It still seems jarringly weird to hear underground dance music in a glitzy mainstream venue like This Is London , but as long as the club keeps bringing in the talent, it seems the heads will brave the madness of the club district. Headlining Soho Fridays last week was minimal techno icon Richie Hawtin , in town with a few of his Minus labelmates: Magda , Troy Pierce and Marc Houle .
Ordinarily, a lineup like this would fill that club way beyond capacity, but in this case it was merely moderately busy. One possible reason is that many of the city's techno fans were at the annual Detroit Electronic Music Festival .
What's also likely is that the venue and the area deterred the tech heads still left in the city. Underground dance music in a nabe and venue known for top 40 seems like trying to mix oil and water.
To be fair to the random clubbers in attendance, they looked like they were having as much fun as (if not more than) the techno heads. Their clothes might be worth more and they might not be able to tell you what kind of music Hawtin and friends were playing, but if there was a missing vibe you couldn't blame it on the "normals."
Musically, there was nothing in particular to complain about, but Hawtin has definitely played more challenging sets. This time around, the vibe was more overtly funky, almost housey -- more fun and accessible than he is normally. But some of us still like to feel like someone did bad things to our brains at the end of one of his sets.
Always a bridesmaid, never a McBride
Jumped in a cab after Saturday's gig to try to catch some of Woody McBride 's set as part of Fukhouse at Footwork . Had he been DJing, he would still have been on, but since he was playing live, his set was much shorter, and Lee Osborne was already on the decks. Word around the club was that it was a pretty good set, but Osborne's hard-edged tech house was good enough to make you forget what you missed. Over the past few years, Osborne has been building up more and more of a reputation as a talented local DJ. He may not have that much of a draw yet, but this wouldn't be the first time his closing set's kept the crowd on the dance floor long after the headliner has finished.
As on the previous evening, a good chunk of the usual techno suspects were MIA. Normally, they'd feel right at home at a Fukhouse party at Footwork, so most of them probably were in Detroit. Not to say it was that empty, just not as crazy as some of these parties have been in the past.
Shacking up somewhere new
A few weeks back, popular Thursday-night indie dance party Shack Up moved down the street from the Queenshead Pub to 751 (which is run by the same people, for those keeping track). The first week was really slow, compared to the crowds they often saw at the Queenshead, mainly because there'd been very little promotion telling anyone they'd moved. A few weeks later, though, the move to a larger room is working out well and making lives easier for those who hate standing in line.