DJ Harvey was already tucked away high in the cubby hole that is Santos’ DJ booth by the time our night started. He was getting a head start on a set that was going to be five hours long, maybe even longer. Smoke was continually being pumped through the venue’s top floor so it was hard to see Harvey and what he was doing—from our vantage point, he looked like he was topless apart from the kind of vest that you wear with a three-piece suit.
By his own admission, British-born Harvey Bassett is just a normal guy—perhaps funnier than your average—but he’s got a throng of loyal fans that sees him as some haloed dance god in almost every city that he plays. It’s not ego-driven, as is the case with some/most superstar DJs, which was reflected by the assorted folks in the crowd and their collective lack of pretension. There was the tie-dyed hippie with hair plastered against his sweaty face; the dude who wore a sweatband headband probably out of necessity; the couple who made out with the same intensity despite Harvey’s change in tempo; the couple who one-upped that couple by simulating sex in a disturbingly realistic fashion. The interests of the very large majority of the people present this evening lay primarily in unselfconscious dancing, as Harvey beckoned us over to his side of hedonism with rougher disco cuts. Euphoric vocal tracks were used cautiously, as if he were rationing them for effect. When Harvey dropped them, the crowd looked like it was collectively exorcising the demons of its previous week.
Downstairs, Detroit’s Kyle Hall was entertaining the basement crowd in a far less hazy environment. The kid is young, but he damn well knows more about music than the rest of us. He taught; we listened. We danced to chugging techno and more forgiving house under UV light that made us all look like zombies.
The contrast between Harvey—longtime vet, the lines on his weathered face retracing years of partying—and Hall—chaperoned to shows, still wore braces on his teeth the last time we checked—reflected two disparate musical generations that somehow still converge in their sense of what’s good and right. Now that we think about it, that might have even been Discovery‘s point.