It’s 11 p.m. on Monday (May 30), the final night of Detroit’s Movement Festival, and Modeselektor is weaving from breakbeat to electro seemingly without a hitch. On the bowl-shaped mainstage, the German pair have somehow managed to draw every last bit of energy from the wearied crowd.
At the same time, New York house legend Danny Tenaglia (who filled in last minute for Richie Hawtin) can be found entering the final hour of his extended performance alongside the beautiful Detroit River, while Claude VonStroke has united with close friend and fellow Midwest veteran Green Velvet to perform as Get Real. Elsewhere, Nina Kraviz is spinning vinyl from a concrete enclave, and Detroit techno pioneer Kevin Saunderson is capping off his own Origins showcase.
This is Movement Electronic Music Festival at its best: a world-class gathering of electronic music legends in the birthplace of techno.
This past weekend, Movement celebrated 10-years under Paxahau management. The festival did so in style by enlisting one of their most reputable artist lineups to date. One need look no further than the weekend’s main headliner, Kraftwerk, for evidence of this fact. On Saturday night, the pioneering German electronic act packed in the mainstage for the most heavily attended set of the weekend. Fans cluttered the bowl in mass, leaving little room for entry and exit. Further viewers lined the upper rings and balconies, all with cardboard 3D glasses at the ready.
Fortunately, the legendary foursome did not disappoint, weaving through an array of classics like “Pocket Calculator,” “Autobahn,” and “Trans-Europe Express” to a backdrop of playful 3D visuals. The 90-minute set was akin to a live history lesson, showcasing many of the seminal hits that laid the foundation for modern electronic music. What’s more, the importance of the performance was not lost on the savvy Detroit audience — in fact, throughout the entire weekend, festival attendees consistently proved their love and appreciation for their homegrown culture and European counterparts.
Outside of Kraftwerk, further highlights included the likes of Dubfire, who brought his acclaimed Live Hybrid show to close out the second night of the festival, as well as the mighty Ame, with Kristian Beyer representing the German pair with an entrancing sunset performance from the Beatport stage. One cannot omit The Black Madonna from the conversation either, whose Saturday evening set showcased some of the finest mixing of the entire weekend. On the outdoor Red Bull Music Academy stage, the Chicago native moved seamlessly from disco to techno (on vinyl no less).
This kind of seasoned, mastery of craft was on display the entire weekend — a testament to the tried-and-true curation of Paxahau. With a multitude of house and techno juggernauts at each turn, the biggest plight of the experience was having to choose between veteran performers like John Digweed and Joseph Capriati, or Scuba and Maceo Plex — not a bad problem to have for a dance music fan all things considered.