Monday, December 07, 2009

It happened in Detroit: Jive Turkey 6

My trip home to Detroit was amazing.

Soooo many outrageous stories, all of them true.

Among my favorites: Jive Turkey 6

The “6” indicating the 6th year in a row this particular Detroit underground throwdown has been happening.

The line-up was already impressive, as evidenced by the flyer. The word was that Kenny Dixon Jr. and Theo Parrish were both going to be rocking unannounced sets. Hell yes. My old buddy Tim Baker was gonna be in the house, it was sure be a night of ‘90s-tastic fun.

I’d never been to the Bohemian House before. Deep in the heart of Detroit’s southwest side, the Ambassador Bridge loomed ominously behind me as I rolled a far too shiny rental car down a desolate side street towards the spot.

There were a couple of dudes in parkas hanging around a bunch of cars parked on a barren lot. One of them approached me and asked for $3. OK, word.

Except that now left me with only $7 in cash. The party cost $10. Hm. I rolled to the door and before I could explain my dilemma, dude at the dude took my $7 and waved me in. Cool.

OK, this was a classic dirty Detroit rave. The location looked like any number of abandoned houses in the city. Random planks and shit were lying around everywhere. The party was broken into two rooms. In the big main room, a DJ I didn’t know was dropping hard house beats. The room was fairly crowded. Behind the decks I spied Boo Williams, Glenn Underground, and a few more old-school heads.

I wandered into the second room, where my bud Tim Baker was spinning serious hardcore techno. He was beating it, as they like to say.

There were a few druggy party kids running around, but for a dirty Detroit rave, the crowd was surprisingly of age. Lots of ‘90s ravers grown up, with a healthy percentage of older black folks just chilling and smoking weed. The bar was doing a healthy business.

There was this insane young blond in front of the DJ tables. I swear she was wearing cut-off panties. With only a bra up top, she was working the floor like she was on a riser at Rain in Vegas. I mean this girl was grinding like she was getting paid big bucks. Even the too-cool-for-school dudes behind the tables were having a hard time not totally ogling her.

At one point this wasted brunette tried to mix it up with the blond, but it was short, painful defeat. She had one move, which was turning around and lifting her skirt up over ass, revealing a thong and a lotta ass. But that got old quick, and soon enough she was outta there.

Some dude starts rapping on the mike about the upcoming DJs, when I noticed a guy in what looked like a cop vest rush past me. By the time I looked up, a stream of police in what appeared to be stripped-down riot gear was streaming in through the main entrance. I glanced at the guy next to me, and we both made a beeline for the exit, only to be met by one seriously angry looking cop.

(The one picture I took before the cops killed the party)

“Everybody get down on the fucking floor right fucking now!”

The music had stopped and this booming cry was suddenly the only sound in the room. Overhead lights started coming on. More cops rushed into the room. People are kind of looking at each other like, “WTF?” My heart started beating really fast.


All 200 or so of us slowly squatted down on the filthy floor. Looking to my right, I saw an open pack of cigarettes with a plastic baggie hanging out of it, filled with white powder. Nearby, there were two more similar baggies. A couple more to my right. Damn, Detroit—party much? I realize that I'm actually shaking. The one other time I got caught up in one of these raids, I'd nonchalantly walked out the front door. The cops didn't even give me a second look that night more than ten years ago. This night was not like that at all.

A kid kind of stood up in the middle of the room, only to be thrown violently back down by the yelling cop.


Oh, shit. This was really happening.

The cops pile everyone into the main room and start demanding ID.


A smattering of hands timidly rose. The cops looked around the room, confused. Most of the faces were older than they were.


A couple dozen kids staggered to their feet, while the rest of us sat squatting on the floor of this dilapidated house that’s supposedly a historical landmark of the city. How fitting.

The cops looked crestfallen. One just yelled “FUCK!” at the top of his lungs.

The few, unfortunate busted kids were shuffled into the smaller room for processing. The rest of us got lined up, made to show ID, and sent off into the night.

Just another Saturday night in Detroit…

(The Telway Hamburgers spot on Michigan Ave not far from the party)


aduncan said...

dude wow, a true down and dirty night in the D

i hope you are well

drop me an email when you get chance, be good to grab that long overdue drink