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Concert Reviews:
Movement festival gets off to strong, sunny start

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Wednesday, May 31, 2017

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DETROIT -- “Detroit, you got it goin’ on...beautiful weather...beautiful people,” Chicago’s Mr. Fingers told the crowd dancing in front of him Saturday, May 27, at the Red Bull Music Academy Stage on Hart Plaza.

Those were apt words, as the 2017 Movement electronic music festival got under way for its 18th year, drawing a packed crowd to downtown Detroit with a strong lineup as well as what was predicted to be the best weather of the Memorial Day Weekend.

There were plenty of big electronic names to start the festival, but there was no question the Belleville Three -- techno pioneers Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson -- loomed large, not only in physical presence, but in influence; The music the trio created in the metro area 30-odd years ago was part of the basis of nearly everything that was played on Saturday, and will be throughout the Movement weekend.

Related: Belleville Three unites to celebrate its legacy at Movement -- and beyond

And the innovators, finally operating as a trio after all these years, did not disappoint with their nearly 90 minutes on the Movement Main Stage. With a mash-up of Detroit-centric visuals swirling around them, Atkins, May and Saunderson put on a master class of techno trend-setting and nimble DJing. Weaving together new material with songs from their individual pasts, the black-clad three worked together like a seasoned jazz ensemble, accenting and improvising on the basic themes and tossing the musical ball to each other for reaction. It was a tight, exciting and diverse celebration that spoke to a vitality that has not at all ebbed during the past three decades.

The Three wasn’t the only highlight on Saturday, of course. Windsor’s Richie Hawtin brought his new “Close” show back home to close the Main Stage on Saturday night, a four-on-the-floor concerto that kept the Movementeers in motion throughout its 90 minutes -- as well as watching artistically altered video shot from above the stage of Hawtin creating on his rig.

Related: Six more must-see Movement acts

Mr. Fingers’ (aka Larry Heard) set was perhaps the most mainstream-accessible of the day, featuring live vocals and House Music favorites. Detroit techno veterans Stacey Pullen and Carl Craig, the energetic Motor City duo Octave One and Austrian-born Cassy -- one of the few female artists on the Movement lineup -- kept the crowd torqued at the Stargate stage, while the small Made In Detroit stage in Movement’s northeast corner -- where Movement Yoga takes place Sunday and Monday, May 28-29 -- was a comparatively calm oasis compared to the big crowds and frenetic energy at the other five stages.

Movement continues through midnight on Monday; Sunday’s highlights include Testpilot (aka Deadmau5) closing the main stage and Saunderson celebrating the 30th anniversary of his KWS Records label all day on the Stargate stage.

• Movement

• Noon-midnight through Sunday, May 29.

• Hart Plaza, downtown Detroit.

• Daily tickets are $80.

• Visit movement.us for lineup, schedules, afterparties and other information.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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