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Richie Hawtin, weather give Movement festival a strong start

@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

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DETROIT -- Abundant sunshine won out over unseasonably chilly temperatures for at the 14th Movement Electronic Music Festival on Saturday, May 25, as fans packed Hart Plaza for the first of three days of dancing and revelry.

Organizers are not planning to release attendance figures until a week after the festival ends, but Saturday's crowd -- hailing from all over the world -- appeared to be larger than its 2012 counterpart of more than 30,000, and with temperate late spring weather expected for Sunday and Monday, there's clearly hope that this year's Movement will surpass last year's three-day total of more than 107,000.

Richie Hawtin ruled Movement's first day, closing out the Red Bull Music Academy Stage in Hart Plaza's amphitheater area with his stunning two-hour "Enter" show. Though not quite as visually opulent as his 2011 Plastikman set, the Windsor-raised techno veteran kept the Movement crowd, well, moving with a minimalist mix heavy on percussive patterns and bass frequencies. Hawtin himself was characteristically obscured as he worked, but Enter kept the crowd engaged with stobe and white lights that danced throughout the bowl during his set, along with rear-screen graphic images, both of which switching to color about 70 minutes into his set.

Hawtin was hardly the only thing to see on Movement's first day, however -- even while he was playing. Moby, in fact, played to a similarly dense crowd over on the Beatport stage, offering a more lavish and full-bodied sound. British DJ Dave Clarke, meanwhile, warmed up for Hawtin on the Red Bull stage with an engaging and occasionally trancey mix, while Sinistarr offered a thumping set on the Electric Forest Festival stage and Bruce Bailey even caught ears passing by on Jefferson Avenue with one section of his show that vamped on Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

Particularly noticeable on this year's Movement opening day was another ramping up of the festival's lighting and visual components. The screens used on the five stages were more vivid than ever and arranged in such a manner that, at night -- and particularly on the Underground stage -- the performers and their equipment appeared to be floating in air. And the wild array of projects only added to the general trippiness of the festival, where it was not uncommon to run into costumed fans decked out in all manners of costumes, including Gumby and Pokey, unicorns and ninja turtles.

Movement continues from noon to midnight Sunday and Monday, May 26 and 27, at Hart Plaza. Daily admission is $49. Visit www.movement.us for schedules and more details.

Web Site: www.movement.us

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