Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, March 27

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Another year, another DEMF: Detroit's Electronic Music Festival. It's been four now, all of them memorable, even if I have to document my experiences to prevent forgetting. Despite stupid music politics, rain, and general insanity, I can't wait for next year. To misquote Carl Craig, this is the fourth, and I hope to be there for the twenty-fifth.

~ * ~

The drive from Chicago takes longer than expected, but we arrive in town on Saturday in time to see ESG.

During their kickass performance, I decide to form an all-woman funk band so I can rock out so spectacularly. The next day, I see a motorcycle gang ride by and wonder why I haven't formed a motorcycle gang yet. I am quite susceptible to influence this weekend, especially if it involves being a badass.

~ * ~

Saturday night after the festival, we head over to the Paxahau party to see Speedy J play live, with a solid supporting lineup. Holy shit! It's been years since I raved that hard. Hands in the air and feet off the floor. I dance myself into a sweatball, strangers handing me water. A crying man tells me he loves me, and when someone else accidentally punches me in the face while pumping the air with his fist, I don't mind. After two hours three feet from a massive stack of speakers, I start to go hoarse from yelling many things, including "This is how you rave, motherfucker!"

Afterwards we head over to the LowRes loft party, where the beer is free and the ceilings are high.

We stay there long enough to get hungry, and head over to Greektown for some 5am saganaki, which Alicia keeps referring to as Opa! When we got back to the Pontchartrain, our hotel (the name of which inspires a weekend of "Get on the TRAIN! Choo-choo!" battlecries), an elevator is broken, stuck open on our floor, and the hallway is littered with beer cans and fliers.

~ * ~

Sunday afternoon I digest a massive brunch sitting by the water, enjoying the company of friends and watching people go by.

Near us, a DJ plays ghettotech, a subgenre not frequently heard outside of Detroit. He drops a pitched-up version of Assault's "Ass and Titties," which I refer to in conversation as "such an epic." Martin agrees with me before the absurdity of the statement hits us both, causing me to spew Jack and Coke as I laugh at myself. However, I stand by my semantics.

~ * ~

The rest of the day I run around the festival with pints of Jack, kicking myself for forgetting my flask. I spend much of the time wandering around by myself, but even in a gathering of almost a million bodies, I can't go five minutes without running into someone I know. At several different points I find people that I haven't seen since last year, and decide that dancing with friends is one of the best feelings ever.

~ * ~

During Pole's performance, Chrise shows me the sepia function on my camera, and I get arty for a minute. Isn't that nice?

~ * ~

The rest of Sunday becomes kinda blurry, a marathon of whiskey, trips to the "party store" (there are no "liquor stores" in Michigan), doing shots with friends, figuring out how I'm getting to the Cannonball Run party, who else is there, where the hell am I, what time is it?

Somehow I make it there and back, wherever I need to go but forget to take pictures, passing out as the sky grows light.

~ * ~

The next day, I am unready to face the festival by the time we have to check out of the hotel. Josh and Doris call, tell me to come chill at a loft downtown: sweeeeeet. I arrive to find people have been up all night; the space lit only by candlelight, snowflake-tuned TVs, and a red neon sign. It's raining, so we share some tea and other goodies till the sky clears and I am ready to head out to Hart Plaza. By then it's almost 5.

~ * ~

Whereas on Saturday I'd run from one stage to the next, Monday finds me visibly limping, not in much of a hurry to be anywhere. Instead of worrying that I might miss a performance, I'm happy to hear certain musicians at all. I arrive to the Time + Space performance expecting to catch the end of it, but Aril Brikha has just started, I'm in time to catch his covers of Mills's "The Bells" and L'il Louis's "French Kiss," the latter of which gets me stuck in a memory, sixth grade and jacking to that song at basement parties. What was I saying...?

~ * ~

Several of the friends I run into ask me what I did last night; a shocking number of them tell me they just went to bed. Many of them have gotten engaged, married, and/or pregnant since last year, but everyone still seems surprised that we are getting older.

~ * ~

Time passes imperceptibly for me when dancing; before I know it the festival's almost over and I'm drunk again. The quality of pictures I'm taking has slowly degraded, and by the time Jeff Mills closes the weekend, I'm not even aiming the camera anymore, just kind of waving it in the air and pressing the shutter. Do I feel like one more afterparty? Is it time to go home yet? Will I see you here next year?

For more of Jesica's DEMF photos please visit her photolog.


About the Author(s)

Jesica Davis is still recuperating at, preparing for next year.

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