Bryan Jones and Hugh Cleal are something of dance music renaissance men. Between their own DJ project Golf Clap, their label Country Club Disco, and their seminal club Grasshopper Underground, the ambitious duo are behind some of Detroit’s most influential underground brands.
Jones and Cleal have been hard at work this fall booking an eclectic yet elite schedule of talent to play at Grasshopper Underground. From house legends like Kerri Chandler and Roger Sanchez, to techno affcionados like John Acquaviva and Skream, Grasshopper Underground is becoming known for its top-tier talent and parties that live up to Detroit’s reputation as a dance music mecca.
Ahead of its Trancegiving party this weekend with Kenneth Thomas, Hugh Cleal spoke with us about the eclectic group of names that have taken the decks Grasshopper Underground over the past year. Reflecting on shows with Eats Everything, DJ EZ, Roger Sanchez, and more, Cleal gives first-hand accounts of memorable moments shared with the talent he’s booked at the club.
Additionally, Golf Clap crafted an exclusive mix for the Thanksgiving weekend full of house music gems from MANIK, Rich Wakley, DJOKO, & more. You can read Hugh Cleal’s favorite moments from Grasshopper Underground below the mix.
HC: This was pretty soon after we started doing nights at Grasshopper. The DJ booth was on the other side of the room. He played differently being in a room that size as opposed to seeing him play at a big festival. It’s always cool to see how the bigger DJs adapt to playing a smaller room. He definitely did not disappoint. He let us record the set and we listened back for months on end. He even played his VIP remix of Adam F “Circles” that drops to the drum and bass part. He’s been one of our favorites ever since that night.
HC: Watching his Boiler Room sets online have given us so many cool new ideas of what you can do with CDJs and a mixer. He was super tired when he came to play for us but he still spun circles around anybody else we’ve ever booked. We were also impressed with how well he read the room. It sounded a bit more underground and house based than the other sets we’ve heard from him. Was exactly what we were hoping he would do. He definitely threw in a few classics to get everyone going as well. Bucket list booking for sure.
HC: We’ve been lucky enough to have Kerri come play for us a couple times now. He’s always so professional and prepared. He comes hours early to sound check and tests the system himself. He plays a 20 minute mini set to make sure everything is working properly before the show starts. The first time we had him come out, he sang his song “Rain” live along with local singer “Diviniti”. Moodymann even came out to say hello to him. Kerri is tons of fun and often wants to play the whole night. He always makes time to greet everyone and even gets on the mic to thank the audience. Absolute class act.
HC: Funny story with Doorly. We knew some of his records and someone offered us a date with him for Grasshopper. We booked him, but didn’t know much about him as a DJ. Right when he went on, he just started doing all these crazy tricks we had never seen before. He was scratching and playing multiple decks and pulling up menus on the CDJs we didn’t know existed. Was a very pleasant surprise and now we book him any time we can. We are really looking forward to playing Holy Ship 9.0 together in January.
HC: A couple months ago we played Riverside Groove in Detroit with Skream, Moon Boots, Chris Lorenzo and more. That night we threw an after party with Skream at Grasshopper. He came out of the box hard right away, playing 3 songs at once while getting something ready on the 4th deck. He made it seem so effortless, and all on 1 leg as his other leg was in a cast. After he got down to about 2 songs playing at once, we tapped him on the shoulder and told him to meet us at the next party and we all ended up tagging for 3 hours until they turned the lights on. He was a blast and we had more fun that night than we have in ages.
HC: We met Roger with Huxley out in London recently and really got along. Naturally we booked him the first chance we could in Detroit. We opened for him that night and you could feel the room light up right when he went on. We were going to make this a top 5 list but we couldn’t leave him out. He’s also releasing a ton of music lately that we love under his name and S-Man.
‘Grasshopper Underground Thanksgiving Mix’ Tracklist:
DJOKO – Marked As Red
SMOKI – Hypnotize
Rich Wakley – Hit The Spot
Ben Read – Feeling Good
Yam Nor – Flash Back
Ben Sterling – Feeling Love (As I Am Remix)
Hotted – Touch
Killed Kassette – Who Are We
Landrum & Fort – B For B
Tucci – Evangelion
Hector Couto – Parental Advisory (DJ T. Remix)
MANIK – The Right Moves
Alex M – Show U Love
Di Chiara Brothers – Believe
Ralo & Strada – Fabric
Murvin Sound – Yeah
Waitz – Bring The House Back
Long Play – Coke No Ice
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