July 12th, 1979: The White Sox were hosting a double-header against the Detroit Tigers, stuck in the middle of an incredibly lack-luster season. To keep fans in the stands, local radio host Steve Dahl had been given permission to entertain the crowd between games. Dahl had been imploring fans for weeks to bring their disco records to the game so he could officially drop disco into its grave.
Dahl approached the box of thousands of records, said a few words, and lit the explosives, symbolically destroying the dance of the last decade, and inciting the inherent racism of the “disco sucks movement,” a movement that would cast black music into the musical and societal abject in favor of white-washed rock and pop. Chaos in the stands ensued, however, subcultures that had been brewing in both team’s hometowns, dubbed “disco’s revenge,” were officially ignited.
The year prior, inspired by Manhattan clubs The Loft and The Gallery, Robert Williams moved to Chicago and opened up The Warehouse, the birthplace of House music. It was a safe space, preaching inclusivity of anybody and everybody who wanted to join the movement being led by Midwestern Queer BIPOC. Pioneers of Chicago House include Frankie Knuckles, Jesse Saunders, and Chip E, all taking elements they loved from Disco and pumping them with something new, raw.
In the 80s, House “jacked” out of the Windy City and into Detroit, where The Belleville Three (Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson) began to combine elements of Chicago house with a new kind of music they were creating: Techno. As both scenes began to boom nationally, Londoners started to feel the sensation across the pond, and that, alongside the introduction of MDMA into London’s nightclubs, birthed the Eurocentric interpretation of house and rave culture as understood on a mainstream level today.
On our newest edition of August Aux, our staffer Sam Wallner has curated a mix of Chicago and Detroit House to celebrate the humble Midwestern, black and brown, queer roots through which the genre came to fruition.
You can stream AUGUST AUX 021 now on our Spotify and Soundcloud.