In Detroit, Motown nights are reborn

Five years after Detroit declared itself bankrupt, nightlife in Motown is hopping again.

Nightclubs and bars mixing the Midwestern city’s African American musical heritage and a bubbling new creativity are sprouting up like mushrooms.

And even Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul herself, wants a piece of the action unfolding from Corktown, behind the city’s train station, through Midtown and all the way to the business district.

Pop-up restaurants in local watering holes compete with live music venues offering rock, pop, dance, hip-hop, jazz, funk and folk in a vibrant cocktail reflecting the city’s indelible influence on the American music scene.

“Detroit is on a boom right now,” said Troy Ramroop, owner of The Grasshopper Underground, an electro music club that has produced several hip DJs.

He said that not long ago, clubbers in Michigan had to go to Chicago or New York to party all night. “But now you can drive 20 minutes and find it,” said Ramroop.

“You have a lot to do here in the city. It’s always been (that) music is everywhere. It’s good music,” said clubgoer Shari Staples, who was hanging out at the Northern Lights Lounge on a cold January night.

The downtown club features performances by Dennis Coffey, one of the guitarists with The Temptations — an icon of the Motown record label in the 1960s and 1970s.

“You get a lot of musicians. That’s the heart of the DNA in Detroit,” said Coffey.

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