DJing on a bridge between buildings, almost no techno played on the night and a VERY subdued atmosphere: Derrick May’s latest New Year’s Eve – as reviewed by someone who was there…

For Detroit’s most occasional DJ, 2023 was a year where, as one of our sources previously put it, “everything he touched turned to s**t”. So it seemed strangely appropriate that Derrick May’s December was to end in the manner it did – a far cry from his gig at South Korea’s Seoul on New Year’s Eve in 2019.

For the past few years, he’s had no work at all to welcome in the next year – although in fairness, Covid lockdowns during the winter of 2020 prevented almost everyone else in the trade from doing the same. But in 2023, he returned to what remains an important – and possibly very lucrative – night in the DJ calendar.

So in which faraway land was this gig? Er, it wasn’t – not only did he not get out of the United States of America, he didn’t even get out of his home state of Michigan for the night. No, his set was ultimately to take place in his native Detroit – at a steakhouse called Hanah, just off the city’s Shelby Street.

The set itself took place at a particularly curious spot – as Google shows, it’s in the middle of a skywalk between two buildings just over the road. Indeed, May posted live from the venue on the night showcasing the venue with the proudness of a cat who’d brought a dead mouse back to its owner’s front door…

So what was it like inside? Well, it turns out that one of our regular Detroit sources was there on the night – although they’re at pains to emphasise that “I booked to go to the steakhouse before anyone had announced he’d be DJing”.

And what did they think? They said “It was a strange night. Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May are both known for techno sets, Derrick May especially, but almost no techno was played on the night. It was mostly house music with a disco sort of vibe going on. Derrick’s set was a lot slower than his usual style. It was pretty good, but the atmosphere was a little quiet. He looked like a man who wanted to be anywhere else.”

Like Seoul, for example…

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