Movement 2015: Eleven Competent (or Better) Performances + One Huge Joke
There’s a dearth of actual journalism where Movement 2015 is concerned, don’tcha think? Punch the phrase “Movement 2015 review” into your Google search engine and see what appears: a handful of panderings that mostly gloss over or ignore the multiple failures that plagued this year’s incarnation. Conciliatory platitudes that all but forgive the event’s producers are common among those who cared to acknowledge some of the fest’s most obvious shortcomings. “808s, 303s, and 909s…. settled the frustrations”, says Derek Staples of consequenceofsound.net. “….though some damage had clearly been done….. if there’s anything more medicinal to sour times than music, I’ll be damned”, writes Rachel DAmore of thump.vice.com. Respected, veteran dance music-oriented web inhabitant Resident Advisor also chimed in with what we considered watered-down to non-existent analyses of this year’s let-downs. Billboard and SPIN, two of the most recognizable names in popular music “journalism”, offer very little actual criticism in their respective criticisms of the event, joining their lessers, mixmag.net, theguardian.com and eropium.com, in a chorus of what can fairly be interpreted as marketing. Well, we can hardly hold a grudge against the many media outlets we’ve called out herein. We love the hell outta some “Movement”, too….. and our entire website is arguably a mere public relations campaign for the city of Detroit and its environs. We strive to stay positive and apolitical in nearly all of our reportings…. but sometimes, like when our online peers appear to be failing the public, things need to be said…..
2015, in our opinion, will be forever remembered by seasoned festival attendees as the first year Paxahau Event Productions and Management, Inc. failed to deliver a hard 10, and we here at I♥DM are disappointed. While overall production quality remained spectacular, as it always has under the deft guidance of live sound engineer Mike Fotias and his crew, we believe there were four under-reported and inexcusable failures that took place at Movement 2015, leaving figurative poop stains upon the toilet bowl of our memory, and we present them here for your consideration:
1. “F**k Yo Will Call Line” – Arguably the most common criticisms expressed by both the general public and online media outlets were the wait times endured by advance ticket purchasers on the festival’s first day. To be fair, we believe the complaints of advance general admission ticket purchasers to be far less justified than those of their advance VIP ticket-purchasing counterparts. The two-hour wait we endured forces us to ask: what is the number one reason people buy the over-priced VIP tickets to a huge music festival, anyway? Answer: To avoid the general admission lines! Duh!! If Paxahau has made any attempts to make right this miserable opening day fiasco, we haven’t heard about ’em.
2. “Handicappers Pee Too” – Don’t even get us started on this abortion. In the 21st Century you do NOT offer private bathrooms to fully- or mostly-abled “VIPs” only, while simultaneously asking wheelchair-bound “VIPs” to use general admission handicapper port-a-johns filled to the very rim with urine and feces, and take our word for it, they were. We checked ‘em. Every one we could find. The bar within the VIP area, with stairs at all approaches, was also inaccessible, and furthermore, entering and exiting the VIP area, we can tell you from personal experience, was a damn near impossibility for those in wheelchairs. From our perspective, handicapper accessibility in general was clearly a NON-ISSUE for festival organizers and basically amounted to a huge ‘we don’t really care about the disabled’. As 16-year veterans of the “Detroit Electronic Music Festival” aka “Fuse-In” aka “Movement”, festing with a wheelchair for the very first time, we can’t help but wonder if this sort of inaccessibility has been Paxahau’s stock in trade since they first took over the event’s production back in 2006? Without a doubt this ignorance of the Americans With Disabilities Act is the most egregious offense we witnessed all weekend. At this late date in American history there is truly no excuse. We here at I♥DM highly recommend festival organizers closely examine a settlement agreement between the United States Department of Justice and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, signed way back in 2001, and plan accordingly next year, before crap like this bites y’all in the ass…. and painfully…. because it will.
3. “Not So Important, After All” – So-called VIPs dealt with long lines at their private bathrooms (for the fully-to-mostly-abled only), and unlike previous years, neither drink discounts or complimentary drink tickets were included in the exhorbitant price of $260. Many visitors to the VIP merchandise redemption booth walked away with just a cheap pair of sunglasses and a t-shirt that we suspect won’t fit after the first wash…. because they were out of anything sized “large” or bigger on each of the three days we stopped by. Combine it all with the two-hour, first-day wait that many VIP ticket-holders endured and it all adds up to, well, paying $260 for nearly nothing but a slightly less trafficked entrance that immediately led into, guess what? A fully handicapper inaccessible flight of approximately 10 to 15 stairs.
4. “DJ Snoop Garbage” – HO-LEE CRAP, where do we begin? This was a failure on the level of the WAR IN IRAQ and not a single online media outlet that we have found gives Snoop’s pathetic excuse for a “DJ” performance the evisceration it so richly deserves. A few criticize it, some more harshly than others, but none butcher it. Well they oughtta. If we, Southeast Michigan’s techno-loving public, wanted Rick Dees on the Hart Plaza Main Stage, closing out the final hour of OUR greatest dance music festival in America, we would’ve demanded Rick Dees (or more likely Casey Kasem if he was still with us). We can’t help but wonder how the contract negotiations for this vomitously conceived appearance went down. First of all, how on Earth do you book Snoop Doggy Dogg at a music festival and give him the option to NOT rap?!? Are you kidding?!? Did those responsible for this disaster of a booking know what to expect, and did they decide to just go along with it, sacrificing Movement’s credibility at the altar of name-recognition in the process? (Insert Paris Hilton joke here). More to the point, did someone in Snoop’s camp claim Snoop knows how to mix, and if so were Snoop’s people merely taken at face value, given his status as an icon of hip-hop, the cultural phenomenon that gave birth to DJ mixing? Does Snoop even realize the lack of respect his perceived money-grab of a clown show exhibited for our revered ART of the mix? This s**t is a RELIGION in Detroit, Snoop. A RELIGION. With every ounce of self-righteousness we can muster: In the year of our techno 2015, you have no business calling yourself a “DJ”, Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. None. We’d love to tell you the local press have joined us in our all-out denouncement of “DJ Snoopadelic”, but we were sadly not at all shocked to read freep.com’s complete white-wash of his glaring disc jockey-related disabilities, and we were even less impressed with detroitnews.com, who clumsily declared, “He’s Snoop Dogg, and that means something”. Yeah, it means you truly suck at being a “DJ” and you should immediately stop accepting money for supposedly doing it.
5. (Bonus Criticism) “Skrillex & Jealousy” – This might be our pettiest criticism of “Movement: 2015” and, again, the lack of substantive journalism regarding it. File this plaint under “possibly not worth mentioning”…. but what the hell, we feel we’re on a roll. Nearly every online reviewer out there (except for quintessaire.com) dishes out massive respect to Skrillex + Boys Noize, collectively known as “Dog Blood”, for their Sunday evening, main stage-closing performance, and rightfully so. That was some pretty hot s**t. We think we even saw some steam rising from it…. but not a single one of ‘em bring up what we considered, after Snoop’s entire set of course, to be the second most embarrassing on-stage gaffe we witnessed all weekend: when Sonny John Moore (@ 13:03 in our video below) stood atop his mixing rig’s table, mic in hand, and enthusiastically yelled out to the crowd, “I want you guys to scream so loud that the whole f**kin’ world can hear they’re jealous that I’m here tonight!” Huh?!? Excuse me?!? Did he really just receive a boisterous refrain of exactly what he requested instead of the confusion and head-scratching his meat-headed entreaty warranted? Yes, of course he did. Listen here, bespectacled mini-Darlene from Roseanne circa 1990, rehearse your on-stage commentary, and next time spare us a memory that overshadows what was otherwise a pretty damn good performance.
So there you go. Some genuine criticism and journalism regarding Movement 2015. You’re welcome…. but don’t get it twisted. We still love Paxahau, we still love Movement, and we’ll most likely love ‘em both until the bitter end. We still believe Movement stands among the very best of the MANY annual Techno, House and modern dance music festivals in America. We loved a TON of the music we heard this year…. and finally, we expect Movement’s well-deserved legend to be again compounded in the years to come…. but strictly for the love, Paxahau, get it right in 2016. ~I♥DM
And now without further whining, enjoy our videos of eleven competent (or better) performances at “Movement: 2015”, plus one colossal joke:
1. Ryan Elliott, “Summer Sessions: An Official Movement Pre-Party”, Exodus Rooftop, Greektown, Friday, May 22nd, 12am – 2am
2. Carl Craig featuring ‘Mad’ Mike Banks, Made In Detroit/Thump Stage, Saturday, May 23rd, 10pm – 11:30pm
3. Richie Hawtin, Movement Main Stage, Saturday, May 23rd, 10pm – Midnight
4. Matt Dear, Made In Detroit/Thump Stage, Sunday, May 24th, 10pm – 11:30pm
5. “Dog Blood” (“Skrillex” aka Sonny John Moore + “Boys Noize” aka Alexander Ridha), Movement Main Stage, Sunday, May 24rd, 10:30pm – Midnight
6. Seth Troxler, “OK Cool: An Official Movement After-Party”, TV Lounge, Grand River & 4th Street, Monday, May 25th, 2am – 4am
7. Lee Foss, Made In Detroit/Thump Stage, Monday, May 25th, 8pm – 9pm
8. Nicole Moudaber, Beatport Stage, Monday, May 25th, 9pm – 10:30pm
9. “! ! !”, Red Bull Music Academy Stage, Monday, May 25th, 9:45pm -10:40pm
10. “GRiZ” aka Grant Kwiecinski, Movement Main Stage, Monday, May 25th, 10pm – 11pm
11. “Squarepusher” aka Tom Jenkinson, Red Bull Music Academy Stage, Monday, May 25th, 10:55pm – Midnight