Yes, what you may have already heard is true. Nearly 80 Detroit bands, musicians and DJs have kept this weekend free so they can plug in, unplug, drop science, rock out or keep it real for the masses of music lovers in the city. And it’s all happening in six venues, which are within walking or shuttle distance of each other. A $10 wristband for each night gets you into all the places. Don’t ask how we did it. Just enjoy yourself while checking out the impressive talent the city has to offer at "Sonic Boom." There are far too many participants to list here, but you can find the complete listing in this issue’s centerfold or online in Sonic Metropolis (sonic.metrotimes.com), MTs’ Web guide to Detroit musicians.
One of the more exciting aspects of this two-day event is what’s being dubbed "Sonic Electronic" at the New Med, 3933 Woodward, Detroit – a venue making its debut at "Sonic Boom" – which hosts a more than a dozen electronic artists.
The mastermind behind Sonic Electronic is WDET-FM 101.9’s late-night favorite Liz Copeland. After Metro Times offered her a slot to spin in one of the venues, she asked if we wanted any more DJs. We were all about it. Thus came forth "Sonic Electronic."
"There was a certain eye on flow and also on expanding people’s expectations. We’re just trying to show different sides of the music," Copeland explains. "I think when a lot of people think of electronic music in general, they think about ‘boom, chic boom’ and that’s it. There are various different elements to electronic music that began simply when anybody could plug in an electronic piece of equipment. It goes way beyond DJing and Detroit even."
The diverse lineup covers hip-hopped-soul-funk, ambient-abstract, techno-soul, straight-out dance beats and a few live experimental setups. From Persona’s live abstract grooves to Clark Warner’s mix collages to Magda’s techno-electro-disco experiments, the party will reach far corners of the map while maintaining a continuous flow. Not only is Copeland presenting the variety within the genre, she’s also hoping the event will introduce the music to a variety of people – people who may have shunned electronica in the past.
"I think it will attract a lot of the people who wouldn’t necessarily go to the clubs that promote this kind of thing. A lot of people in the rock ’n’ roll world have this stigma attached to (the clubs). I know because I live in both of those worlds. Maybe they’ll just peek their head in and go, ‘Wow, this is actually pretty good stuff.’ If they enjoy it, cool, but not everything’s for everyone. Hopefully, some of the people who come primarily for these nights will go into the other venues and go, ‘Oh wow. That band’s really cool. I didn’t know that.’ Hopefully, it’ll work both ways."
Copeland herself is opening up the first night with an experimental mix. She just picked up The Andromeda Strain soundtrack and she’s excited to incorporate the sci-fi electronic emissions. But she said she also might include a dancier DJ Rolando cut called "Jaguar."
The venue itself called the New Med is a soon-to-be-open Mediterranean restaurant-club two doors north of the Bittersweet Coffee House. Furuq Khan, from Mediterranean Café in Greektown, bought the space and is busy clearing it out with concept designer Tim Price for the upcoming show. The kitchen and booths won’t be there, but the space should make for a fun standing-room-only party.
The all-ages show will include beverages, but no alcohol. And remember the lamination installation by Mare at the Detroit Electronic Music Festival – the plastic square-circle design near the underground stage? Some of the same work will be set up at the show. The event will be Webcast by iorangepop.com and the performers plan on keeping the party going at the New Med until 3 a.m.