Point Blank Productions brought Detroit techno innovator Derrick May to the Mockingbird Saturday (July 7) for a rare, intimate gig.
He started his set with a few old disco tracks, a move that may have confused people expecting a hard, minimal techno sound. Contemporary techno has little to do with what May does. His tactic is to take the listener on a breakneck trip through the past 20 years of dance music, chopping up classic house and burbling techno with his signature rhythmic fader cutting. At the end of the night, he started playing long, deep techno tracks and walking through the dwindling crowd shaking hands and talking to the remaining dancers.
Point Blank did a fine job decorating the space with minimalist projections, and brought in a huge sound system. But while it was nice to be treated to the May experience outside of a huge club, the party was advertised too exclusively to get a large crowd. Point Blank should rethink its promotion strategy.
Before Movement became huge, A Man Called Warwick and DJ Nav threw parties under the name Tempo. Themes And Variations, Warwick's Thursday residency at Gypsy Co-op, is more along the lines of classic Movement. Instead of Latin and Afro house, you get obscure Brazilian records and actual Afrobeat. Don't expect any beat-matching or fancy mixing -- Warwick's style is all about the collection and selection.
The look of Gypsy Co-op is well suited to his vibe, but the sound system could use some upgrading. Warwick and his guest, General Electric, had to keep fiddling with the bass bin most of the night to keep it working, and the tone overall was a bit brittle.
RNB productions and Junior Palmer teamed up Saturday to bring Julie McKnight, the voice behind the KOT hit Finally, to Sunnyside Pavilion. A passionate and engaging performer, she deserves attention if she should ever return with a full set. J Sinister, co-producer of the anthem, came up from New York to DJ after her performance. Too bad he's a better producer than DJ -- his mixing wasn't very impressive and his song selection was inconsistent.
Opening the party were locals God Made Me Funky, a funk and disco band that's been getting a lot of street-level hype lately. It's hard to take a cover band seriously, but they have the chops to pull it off. Given the amount of rearranging going on, though, you'd think they could manage a few original tunes.
For the past few summers, various local promoters have been throwing unofficial parties at Cherry Beach. This year they've figured out that if the party starts in the morning and lasts all day, there isn't any problem with noise complaints. They're generally promoted by word of mouth, so keep your ear to the ground to find out about the good events; some are better than others since they're put together by different people every time. Last Sunday's (July 8) featured the unlikely combination of house, hiphop, soul and trance DJs. Caught David James and Charles G from Insomnia spinning feel-good soulful jazzy house and garage at sunset to a small but appreciative crowd. pulse