Thursday, November 23, 2006

Don't Call It A Comeback

...it's been there for years. But unfortunately, the Thanksgiving Eve party at Clutch Cargo's (Pontiac) may have been a one-off. Paxahau came in with Richie Hawtin and a killer sound system, throwing one of the better parties to come to Pontiac in a L O N G time. On the biggest bar night of the year, I was expecting to pay a slightly higher cover. But I wasn't expecting the $35 price tag to draw such a huge crowd.

Space
The atmosphere screamed busy, but had plenty of breathing room. And there were sounds to soothe whatever your mood. The main floor was the main event. iLounge was the refuge for anyone too hot or too tired of screaming in conversation. I was told upstairs was ambient, but I never made my way, way way up. Dancing was far from required, but most everyone fulfilled their obligation to the night at one point or another. If Clutch Cargo's could carry this vibe on a monthly basis, or at least a few times each year, it may help move Pontiac in a different direction and bring some balance back to the area.

Candy Kids
Only a few people rocked the glow sticks last night. That was nice. And guys cant be too upset with a guy to girl ratio of 2:1, when it seemed like everywhere you looked there were ladies asking you to ask them to dance. The women knew what they were doing, and they all looked fabulous. But the men, aside from a small minority, must have decided to coordinate with one-another because I lost count of the number wearing the same unbuttoned dress shirt or stripped polo. Nonetheless, they carried it well and I didn't experience any of the typical ignorance that usually walks around Clutch Cargo's. Everyone came to have fun. Everyone did.

Who is Richie Hawtin?
A regular for Detroit on every holiday or special occasion, who regularly never comes up short. When I said I was surprised so many people paid so much to get in, I forgot that this is what happens whenever the DJ's name is Richie Hawtin. If you haven't seen him before, or it's been a good two years or more, figure something out and make plans to attend his next gig. He makes it easy for your heart to find the beats.

Slippery When Wet
I was struggling to find things bad about the night. Honestly. But when a friend decided she needed to run into the bathroom, I decided to take my leave as well... and that was when I saw the light. The bathroom was absolutely horrid. I want to say it was "absolutely, completely, and entirely horrid," except that it had what appeared to be a clean (and working) sink and automatic soap dispenser; no paper towel, but no big deal. A giant drain should be installed, along with a firehose and lysol dispenser. The other problem I found myself having was walking up and down the stairs, and along the upper balcony. Even with tennis shoes, every other step I had to recover from an almost fall. I can't imagine how I would have survived if I had worn my heels.

SUMMARY
If Paxahau throws another event at Clutch Cargo's, go. I can't promise it will be as good. I can't promise it won't be bad. But I can tell you that it was damn good once, and that's reason enough to give it another shot. Clutch Cargo's has been trying to find itself for the past few years, and opening iLounge in the basement was the first major step in migrating away from the typical "Top 40 18 and over" trend. This party demonstrated the club is headed in the right direction. In fact, when I left at 3a (or maybe it was 4), the place was still live. No one came out to leave early, and a part of me wonders just how tired I would be this AM had I said "No, let's stay a bit longer. Dance?"

Small disclaimer: Many years ago I had worked closely with Clutch Cargo's on various online promotional campaigns. Please don't assume I'm being biased here. Had Thanksgiving Eve been what I would have expected from a typical Friday or Saturday night, this review would have been completely different ;)