One of summer”s characterizing features is the outdoor concert. Luckily, Michigan is packed with groovy, woodsy venues to attend. Outdoor concerts are a classic and integral component on the road to a true musical appreciation. The combination of music and nature is good for your soul every band you hear outdoors will lead you one step closer to harmonic nirvana. When I recall summer 2001, I will always hold fond memories of what I consider to be Michigan”s best, most original compilation of musical expertise: The Detroit Electronic Music Festival. The DEMF is an awesome, four day long party with three major stages of totally free techno concerts.
This year, people flew in from all over the world to see techno”s latest developments and styles in the place where electronic music was born: Detroit, Michigan. About 60 featured artists, ranging from Doc Martin to Mix Master Mike, all played their hearts out accompanied by American flags and crazy fans. It was good times and I was lucky to be a spectator and to see live techno and tons of new and unusual artists. The festival lasted all through the Memorial Day Weekend.
And during the final hours of the final night of the concerts, it started to hail.
And that is Michigan for ya. Of course, the weather here went to hell in April, right after winter term finals. Nothing but rain and cold had been showing up on the doppler for about a month. (Those of us who have lived in Michigan previously understand the wreckage that is May.) But when the hail came down, on top of the rain and cold, the kids started to chant, “Ain”t no party like a DE-troit party cause a DE-troit party don”t stop.”
I”ve been to lots of concerts in my day, but I have never felt so connected to the other people at them. The audience was one mass, everyone dancing and talking to everyone else, thousands and thousands of college-aged kids, swaying and drenched and happy, sharing a common appreciation of music. It reminded me of a football game at the Big House, just with fans comprised of a different demographic. And fewer people were wearing blue.
Maybe my taste is too mainstream maybe indie-show listeners always feel this rush, this bond. It was the atypical nature of the show that made it so special Being a member of the audience was like being let in on a great secret. Like when you expect a movie to be wretched but then it turns out to be phenomenal, and you and every other astonished person in the theater leave with a renewed faith in Hollywood. This time, I was one of the kids that had the foresight to attend the sneak preview. This time, I was actually there, instead of listening to Danny Bonaducci rave for 4 days on Q95.5 about the quality of the concert, wishing that I could attend.
In downtown Detroit, I felt completely safe, and even better, a part of the community. Detroit, with all of its beautiful Victorian buildings and rich history, has begun the renovation process. Traces of greatness are everywhere you can still envision how alive it was, more recently than not. Gorgeous brick structures and Vernor”s advertisements, old shops and crowded alleyways still linger, tangible evidence that the city was once thriving, spectacular. It makes me think back to when I was a kid at Tiger Stadium watching the Tigers while they were a force to be reckoned with. I stand with other consumer alumni to applaud the renewed vigor at restoration new stores and events like this are the only savior, the most effective way to place a dead dynasty back into the world of the living. Detroit has already been to the top before. We all know it. Our parents lived it. And if this desperately comeback succeeds, Detroit will have that much more character, because it has tenure as a city.
The last sunny day that I can remember, my friend Josie and I were sitting on a curb next to Michigan Book and Supply, and she was explaining to me the relationship between all Converse One-Star wearers a bond, if you will. And that cool unspoken fraternity is what I thought of at the concert, surrounded by alternapunks, hippies and various other folk. Sometimes I wonder how I have lived in Michigan for 19 years, and then good stuff like the Electronic Music Festival is always reassuring, almost validating. This is why I haven”t been in the sun or a stable climate or someplace with an ocean for the entirety of my life.
So yeah Motown, yeah.
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