The legendary Detroit festival, once known as DEMF, now known as Movement is surely North America’s foremost electronic music festival. Set in Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit under the shadow of the iconic General Motors building complex, the festival plays host to the very best of North America’s and the world’s house and techno talent each year.
Fiction Lab’s Joe Foxton visited the festival to cover the sets that stood out amongst the stacked lineup under the steamy Detroit sun.
Every now and then, an artist pops onto the scene with a sound all of their own. Avalon Emerson falls into this esteemed category, and is set to stay there for many years to come.
Playing on the Red Bull stage, which hosted some of the most innovative acts at the festival, Avalon captured the crowd’s attention with her rich and heavy take on house music, providing a welcome antidote to the incessant high hats of the tech house that dominated the other stages on day one. Wearing a “VOTE” shirt, hair in a bun and looking like a cheerleader gone bad, her animated presence behind the decks was an alluring juxtaposition to the machine-gun sub and ravey acid lines that reverberated out over the captivated crowd.
For the penultimate track of her set she pleased her fans with her massive hit One More Fluorescent Rush [Whities Recordings], followed by a stunning unknown vocal edit that had many fan’s Shazams turning up “Not Found”.
Detroit icon and master of house-infused techno, Stacey Pullen must be one of the most consistently excellent DJs on the planet. Pulling in fans from every corner of the underground scene to the Stargate stage, there is ample reason why this man is amongst the underground's most beloved acts.
Following on from a great percussive set by Luciano, Stacey Pullen took it up a notch and got down to business, stat. Emenently danceable, exciting, and flawlessly mixed, he delivered his signature positive techno sound to the delight of the mixed crowd.
Dancing right next to Stacey throughout the set was his adorable young daughter, busting moves with ample hearing protection on her little ears amongst her curly locks. Its a rare DJ that can retain underground credentials, while still inviting everyone to the party.
Some acts just always deliver, and these two have been delivering for decades. In the early hours of Memorial Day at the legendary midtown dance hall known as “Magic Stick”, the insanely talented brothers Lenny and Lawrence Burden bounced and rocked behind their extravagent live setup, working in seamless unison as if their minds were connected by some invisible high bandwidth sync cable.
After slamming out their signature driving techno for a couple of hours, they shifted into a satisfying beatless sub riff, then suddenly dropped into their instantly recognizable hit Blackwater feat Ann Saunderson [430 West Records], sending goose-bumps of recognition up the arms of the crowd of hundreds. Some tracks just never get old.
The French master stepped up to the Red Bull stage after a blistering electro-tech set by Modeselektor that had the kids jumping for joy. He had a tough task ahead of him, competing with Seth Troxler on the main stage, Kink on the Stargate Stage, and Nina Kraviz on the Pyramid stage. But the real music heads knew where to be.
Legs agape, he kicked off with a huge melodic anthem that was literally music to the crowds ears, after a day where not much melody was to be found. Soaring and sweeping through strong melodies, innovative percussive elements, and massive crescendos, Garnier flawlessly worked what looked like no less than 6 CDJs to deliver the most memorable and musical set of the festival.
A welcome tonic to the intense sounds of Movement, Soul Clap hopped on the Technics 1200s on Day Three at the Mixmag mini-stage with their exceptional taste in disco-infused house.
After three days of hearing fatigue from banging techno and house, an enthusiastic mixed crowd willingly jammed out to Soul Clap's positive back-to-basics vibes, dancing so hard that the turntables skipped here and there… but nobody cared. Sunny, timeless house tunes with a sprinkling of weirdness and deep digging by these beloved New Yorkers was just the ticket for day three.
- Justin Martin who surprised us on the main stage with a more nuanced and musical set than what we’re used to hearing from this ever popular party rocker.
- Martinez Brothers B2B Loco Dice who delivered crowdpleasing dancefloor delights to a stunning light and visuals show on the main stage to close out day two.
- Ectomorph who issued forth relentlessly innovative breaky techno in the dark dungeon of the RA stage under Hart Plaza.
- Marcel Dettmann who brought the locomotive Berlin sound to the Pyramid Stage to the delight of the most dedicated of techno heads.
- Maceo Plex who predictably killed it on the Pyramid stage with his dark, trippy, synth-laden take on techno.