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For car aficionados and techno lovers, Detroit and Turin are two sides of the same transatlantic coin. With both northern-based industrial powerhouses known for their love of 4/4 as much as 4 wheels, it came as little surprise when the Motor City chose its Italian counterpart to serve as the location for the European edition of its famed Movement festival.
Curiously billed as a dual celebration of both the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and Halloween, this year’s gathering promised to be an eclectic affair both on and off the dancefloor. And so it proved as the 15,000 strong predominantly Italian crowd arriving at Lingotto, the conference centre-come-aircraft hangar dressed in an array of costumes varying from the intergalactic to the downright terrifying.
Divided into two cavernous arenas, one would be forgiven for worrying that the mainly forward-pointing speaker stacks might have trouble permeating the sea of bodies directly in front of them but the sound in both spaces held up well, delivering weighty bass lines almost as effectively at the back of the crowd as to that at the front. Now, while the above might what you’d expect for a highly rated international festival too many events in larger spaces sadly place the emphasis on volume and so on this front we’d like to single out Movement as being particularly worthy of praise in this regard. Coupled with top notch visuals courtesy of huge LED screens and custom lighting rigs we think it’s fair to say that the production team will have been proud of their efforts in providing a platform for their artists to shine on.
Which brings us to the music. Perhaps the biggest surprise here was the relative lack of either Detroit or Turin natives billed to play the celebration’s opening night with DJ Bone the solitary name on the line-up hailing from either The D or Turin. That’s not to say that the night didn’t have a distinctly Detroit flavour to it as both the impressive Amelie Lens and Anastasia Kristenesen rattled through a number of classic cuts to hail from the city with Underground Resistance’s time honoured ‘Sonic Destroyer’ getting a particularly raucous reaction from the jacked up Seat Stage masses.
Over on the Jagerstage it was a much more British affair with London based Pawsa whipping the party into a frenzy with a selection of crowd pleasing tech house numbers including his own ‘Groovy Cat’ which somewhat bizarrely had large sections of the room chanting along to the parts of the track which interpolate the Pink Panther theme tune.
Following on the Pawsa-curated sing-a-long came heavily hyped set of fellow Brit Michael Bibi, who having quietly been making waves in the UK for the past couple of years seems to have really exploded on the continent judging by the fervour that greeted his arrival. Looking like he and Patrick Topping share the same stylist, the Solid Grooves boss played a harder if still comparable sound to the Newcastle man, reminding this writer more than a little of a younger Adam Beyer which, depending on the particular brand of techno you favour, is either a massive positive or hugely disappointing. Keen to play up to his reactive audience his dropping of a remix of The White Stripes easily chant-able ‘7 Nation Army’ might have elicited one of the craziest reactions to a track we’ve seen anywhere, and will live long in the memory.
Promising a second night to be hosted at the post-industrial Milk Club and a closing event at the city’s vaunted Audiodrome Live Club, we were unfortunately only there for a night and so can only wonder how the rest of the event series went, but judging on our time in Turin you can expect similarly playful takes on a genre that can, when left to its own devices, become too brooding for its own good. We’d have like to have seen a few more local artists on display – and perhaps a few more flown in from Detroit – but those are minor flies in an otherwise professionally manufactured ointment.
Now, how do we get ourselves invited to the Detroit leg?
Find out more about Movement here.