Dec 1, 1999 at 12:00 am


Saturday night, Nov. 20, Detroit. I am standing in the middle of 2,000 people who are freaking out to John Acquaviva playing "Blackout," the Y2K rave anthem. The venue is Studio 95, former home to the New Dance Show, and the event is the sold-out Syst3m three-year anniversary. The crowd is thick with ravers from all over the Midwest who came to see some of the region's best rave DJs (y'know, such as Terry Mullan and Derek Plaslaiko) doing their thing on the decks. "I haven't seen this many people going off at a party since the Eminem rave," commented Poor-Boy's Brian Gillespie (whose next party is Dec. 18), "and this is a real party with the real underground."

And for ravers all around, this really was the party of the year. Meanwhile, in southwest Detroit, a "free" party got busted around 3:30 a.m. just as DJ Godfather is about to start.

As the P.L.U.R. fever spreads, some old school ravers choose to have a battle Detroit-style: Dirty. To put it bluntly, there is a long-standing rivalry between Dean of Syst3m & Gabe from Analogue Systems. November 20 was the throwdown. When Syst3m announced their three-year anniversary, they titled it "Fuck Analogue Go Digital Upgrade Your Syst3m" and deftly put that on the keyboard of an iMac for their flier. In retaliation, Analogue Systems decided to throw a "free" (before midnight) party called "Digital?" on the same night. The Analogue System flier was a slick, retouched picture of a digital cell phone with "A System of player haters can't hold us back" written on the screen of the phone — and the other side listed a selection of Detroit's drum 'n' bass, hip-hop, electro, booty and house DJs (16 in all) and their info line.

Shortly after the retaliation fliers came out, there appeared a number of "misprinted" versions of Analogue's "Digital?" flier. The misprinted fliers were identical except for one small difference: the Syst3m voice mail number had replaced the Analogue Systems info line. (For me, this is the single funniest moment in Detroit rave history.)

And to think Orbit had scheduled its going-away party to counter the Syst3m anniversary as well. So much love in this city! And you all know the outcome: Analogue Systems had a nice-sized party (attended by 700 folks or so) that got shut down around 3:30 a.m. by the police. The System party had so many people they tried to turn people away by raising the price to $50. When that didn't work, they tried sending their overflow to the Analogue Systems party.

It was a who's-who at the Syst3m event, with Richie Hawtin and his crew handing out their New Year's Eve party fliers (in the shape of a Möbius strip). Apparently he's trying to save money on his fliers since he used one-sided paper. (Also, Möbius strips have a strange behavior: Try cutting one in half and you get two interlocking Möbius strips.)

Hawtin's event will be free after 6 a.m., Jan. 1, $100 before, and will have free champagne at midnight. Magda will be the guest DJ as Richie does his Decks, Efx & 909 thing and Clark Warner and Matt Hawtin will be in the other room. The party is at Motor with only 999 presale tickets. Check www.m_nus.com for more info.

All the other promoters were there, too. This was the place to flier — I was handed more than 10 of them. Carl Craig is playing as Paperclip People along with DJ Sneak and Alexi Delano at a Plur Kids party this Saturday, Dec. 4 (call 734-913-9672). Everybody said Carl from One World was out of his head (I don't think he was the only one). Oh yeah, and there were strippers who got paid to dance on top of the speakers.

What a party!

In other news

Jeff Mills canceled his "Wizard Returns" party of his own volition. Jeff is like that. Apparently they're attempting to reschedule for March. Stay tuned for more info.