Derrick May and Konrad Black at Motor Detroit – Hamtramck, Michigan, 11-26-2011
Here we go again….again. Call it the club that wouldn’t die. Forces that be have claimed many times over that this will be our last peek inside the legend known as “Motor Detroit” …. but they continually fail to keep their word. Lucky us.
Motor burst onto Detroit’s saturated electronic dance music scene late in the Summer of 1996, at a time when illegal warehouse parties were all the rage. With its consistent and unprecedented weekly line-up of world-class Techno and House DJs, Motor soon established itself as the city’s premier legal electronic dance music venue and a respected global force in clubbing. (Little known factoid: Motor’s occupation of the structure at 3515 Caniff in Hamtramck was immediately preceded by another very hip, Techno-centric and way ahead of its time nightclub called “Smooth”. Check out vintage, ultra-rare flyers from both clubs in our photo album at the bottom of the page.) Motor’s meteoric rise was undoubtedly aided by the increasing frequency and fervor of police action against raves in the late 90s. While many misled purists predictably resisted the inevitable transition to legal venues, by 1999 the writing was on the wall, and at the turn of the century illegal raves were very rapidly becoming a thing of Detroit’s past. This vacuum within Detroit’s soundscape would soon be filled with a new wave of Metro Detroit clubs like The Works, Solar, Panacea, Necto and, of course, Motor….but none of them would garner the worldwide respect and accolades that Motor’s relentlessly superlative line-up generated. Now, nearly a decade after its so-called final event, Motor’s reputation precedes itself, inspiring reverent tones amongst the legions of Detroit’s nostalgic techno loyalists, its legend eclipsed only by that of the fabled Music Institute.
How fitting then, that this most recent re-incarnation of Motor Lounge would feature as headliner the Music Institute’s most famous alumnus, Detroit’s Techno Grandmaster Derrick May? We’re pleased to report that May’s unequalled showmanship remains absolutely intact. Check out the hard evidence in our video. “Motor Revisited” also showcased quality performances by local talents John Johr, DJ Psycho, event organizer Gabe Real, former Motor resident Mike Clark, and the triumphant resurfacing of old school Detroit Housemeister, D-Wynn. Vancouver minimalist Konrad Black’s understated but dramatic track selection and well punctuated midnight mixing stood out as yet another highlight of the evening, blowing hair back throughout the main room. We’d be slightly remiss if we didn’t also mention here our whole-hearted endorsement of the stunning wax job espied upon Gabe Real’s uber-bountiful moustache. Give that thing a name and run it for Congress.
Event organizers with Detek Music tell us that plans for a grocery store inside 3515 Caniff are still in the works, and that a more firmly established sense of finality for Motor is all but inevitable. Nevertheless, here’s to hoping “Motor Re-Envisioned” might be just around the corner. ~I♥DM