“In my mind, in my head, this is where we all came from. The dreams we have, the love we share, this is what we’re waiting for.”
These lyrics capture the vibe that we freshly tanned Easy Lovers experienced last week in Miami during the city’s festivities, but they also hint towards the anthem of our stay there in America’s #1 Spring Break destination (Read on to find out name of artist and track).
Anyway, if you haven’t already heard from your facebook/twitter feeds, Miami is an absolute wonder during Miami Music Week (MMW) when Winter Music Conference (March 16 – 25), Ultra Music Festival (March 23 – 25), and hundreds of pool/club/other events collide into one monster 7-day party. All across the city, vacationing college students mingle alongside world-renowned DJs while the sun shines, speakers boom and last but not least, everyone is partying!
With so many events to attend, how did Easy Love spend our time there? Find out after the jump.
It was the kickoff of Ultra Music Festival 2012 and all mayhem fell on Miami as floods of twenty-somethings and your personal Easy Love reporters gravitated towards one music source- UMF at Bayfront Park of Miami, FL. The 3-day event started at 4:00PM today as opposed to Saturday and Sunday starting at noon, however the lineup was just as promising.
We trickled in past the intimidating black-linen clad gates at 6:00PM with regrets of missing Neon Indian, Tommy Trash, and Nicky Romero’s sets, but got there in time for Madeon, who eased our pain at the UMF Korea stage, located in the center of the venue.
Madeon – UMF Day 1
The 17 year old DJ sounded like he’d been in the biz for years. We thoroughly enjoyed his new and unexpected layering of pop-synth melodies. After Madeon, we snuck away to see New Order at the UMF Live amphitheater, quickening our step as “Bizarre Love Triangle” traveled through the air. Soon, Porter Robinson called us and huge hoards of others back to UMF Korea where he really got the party started with tracks we would continue to hear pop up all over DJ sets throughout the weekend.
For the rest of the evening, we scurried back and forth between UMF Korea and Main Stage to catch Skrillex, Dada Life, and Wolfgang Gartner. They never allowed our legs any rest from dancing as the intensity of beats and tempos increased with each artist.
Wolfgang Gartner Closing UMF Day 1 – One of the best sets of the weekend.
The Best of Day 1 Award has to go to Skrillex because he shook up UMF’s main stage as if it was the epicenter of his self-created earthquake. He commanded the stage in his industrial spaceship set up, determined to shatter all our bones by cracking out reggae-inspired dubstep including “Ruffneck Bass,” “Rudeboy Bass” ft. Damian Marley and his closing song “First of the Year (Equinox)”. Check out the vid below to marvel at Skrillex “lifting off” in his spaceship and the amazing visuals spanning multiple screens.
Skrillex Headlining Main Stage at UMF, Day 1
It was after this set that we knew the main stage was not one to mess with. UMF had stepped up the technological effects and pyros this year (see Dancing Astronaut’s inside look at the Main Stage’s technology here) which sparked a debate between fans of EDC Las Vegas and those of UMF.
A million water bottles and fuzzy boots later, we exited Ultra’s gates to walk down the backed-up streets of Miami along with other tank top/shorts dressed creatures of the night as Day 1 tucked away to welcome Day 2. Sadly, we did not make it out to any after parties today. ZZZ…
Someone offered us 50 bucks NOT go to Ultra so we took it.
Just kidding guys, but we did miss UMF Saturday in order to attend Masquerade Motel at Grand Central Park in Miami, the “alternative” UMF of the weekend. For those who aren’t in the know, Masquerade Motel is Swedish House Mafia’s production which covers two dates (Friday March 23 and Saturday March 24) boasting exclusive all star lineups. Saturday’s talent included Third Party, No ID, AN21, Alesso, Calvin Harris and the headliners Swedish House Mafia themselves. Was it worth it? You bet.
Photo from Rukes.com
Since a couple of us had never witnessed SHM live, we had been itching to see what the hype was all about. Lo and behold, Swedish House Mafia did not leave any ear un-blasted, nor any eye un-entranced. The production value of their set singlehandedly blew UMF’s Main Stage out of the water even though it was smaller in size. Also, the event’s exclusivity made us feel particularly special to be a part of the “intimate” audience since Day 1 sold out in minutes and because SHM members Sebastian Ingrosso, Steve Angello and Axwell are found more frequently apart rather than together these days. In other words, Masquerade Motel was a beautiful EDM eclipse. Not to mention their set included all the best tracks in dance music at the moment.
First 30 minutes of Masquerade Motel, Saturday March 24 2012 hint: skip to 17:30 for amazing light effects
The first song during the curtain drop was SHM’s brand new track, “Greyhound.” They stayed consistent with their current favorites like they did at their Madison Square Garden show and BBC Radio 1 Takeover in late Feb. Listen below to SHM’s BBC Radio 1 Takeover session for a close feel to what we Easy Lovers actually heard at Masquerade Motel that night. Recognize the Essential New Tune? It’s Ivan Gough & Feenixpawl feat. Georgi Kay’s “In My Mind (Axwell Mix) which is also the special song that we had showcased above.
At the end of the to-die-for set during the encore, one of the SHM members announced, “Before we go, there’s one more thing. It’s the fact that in Miami, it’s kind of where Swedish House Mafia was born, and it was with this song…” Porter Robinson’s “Unison” (Knife Party Remix) blared over the sea of people and faded into the SHM classic w/ Laidback Luke, “Leave The World Behind.” What a perfect way for the event to close as we watched legends at work come full circle from their humble beginnings.
Swedish House Mafia – Greyhound (Live from Miami)
Curtains came to a complete close at about 10:30 which meant ticket-holders were cheated of 30 minutes (the event said it would go on til 11:00 pm.) but this extra time also meant that we could still head over to UMF to catch Avicii’s set! A controversial introduction by Madonna and an expected feel-good set from Avicii complete with fireworks later, the clock struck midnight and South Beach was beckoning for us to bounce over to our third destination of the day, the famous club Amnesia for yup, more Swedes: Alesso, Sebastian Ingrosso and Swanky Tunes!
Madonna introducing Avicii, UMF Day 2. Avicii premieres remix for Madonna’s “Girl Gone Wild”
Not much to say about another packed club experience, but we must say Amensia wowed us by their ceiling decor and floor layout. The club looked like it was its own stage at a massive and there were definitely enough people to complete the image. Miami’s clubs are definitely another beast- everyone was jumping and dancing until 5 am even though the place was like a sauna inside!
All in all, it was exciting to be in close proximity to Alesso, Sebastian Ingrosso and Swanky Tunes, who all shared the DJ Booth looking like they were having just as much fun (and drinks) as their fans. The song of the night was definitely “Calling (Lose My Mind) by Sebastian Ingrosso and Alesso feat. Ryan Tedder, a song whose recent vocal version has caused a resurge in the track’s popularity.
Even with trying to make it out as early as possible we didn’t start Round 3 of Ultra until about 5:30 for Knife Party, who we wouldn’t forgive ourselves for missing. The best part of their set was a VIP mix of “Internet Friends,” another top-played song of the weekend. Then after a few more tracks, our house music marathon took a sharp turn in the trance direction where we spent most of our time groovin’ to ASOT sounds in the Carl Cox Cocoon/ASOT 550 Stage.
Knife Party punking the crowd during “Internet Friends”
You Blocked me on facebook and now…
Dash Berlin was first on the roster to woo us at the amazing ASOT 550 stage where we were excited to see what Dash would be throwing out after he surprised us with his recent hard-hitting ASOT 550 Moscow, Russia set. Now, after hearing his remix of Band of Horses’ “The Funeral” and his Dashup of his song with ATB, “DJ Ease My Apollo Road,” live with our very own ears, we find ourselves listening to Dash Berlin on our own time more and more.
Dash Berlin bringing Emma Hewitt on stage – UMF Day 3
Then it was time to turn in a completely different direction yet again for Bloody Beetroots DJ Set at the UMF Live amphitheatre. Many had the same idea as us since every space was occupied, but the lowered center stage ensured everyone a clear view of the Italian DJ Duo notorious for their rowdy stage presences.
After Bloody Beetroots, it was time to bask in the glory of America’s Best DJ of 2011, Kaskade!
Kaskade, one known to provide new weekly mash-ups on his soundcloud and plug them into his sets, threw out a couple fresh ones during his sunset Main Stage show. It was truly a sight to see as fans soaked in all of Kaskade’s progressive house flavor recorded with the dreamy voices of his vocalists we all know and love.
Kaskade as American Champ of UMF Main Stage, Day 3
from Kaskade’s Instagram
After this, Gareth Emery brought down the house, satisfying our desire to hear his recent single “Concrete Angel” live. It was nice that he didn’t forget to include the old charmer, his mix of “On A Good Day” by Above and Beyond as well.
View from back of ASOT Stage
Then, backtracking to UMF Main Stage to see DJ Mag’s #1 DJ of the past 4 years, we fell in serious Easy Love with Armin Van Buuren, who brought the whole festival to a close. Along with including Gareth’s “Concrete Angel,” Armin played the classic “Not Giving up On Love” and a crazy mix vs. John O’Callaghan titled “In & Out Of A Raw Deal (Armin van Buuren Mashup).” The set reinvigorated our spirits to the point where we were asking for a UMF Day 4!
Armin Van Buuren’s Full Closing Set at UMF Day 3
But all good things must come to an end, and for first-time UMF attendees we couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding experience in a more beautiful city. The night ended early, at 11:00 PM, but we used this time to pack up early for lots of sun-soaking in South Beach for the next two days.
Thank you to Miami, Ultra, and all the talented DJs we saw.
Location- One thing we learned about this Miami trip, was that Miami has marvelous architecture and the most serene azure blue beaches
Stage Improvement- particularly Main Stage and Carl Cox’s Cocoon/ASOT 550 Stage
Lineup- Insomniac could never get a diverse, legendary lineup like Ultra could
No wait to get in
Girl with tree video
Water bottles- only regular plastic ones, no refill stations, obscurely located water fountains
Stages too close to one another- Particularly ASOT stage and the UMF Korea/Brasil stage
Ended too early on Sunday (11:00 pm)
Needed more directional signs
See you there next year Easy Lovers!