Chris Malinchak is playing the waterfront Beatport Stage early on to a bubbly crowd of overzealous fans. They are going nuts at 2pm on the first day of the festival as his big hit ‘So Good To Me’ gets an airing. Things are getting intense nice and early.
The Beatport stage seems to host some of the more well-known names throughout the day, like Desolat’s Hector and headliner Moby. 16 Bit Lolitas comes on after Malinchak and plays a dreamy, progressive set. Cajmere’s ‘Percolator’ vocal is played on top of Matador’s ‘Korrado’ and it looks as though everyone in the crowd knows both tracks off by heart.
Wandering over to the Underground Stage, there seems to be very little sound bleed which is an impressive feat for a festival of this size and scope. Nina Kraviz is playing her unmistakable brand of brooding techno. The stage itself is situated underneath a massive enclave, and there is a huge queue just to get on the dancefloor. The low-ends are destructive and everyone seems to love it. Steffi is up next and the crowd continues to grow. The longtime Panorama Bar resident is no stranger to cultured festival crowds and she plays a meticulously crafted set that might well be the best of the day.
At the Red Bull Music Academy stage, the VIP tent is jammed with people drinking and dancing. Fan favorite and top Detroit dog Carl Craig is destroying it. The local hero is displaying exactly why he is the groundbreaker and techno idol he has come to be.
The first day ends with a Minus label trifecta. Matador, Paco Osuna, and Richie Hawtin – this is minimal at its finest. The crowd's energy is palpable, with every effect and knob turn generating some sort of positive response. Richie Hawtin’s insane outro is a highlight, as the local hero makes a big splash.
The Electric Forest stage plays host to more electro-oriented acts all weekend, attracting a young(ish) crowd. However, at around 4pm, Dirtybird favorite J Phlip plays some awesome ghetto house and people are eating it up. The spaced out and poppy 4/4 grooves are a welcome breath of fresh air.
Back at the Underground Stage, Gregor Tresher is playing the first live set of the festival. One of the most underrated producers, Gregor plays fine-crafted techno for a crowd that clearly “gets” it. Over in the VIP area behind the main stage, Boiler Room is broadcasting and Stacey Pullen is playing a set to a crazed mass under a small tent. Interestingly, Hawtin never shows up for his set due to a hard night of partying at his JAK ATTAK party.
At the extremely popular Made In Detroit Stage, fan-favorite Magda has the place rocking. She drops Todd Terje’s ‘Inspector Norse’ and for some reason it seems perfectly placed.
The closing of the festival is dedicated to everyone’s favorite Frenchies: Gesaffelstein and Brodinski. Their brand of Bromance’y techno sounds great outdoors at a festival. ‘Control Movement’ was easily the biggest track, although Gesaffelstein teasing Plastikman’s ‘Spastik’ was as wild as one might expect.
The last day of the festival, which lands on Memorial Day, is plagued by rain right from the start but Laura Jones and Matt Tolfrey kick off with some uplifting deep vibes. Attendees everywhere are wearing ponchos and preparing for the worst. The rain steadily picks up over the course of the day, so the sheltered Underground Stage becomes a pretty desirable area.
With veteran acts like Rrose and Drumcell though, it makes perfect sense. The blistering bass vibrations paired with the rough weather create an unmatched festival atmosphere. Dark techno fans are most certainly in their happy place down here, as small puddles begin to accumulate.
Nicolas Jaar’s live set draws Monday’s largest crowds at the Red Bull stage. No one is really taking cover, as his slow-tempo set has everyone grooving. His live vocals manage to sound perfect and Nico demonstrates why he is the golden boy of underground dance music. Up next, the Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs live show is an equally impressive one-man spectacle, with roaring vocals and nimble keyboard work.
As the rain starts to become unbearable, festival mainstay Maetrik plays some tasteful techno immediately after Cajmere lit up the Beatport Stage. Their track ‘Calm Under Pressure’ goes over particularly well. Although Maetrik opened with the same track he played the night before as Maceo Plex (at the Life & Death party), the set takes a decidedly different route.
With the crowd only slightly thinning out, John Digweed closes Movement in as classy a fashion as one would expect from the pioneer. Completely soaked and freezing, not one person seemed to care.