Pax.20 celebrated Paxahau’s 20-Year Anniversary on September 8-9th at the historic Bert’s Warehouse in Eastern Market featuring a stacked lineup headlined by the one and only Richie Hawtin.

Photography credit, Douglas Wojciechowski.

The show’s setting was not inconsequential; Bert Dearing Jr. opened the Eastern Market establishment in 1987, and over the past 30+ years it has been established as a cultural landmark in Detroit’s music scene. Similarly, Paxahau has spent the last 20 years building its reputation as one of the premiere show presenters in the city of Detroit, responsible for some of the best dance parties year round, and most notably to outsiders as the lead organizer of one of the most revered electronic music festivals (Movement Electronic Music Festival) attended by their international following.

Photography credit, Douglas Wojciechowski.

Walking into Bert’s for a techno show on an otherwise quiet evening in Eastern Market was surreal; the brightly lit front hallway contrasted sharply with the dark club atmosphere inside. The layout of the building is so interesting- somehow, the sound coming from the main room was barely noticeable in the Funk Furnace, providing for a nice little oasis when bar lines were long or a change of scenery was needed. It was disorienting to enter the cafe from that room, emerging almost randomly in such a familiar place, only one room over from where I’d seen daytime karaoke in the past.

Michael Geiger in the Funk Furnace. Photography credit, Douglas Wojciechowski.

Acid Pimp and John Acquaviva set the tone in the main room, from the moment we walked in the energy was palpable. Even with such solid offerings earlier in the night, the anticipation for Richie Hawtin’s set was heavy in the air. Much like the choice in venue, choosing a legendary electronic musician such as Hawtin to headline the show was uniquely apropos, a testament to the presenter’s strong reputation and to the artist’s dedicated following.

Photography credit, Douglas Wojciechowski

Sharing the bill with friends, notably Acquaviva with whom he created Plus8 and later Beatport, was certainly a highlight for Hawtin, and his willingness to lend his internationally acclaimed talents to such an event just added to the larger significance of it all. This was certainly a dance party, like many that Paxahau has done, but there was also a deeper meaning to the event that touched even the most blissfully unaware attendee.

Photography credit, PLAYGROUND DETROIT.

Richie Hawtin. Photography credit, Katie Laskowska.

Although I respectfully declined to indulge in the 7am after show hosted at TV Lounge, the celebration proceeded to continue well beyond the morning hours featuring even more DJ sets by Erno the Inferno, DJ Holographic, DJ Heidi and more. However, the sheer fact that the party did not stop until Monday was not surprising at all coming from party monster Paxahau for successfully adding their 20 Year Anniversary one for the history books.

[Cover photo by Douglas Wojciechowski.]