I’m tempted to write our cliché phrase “the dust has finally settled…” in regards to Miami Music Week 2014, but I don’t think it fits here. Unlike last year, I didn’t attend the chaos that is Ultra Music Festival this year. Instead of attending one of the world’s largest Electronic music festivals, I chose to quite literally take my talents to South Beach for just a taste of the dozens of parties that flooded Miami during the last week of March, aptly called Miami Music Week (MMW) or, less commonly, Winter Music Conference (WMC). If you read my preview of MMW that contained selected parties I was hoping to attend, you have a feel for what parties I was looking forward to and the types of events taking place through the duration of last week. Although I wasn’t able to do it all, check out what I did attend and what my thoughts are.
Click through to read about my Miami Music Week and to hear sets from Ultra Music Festival 2014!
Wednesday March 26:
I didn’t get to my hotel in Miami Beach until the evening so any chance of attending daytime parties was off the table. After a nice outdoor dinner and some drinks, my crew headed to Story for Laidback Luke’s Super You & Me party featuring sets by The Chainsmokers, DJ Snake, Blasterjaxx, and of course Luke himself. By the time I got inside, after a quick trip back to the hotel so I could change into jeans (note to self: don’t wear shorts to the club), the Blasterjaxx were working towards the end of their set. I was pretty underwhelmed by the Blasterjaxx’s set. It was a lot of “EDM” cheese and it was very generic, appealing to fans who likely frequent festival main stages and who enjoy Beatport Top 100 songs. (A side note to the Blasterjaxx – I don’t know who took your head shots, but you may want to consider getting some new ones – it looks like you’re wearing women’s shirts that are a few sizes too small…) A few hours after midnight Laidback Luke finally took the stage. Luke is one of the most technically skilled dance DJs out there and he likes to have fun with scratching and all the effects available at his fingertips. Luke wasted no time getting into things, playing with his effects, scratching, and throwing down a high-energy set containing some of his hits like “Turbulence” which, I have to assume, he must be sick of playing by now. Either way, Story is one of my favorite clubs in Miami and it was a fun night overall. Congratulations to Luke and his wife Gina Turner on the birth of their baby girl!
Thursday March 27:
Thursday was one of my two days chock-full of music events. I was hoping to make it to the Dirtybird BBQ but I received word it was at capacity and therefore I couldn’t enjoy all the food and all the beats. No matter, we headed downtown to the Wynwood District in the late afternoon for day two of the OWSLA Good Times mini festival. The Wynwood District is a really cool part of the inner city of Miami. It may not be by the beach, but it’s full of art and amazing graffiti. Good Times was unique in a few ways. First off, the whole concept was back-t0-back (b2b) sets: pairings like Amtrac b2b Jack Beats, A-Trak b2b Craze, Skrillex b2b What So Not, Boys Noize b2b Brodinski, and plenty more were on hand to enjoy. I had the pleasure of witnessing a bunch of DJs for the first time including Anna Lunoe (watch her getting down HERE), Yellow Claw, Amtrac, and Yogi. The second coolest thing about Good Times was it had all kinds of yard games set up including a beer pong tournament, corn hole, putt putt, and giant Jenga. Finally, it was set up like a mini festival with a big stage, booming sound, food, drinks, and art. This was a great way to spend our Thursday afternoon/early evening.
Once the wee hours of the night were upon us it was time to gear up for the Jamie Jones Paradise party at Ice Palace. I was really looking forward to this party and I was excited to submerge myself into music that was very much the polar opposite of the styles I heard at the OWSLA party. Standouts on the lineup included Russ Yallop, Guy Gerber, Skream, Eats Everything, and Jamie Jones b2b Seth Troxler. When we showed up to Ice Palace there was a massive line to get in – this was true with the Pryda vs. Mau5trap and Bingo Players Remembrance parties also happening at Ice Palace. While I was able to scoot in pretty quickly, I had friends waiting in line for about an hour (yes they had tickets) – this was disappointing and I know lots of people had a similar problem. As for the music and the venue itself, I was pretty impressed. The Paradise party had three rooms set up, each with different DJs. The main room was “The Garden” and it was actually outside surrounded by trees, a stream, and a very Feng shui vibe. I thought the best set was performed by Russ Yallop who graced us with consistent beats that didn’t stop and kept the danceable momentum pumping. Around 2:30 Jamie Jones took the stage with Seth Troxler for a b2b set that was funky and trippy at the same time. You never know what you’re going to get with these two – sometimes it’s downright funky, sometimes you feel like you’re on another planet. We got a little bit of both that night. Ice Palace is cool in concept, and they had some great parties last week, but I’m not sure I’d go back due to overcrowding and overpriced drinks ($17 whiskey coke and a $70 credit card minimum?!).
*Notable events I missed on Thursday*
Stacked Miami @ Finnegan’s On The River Noon-10pm
Mat Zo’s Damage Control Party @ Cameo 11pm-5am
Pryda vs. Mau5trap @ Ice Palace Pop-Up Arena (Downtown Miami) 10pm-5am
Friday March 28:
Let’s just call this one a wash. I didn’t get to either the All Gone Pete Tong Pool Party @ The Surfcomber nor the Annie Mac Presents Party @ LMNT Studios as I was planning to. Shit happens… on to
Saturday March 29:
My final day in Miami and the second of two chock-full days of music. The day started off with the fantastic Pacha Ibiza Poolside Session at the Delano Beach Club featuring John Digweed, Guy Gerber, MK, Dennis Ferrer, and plenty more. The half hour or so we waited in line was worth it, as once we got inside it was a sea of artfully crafted DJ sets, cabanas, beautiful people, and Ibiza vibes. I had the pleasure of seeing sets by Guy Gerber, John Digweed, Kevin Saunderson, and MK. All of the sets were great, I don’t have a single complaint about any of them. The vibes were perfect for being pool side and everyone was all smiles. I think the set of the day goes to Kevin Saunderson who I wasn’t very familiar with and who played a flawless set full of pure House tunes. At one point I looked over and realized Jeremy Olander was standing next to me and it was enjoyable having a chat with him – it was even cooler seeing him come out to enjoy some music by some of the biggest veterans in the dance music game. A brief downpour had us hiding for cover for a bit, but that didn’t stop the party and we were able to stay through most of MK’s set.
At night we did a bit of double dipping. First it was off to Nikki Beach for the night edition of No Sugar Added. The outdoor portion had ended but there were still two levels of parties taking place inside. This was clearly an 18+ party and the sounds were geared towards more of a Big Room and Electro-House vibe. For the time I was there Clockwork was on the main floor and Tritonal were on the second floor – both acts were playing very similar music. After coming from hours of pure unadulterated House and Techno, it was a little difficult getting into some of the more mainstream “EDM” sets that have been watering down the dance music scene recently. I love Clockwork but I just wasn’t feeling all the triplet-infused “go to war” stuff he was playing.
Luckily the girls I was with wanted to hit another party and although I was reluctant, I’m very glad we did. We headed to Trade nightclub where two awesome parties were taking place. Downstairs it was Dusky Presents where the Brits were playing a three hour set. When we first arrived we had no idea that a massive party was going on upstairs, featuring a Maceo Plex back to back set with Danny Daze. We got up there and the room was huge, dark, and LOUD. It was quite a pleasant surprise walking into the thumping bass and underground vibes – way better than the cheese party I was at before. I found out this set was being recorded for Deep Ellum @ Trade on Be-At.TV and you can watch it HERE. I had a lot of fun with this party that went til 5am and it was a great way to close out Miami Music Week. Listen to the set below:
My one regret was not making it to the Deep Dish reunion party. I heard it was epic and the official press release doesn’t make my absence any easier to swallow:
“On March 29th Deep Dish (aka DJs Dubfire and Sharam) made their much anticipated headline return at Miami’s Ice Palace Studios. Selected as one of Miami Music Week’s can’t miss shows by dance music’s finest publications, Deep Dish brought along friends Andhim, Hot Since 82 and Carl Craig for a night (and morning) to remember.
Introduced by Pete Tong, and with some of dance music’s biggest names in attendance, Deep Dish took to the stage under the cloak of darkness with their mysterious ambient intro signaling their return. Several minutes of build kicked into a 4/4 beat that revealed a massive stage spanning LED wall with three-dimensional arrows caging Deep Dish. Through the next six hours Deep Dish went on a techno and house music journey through the past, present and future. In addition to dropping their own “The Future Of The Future (Stay Gold),” “Dreams,” “Flashdance” and current hit, “Quincy,” they also showcased solo productions including Dubfire’s “Exit” (feat. Miss Kittin)” and Sharam’s “Tripi (feat. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band)” along with tracks from the SCI +TECH and Yoshitoshi labels.
It was an unforgettable night and the first step in what’s going to be a huge summer for Deep Dish. Catch them next at Bal en Blanc in Montreal on April 20th, Hakkasan in Las Vegas on June 1st and Digital Dreams in Toronto on June 28th. More dates will be announced soon.”
And finally – here are some sets from Ultra 2014 to keep you occupied!