Set Review: The Secret Garden – Detroit, 3/5/22

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On a Saturday night at Detroit’s Deluxx Fluxx club, we had the pleasure of dancing and drinking to a DJ set by one of the city’s mainstay crews: The Secret Garden. For starters, Deluxx Fluxx is a unique venue; With vivid neon pop art, blacklights, and arcade games, it combines high club energy and some more lowkey, nerd-friendly vibes which make it a welcoming atmosphere for a diverse crowd.

The Secret Garden is a hip-hop collective consisting of local Detroit MC’s, DJ’s, dancers, photographers, and producers including Ro Spit, Ron Dance, Court Denise, 6AM, and more. The set opened up with Court Denise on the tables, slowly building a deeper, rowdier crowd on the dance floor. She played a mixture of classic hits and local essentials; As someone from out of state who is a big fan of the Detroit scene, it was amazing to hear songs by Babyface Ray or Sada Baby met with such enthusiasm and for people to know every lyric, treating them as stars. A subtle remix of “Rock the Boat” by Aaliyah got them moving, and when “Aktivated” came on, the club went crazy and marked a tone shift (that hook is irresistibly danceable). 6AM stayed on for most of Court’s set, doing a great job of building energy and rapport with the crowd. He brought high energy, rapping along just enough to make the songs clear – even crooning along to some Dwele – while establishing some personality of his own.

Ro Spit was next on the boards and built even further upon that energy. While we were familiar with Ro Spit’s original work (particularly “365” by Apollo Brown, and the album The Glass Ceiling), he put on a killer set which was in touch with more mainstream sounds. He played hit after hit, including “Knife Talk” by Drake, “March Madness” by Future, and “N—-s in Paris”. For someone most associated with underground, local boombap, Ro Spit had the club jumping better than expected. Ron Dance filled in for 6AM as the MC during Ro’s set, also commanding the stage well. Another rapper – whose name sadly remains hard to find on socials – killed an original verse which was a nice change of pace. Ro even spat some of his own shit while working the boards, displaying that leveled talent and love for the art. Everyone there was clearly a student of the game and wasn’t just dancing for fun; rather, this was a shared experience and culture which made for something special.

Overall, The Secret Garden is a dope collective for anyone into the Detroit scene and they put on a really fun show. Deluxx Fluxx also proves to be one of the hottest spots in town. Don’t miss out on either next time you’re in the D!

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