Blake Baxter returns to Detroit's Urban Bean Co. for a DJ set — the former home of his record store

Sep 25, 2019 at 2:40 pm
click to enlarge A DJ spins during a past edition of Urban Bean Co.'s "Planet Funk" show. - Courtesy of
Courtesy of
A DJ spins during a past edition of Urban Bean Co.'s "Planet Funk" show.

Back in the 1990s — long before the revival of Detroit's Capitol Park neighborhood — DJ Blake Baxter ran Save the Vinyl, an influential record store in the city's techno scene.

So when Josh Greenwood later bought the building and transformed it into the bright-orange Urban Bean Co. coffee shop, he built a DJ booth upstairs as an homage to its techno past.

"[Baxter] lived across the street in what is now the DIME school, and that was where a lot of the techno and house DJs used to live," Greenwood says.

"My coffee shop was the record store for all the DJs back in the day," he adds.

And Wednesday evening, Baxter will return to his old shop.

Since 2013 Greenwood has partnered with for "Planet Funk," a long-running podcast featuring live DJ sets and interviews at Urban Bean Co. that is live-streamed in audio and video and archived on its website. The show celebrated its 313st episode in July with special guests Mike Banks and other members from Detroit's Underground Resistance DJ collective.

On Wednesday, the show celebrates its 334st episode with a special set from non other than Baxter.

Wednesday's show is from 5 p.m.-11 p.m. at Urban Bean Co. The night's other guests include Thomas Barnett, Al Ester, and Earl Mixxin McKinney.

"It's two DJs usually, and then it's a sit-down interview," Greenwood says. "Just like in a radio studio."

Greenwood says to expect... just about anything.

"We allow them to play everything for the most part," he says. "I mean, I've yet to hear any country be played there. But we do get a lot of electronic, there's a lot of Motown, a lot of funk, a lot of groove, a lot of soul, a lot of house music gets played. ...We've had jazz sets played there. People have even played rock 'n' roll, punk rock."

Greenwood, who has lived in Detroit for most of his adult life since 1993, says he's happy to see that Capitol Park has changed.
"I'm super excited with how things have obviously progressed in our neighborhood and all the surrounding neighborhoods," he says. "You know, they're kind of filling in all the little holes that used to be closed."

As for Wednesday night's show, Greenwood says it will be a throwback to the neighborhood's days as a techno hotspot.

"You know, it's a coffee shop, but we're going to be bringing it like it's a New York city club tonight," he says. "It's gonna be off the hook."

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