Live For Live Music recently visited Miami for the biggest party week of the year for the electronic music scene, Miami Music Week. For six days, electronic music is blasting out of every nightclub, hotel, pool, restaurant, and apartment complex in all of South Beach and beyond, culminating in the weekend’s Ultra Music Festival and Masquerade Motel.We were there for the entire week, catching all of the best pool parties, club nights, and of course, the festivals. Here are some of the thoughts we’ve overheard throughout the week.
Dim Mak Showcase @ Mansion
Steve Aoki’s record label brought out a ton of artists to the completely renovated Mansion, and a lot of the talk was about the multi-million dollar changes the club has gone through over the past year. What used to be essentially a giant box now feels like Space Mountain. The lights throughout the ceiling put LIV’s to shame and the stage is a sight to behold Musically, Lil Jon’s appearance on stage with Datsik and Aoki had the crowd going wild, especially during Datsik’s surprisingly mainstream set. But it was French DJ Joachim Garraud who stole the show with a late night set, dazzling those who could still dance with his keytar skills.
Ace Agency Pool Party @ The National
While the much rumored Afrojack appearance had the crowd going b-a-n-a-n-a-s, especially when he joined the relatively small crowd to rage his friend Quintino’s set, inciting a near riot, the most fun set of the day was Shermanology – who was joined on stage by Afrojack for their hit ‘Can’t Stop Me Now’. The set featured live singing from the group, including several covers of other popular songs like ‘Sweet Dreams’ on top of a variety of beats. Afrojack also continued to come out several times throughout the day, even spinning on his own for a while.
I Love Avicii @ The Raleigh
Avicii made waves at his Wednesday pool party more for the tabloid’s fascination with Paris Hilton’s appearance than anything else.
Moombahton Madness @ Grand Central -Sazon Booya opened the night with an energetic set that wasn’t matched until headliner Diplo took the stage.
Swedish House Mafia @ Soho Studios A super secret, surprise performance by Swedish House Mafia in front of a tiny crowd – only 70 tickets were available through a twitter contest – was much talked about throughout the week. The party was thrown by Absolut, who has collaborated with the Swedes on Greyhound – a new track by the trio that coincides with Absolut’s newest cocktail. The commercial featuring the song and drink is airing now.
Laidback Luke MixMash Party @ The National
This party served as an introduction to many to the beats of Tommy Trash, whose new tracks are taking the EDM scene by storm over the past few months. However, two huge surprises stole the show: Laidback Luke was joined by Afroajck for an entire b2b set….only to be followed by a completely unannounced set from turntable champion A-Trak
Smog vs Basshead @ The National
While many complained of the short set times – most sets were under an hour, maxing out at an hour – all was made up by an action packed line-up. The biggest surprise was Caspa, who many missed due to a 12am set time, taking the stage at 5am for a late night set into the very early morning
Ferry Corsten @ Space As usual, the trance superstar played from essentially doors open to doors close. However, he was joined on stage for a while by peer Marcus Schulz who wowed the club before going to perform twice more at Space that week.
Tiesto @ LIV Tiesto brought friends Drake, Hardwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, Axwell, Thomas Gold, Benny Benassi, and more to LIV for an unforgettable night of Tiesto’s music playing well into the early morning
Ultra Music Festival
The UMF Korea tent was just absurdly packed to the point where the line-up, which was one of the strongest of the day – was almost inaudible. The Carl Cox Tent, as usual, was talked about non stop by those who couldn’t escape the bass and lights.
While the main stage gave the crowd essentially what it expected – hits from Afrojack, bass from Skrillex, and an absolute rave from Tiesto – the place to be may have been the Live Stage. Rare live sets from legends New Order and Kraftwerks may have been highlights of the entire week (tickets for Kraftwerk’s New York City shows are virtually non existent – try finding one – there are currently none on Stub hub and two on eBay for $2,000). Miike Snow bass-filled live show surprised many first timers, and the night ended with the ever popular Pretty Lights – all on a stage that featured amphitheater seating for those worn out, and ample dance space for others
Musical Freedom @ Arkadia
The main complaint was just a lack of space to really enjoy the show here. When you put Tiesto, along with a bunch of friends, into tiny Arkadia, there is bound to be some issues. It is insanely weird to see the DJ go from played to tens of thousands of people to around 400. Also, due to the amount of artists, and the fact that many came from after Ultra, meant many people missed some of their favorites David Guetta @ LIV Fire Marshals were a constant problem at LIV all weekend, as they hosted some of the biggest acts of the week. Many guests who had spent hundreds of dollars to enter just couldn’t make it in. However, for those inside, Guetta brought the entire F*** Me I’m Famous crew to LIV including lights, dancers, theatrics, and tons of friends like Afrojack, Tiesto, and Martin Solveig for an incredible night.
Swedish House Mafia @ Wall
The intimate Wall nightclub inside the W Hotel hosted the official Masquerade Motel after party. Club goers who had just seen the superstars headline there own festival were shocked to see them in such a tiny space.
Ultra Music Festival
Dubstep fans were a little disappointed that the UMF Brazil stage, which hosted superstars like Borgore, Doctor P, Flux Pavillion, Datsik, Zeds Dead and more was housed so close to the Carl Cox tent that the bass overwhelmed some of the music. However, these ragers are used to packing it in and were literally shoulder to shoulder, overflowing from the tent all day.
Madonna’s appearance with Avicii made the most waves of the entire weekend in the mainstream news outlets, but many talked about the live set from 2ManyDJs at the Live Stage.
In what was a little bit of a disappointment, M83 took longer than anticipated to set up on the Live Stage, and were only able to perform two songs, although one was mega-hit Midnight City, which the crowd went wild for.
Jacked @ Mansion
While everyone knew this was going to be an Afrojack show, this ended up being one of the most talked about after parties, as Afrojack was joined onstage by David Guetta, Steve Aoki, and Sidney Samson. Eric Morillo @ LIV Like last year, Eric Morillo had tons of friends in tow for his annual birthday celebration. Wyclef Jean joined Morillo for an intense performance, and guests like Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, DJ Chuckie, and Avicii partied the night away
Ultra Music Festival
As usual, the A State Of Trance 550 tent absolutely stole the show. Many people camped out there early in the day for Cosmic Gate, and didn’t leave until the end of the festival. The tent, which took place in the spaceship like tent full of lights and bass that housed the Carl Cox Arena, featured performances from trance superstars Sander Van Doorn, Ferry Corsten, ATB, and of course, Armin van Buuren.
The Live Stage held it’s own again with impassioned performances from Magnetic Man and a rare live set from Chase and Status.
Armin’ van Buuren’s set on the main stage to close the festival left a lasting impression on festival goers as they left the venue. Many people were talking about a new respect for trance and a new favorite DJ.
Mau5trap @ Amnesia
Deadmau5′s record label Mau5trap showcased a variety of artists on Amnesia on Sunday night. What set this apart from other after parties was the fact that the two biggest names – Deadmau5 and Feed Me – were both absent from the Ultra line-up, making this one of the only ways to catch them. Deadmau5 pulled out the Mau5 helmet and played a full set of music, much to the delight of the crowd whom may have expected only some brief cameos.
Feed Me’s set absolutely slayed the crowd – dubstep in a swanky club full of fancy lights is a sight to behold – and it was all everyone was talking about on their way out.
Mau5trap’s newest signing, The Frederick, made one of his debut performances and showed tons of promise as an up and coming artist.
Did we miss something crazy? What did you do this week in Miami? Tell us in our comments below.