It's inevitable. It'll be some time before Populux isn't known as "the old Magic Stick." Sure, the place has seen some serious upgrades, but longtime fans of the rock venue will probably have a hard time letting go.
That said, the revamped electronic music venue deserves its due. Even dedicated fans can agree the Stick was more than a little worn down, and declining show attendance wasn't helping matters.
Now the space is under the care of Amir Daiza, the same guy who operates Elektricity in Pontiac and who has overseen such venerable venues as Clutch Cargo's and St. Andrew's Hall. According to Daiza, the name Populux pays homage to both the past and the future of the venue. It comes from a culture and aesthetic that was popular in the '50s and '60s, known as Populuxe.
"It's a combination of the word 'popular' and 'luxury,'" he says. "If you look it up, it was a futuristic thing."
With six synchronized color-changing LED-lit columns built around the beams in the middle of the dance floor, a couple new bars, and a VIP booth, it's safe to say the $250,000 renovations to the venue have made for a vast improvement.
Changes haven't been purely aesthetic. Part of the rebranding sees Populux focusing on booking techno and house acts. This is a bit of a departure from Daiza's Pontiac venue, which books mainly EDM acts. So far the place has seen names like Green Velvet, Kevin Saunderson, and Derrick Carter. Their summer schedule is packed with DJs like Justin Martin, Umek, Breach, and Catz 'n Dogz.
The rebranding comes just in time for the Movement Electronic Music Festival and Populux has a weekend of supporting shows booked. From Friday, May 22 through Monday, May 25, the venue's scheduling will be dedicated to Movement-supporting shows.
Friday night will see Movement's official launch party at Populux with sets from John Acquaviva, DBX, and Stacey Pullen. Saturday, Detroit Love presents Carl Craig and Friends. Sunday night will feature Nina Kraviz, Robert Hood, Terrence Dixon, Exos, and Bjarki. Monday is a Black Butter Records party with Gorgon City, Kidnap Kid, and a special guest who has yet to be announced. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. each evening and tickets are $15.