October 25, 2014

Miami Diary, Pt. 1: Pool Parties & Puddles

1_Hardwell3_Aaron Davidson
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Hardwell at SiriusXM Music Lounge.
Photo: Aaron Davidson

Miami Beach, Fla. – Is it WMC (Winter Music Conference) or MMW (Miami Music Week) now? Does it matter anymore? Not really. Whether you wanna gain knowledge, do the industry schmooze or just get your groove on all week, there was something for you this past week in South Florida.

I was a couple days behind the schedule of my New York compatriots, so I missed the WMC component entirely. Nonetheless, I did my best to hit as many DJ-related events as natural human energy would allow. As usual, the seesaw of balancing South Beach parties and downtown events had its challenges, but we managed to get around plenty. It all went like this:

March 27: Thursday’s schedule started strong, first with a visit to the SiriusXM Music Lounge at the W Hotel where Hardwell’s camp took over for the day. The music? Banging—hard and loud, like an airliner taking off. After doing the essential industry schmooze at the W, we headed to the Surfcomber Hotel pool for the Armin van Buuren & Friends party, featuring rising star Andrew Rayel and, of course, the king of the trance castle… Armin himself.

The early afternoon attendance was lighter than expected for the opening acts. Needless to say, the crowd of beefcakes beefed up as the day wore on. Lots of pumping trance here. Caught Ørjan Nilsen’s set, which was followed by Andrew Rayel’s, whose take on trance incorporated slightly more ethereal elements than his predecessor. Eventually, the joint reached capacity, so we ventured onward.

That Night: Next up on the agenda was “20 Years of Ovum” at Treehouse. That’s when the techno floodgates opened… literally.

How’s that? Well, during Steve Bug’s fiery set, a pool of water (from GodKnowsWhere) began to slowly creep from the front of the bar toward the main room’s dancefloor—never seen that before! Crazy enough, I was perched right next to the growing pond and I saw plenty of drunken swans stumbling in the nonsense puddle. Industrial-sized water vacuum to the rescue!

Luckily, the offending water was sucked up in a relatively quick manner. The bad news? Both bathrooms were rendered out of order, necessitating that clubgoers—party soldiers that they were—make their essential pitstops next door at a gas station/convenience store. (Not exactly true convenience, but it would do.) Luckily, none of these bizarre circumstances interfered with the otherwise superb sets from Ovum label co-founder Josh Wink and guest spinner Joris Voorn, who packed plenty of tweaky techno punches through the minor storm.

March 28: On Friday, the First Ladies of Dance Music performed at Mova Lounge for a Fusion Radio event. DJ Ron Slomowicz worked the decks with aplomb and fine vocalists such as Kristine W and Sylvia Tosun rocked the mic. Tosun’s performance entourage also included pianist Kid Alien and Ibiza’s favorite violinist, Micah. Tasty, classy.

March 29: Saturday’s slew of events were Ultra-riffic. How can one have a bad time at Ultra Music Festival’s Carl Cox & Friends tent? Impossible. And what a lovely bunch of friends this jolly fellow has! Dubfire was laying things down in the early evening hours, followed by Loco Dice whose sly techno was a fabulous predecessor Carl’s signature big-room beats. Oh yes, oh yes!

Ultrafest was followed by the Ultra yacht party where Nic Faniculli threw down a fun, housey set, dropping early ’90s pop surprises towards the tail end. A sweet wrap-up, indeed.

Wyclef Jean - Portrait

Wyclef Jean & Solomun at Red Bull Guest House.
Photo: Robert Snow/Red Bull Content Pool

March 30: Speaking of surprises from the ’90s, the next stop on this late-night Saturday tour included a visit to the ultra-exclusive Red Bull Guest House, where Solomun and Guy Gerber ground out beats with none other than Wyclef Jean on the mic. Someone please call 911. Heart be still.

March 31: With one day remaining, it was time for one last roll in the party hay. Last Resort’s 24-hour-party lineup at Ice Palace had much to offer and, hell, if that’s my last resort, sign me up—I’ll take it. Maceo Plex and his posse held down the outdoor area, which was covered in a sea of neon palm trees. Maceo magically mastered control of the dancefloor—just doing what he does—and was effectively followed by Solomun whose outdoor set was deeper and darker than the previous evening’s selection at the Red Bull house.

But that’s not all, folks. Maceo hopped back in the booth post-Solomun only to be joined by his Miami road dawg, Danny Daze—and then they went b2b. Puddles, I tell you.

Miami, thank you for the manic fun and the temperate climes—even the mid-club catastrophes. I’m missing you already…

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