veterans expertly gave the entranced Detroit crowd exactly what they wanted: a seamlessly mixed, bass-heavy, jam-filled deep and tech house set that brought the house down.