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The Decentralized Dance Party’s Detroit Takeover

By Beware / 05.22.12

Sunday morning, I could hardly get out of bed. However, as a designated driver the night before, it surely wasn’t because of a hangover. Instead, the reason my body felt like I had been hit by a mack truck was because myself and at least a thousand others had just come off a three-hour-straight dance excursion throughout downtown Detroit, courtesy of Decentralized Dance Party.

Facilitated by Canadian revolutionaries Tom & Gary, the legitimately-dubbed “party revolution” is an idea so profound the only way to fully understand is to partake. However, the concept isn’t as complicated as you might think. Essentially, the way this business-professional-themed flash-mob/parade comes together initially is by a few months of vague, online hype and word of mouth. Then, the day of the DDP, the gracious hosts unveil a kick-off time and starting point for your city on their Facebook page. At that point, everyone who’s hip heads down to the commencement (in Detroit it started at Hart Plaza), only to be greeted by a sea of like-minded free spirits and 300 boom-boxes; all of which are tuned into Tom & Gary’s personal radio frequency and dictate the event with dance tunes and the occasional directional ques. Once 8 p.m. hits and the crowd is full, the signal is given and the Decentralized title comes into play, as hundreds of party-goers proceed to move throughout the city, all simulcasting the same classic songs and shining a light of inhibition over anyone they pass.

In my case, I arrived with my ten friends around 30 minutes late – dressed in a full suit and tie, only to catch the mob amidst skyscrapers, a few blocks from Detroit’s Hard Rock Cafe. I’m not quite sure if I heard them before I saw them or vice-versa, but the aura was equivalent to an outdoor nightclub, with absolutely zero apprehension from anyone. Within five minutes of parking my car, I was standing in the epicenter of the 313 alongside hundreds of people in everything from full-on business attire to Ultimate Warrior garb, straight getting down to Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy.” At that moment, the answer to Rod’s question was a resounding “yes.”

From there, the Decentralized Dance Party moved throughout the city – going up & down Woodward, everywhere from Greektown to The Renaissance Center, with the massive moving party attracting more and more people like a magnet as it proceeded. Not just twenty-somethings either. There were full-on families, with kids. Older couples, who ditched the dive bars we passed, just to join the mobile Mardi Gras. A Prince impersonator. There was even an older gentleman, with a gangster limp and cane, getting his boogie on like he was 60 years younger. It didn’t matter if the music being omitted was Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It,” the theme from Space Jam or Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long,” people of all races, creeds and social classes had come together to dance the night away for this once in a lifetime event, on behalf of good moods and great tunes.

At one point, as our moving party cruised by a measly stationary club, an extremely confused patron who was outside smoking a cigarette gave me a dumbfounded look and asked “What are you guys doing!?!?” I simply replied with, “What are you waiting for?” and kept it moving. Because, truthfully, there was no time to waste. As one of the last legs to Decentralized’s current North American tour, this could very well be the only time something this astounding comes around my way. As much as it’d be great if Tom & Gary could hit every US city, their goal is to go worldwide, sharing their free-spirited ways with everyone in need of a release. According to a brief conversation with Gary – who sported a flat-top, yellow suit and Nintendo Power-Glove – their long-term goal would be to have fun-loving liaisons start the DDP in these cities without them, in order to provide as much unrestricted serenity as possible, throughout the world.

Given my specifics, I’m not quite sure I could contain the craziness myself, but I’d damn sure be participating in every Decentralized Dance Party from here on out. Until Gary’s battery frequency died (AKA the cops made them stop), that was legitimately one of the funnest nights of my life. So, if possible, I highly encourage everyone to literally follow suit and indulge in the festivities. The next stops on DDP’s tour of awesomeness are tonight in Asheville and this Thursday in Pittsburgh, with upcoming stops in Washington, Boston & NYC to follow. So, forget work. Forget your musical preference. Hell, forget everything. If you enjoy having a good time and are within driving distance, there’s no excuse to miss this self-enlightening event.

Actually, if my legs regain mobility and I can talk a few friends into making the trip, I might even go for round two.

For more information on The Decentralized Dance Party, head over to their website or Facebook page and find out when Tom & Gary will be kicking off the fun in a city near you.

Photos: Steven Pham, Kim Gusway, Rustbelt Raw & my pal Leigh Richards.


TAGSAwesomenessDancingDecentralized Dance PartyDetroitEventsEVERYTHING ELSEMUSICSMOKE BREAK

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