Photo by Ava Berlin: jeffreyandava.com
Miami’s annual family reunion of DJs is as much a celebration of the best dance music of the past year as it is a preview of what you’ll be dancing to all summer—and what will be on the radio in two years. This year more than ever, we heard a lot bubbly-poppy latin beats a la SonicC or Buraka Som Sistema, a lot of solid bassline, and a more-house-and disco, less-banger vibe, pushing 4/4 beats without the chainsaw synths that dominated electro for the last few years.
Rather than drone on about the nice weather (one thunderstorm withstanding), free drinkskis, amazing run-ins and a blogroll of namedroppings, I’m going to give you my own highlights of the festival:
12th Planet – SMOG vs. Basshead at White Room
This one must was of the most undisputed “best sets” of WMC. Hours after the performance, the twittersphere was aflutter with praise for the three-hour dubstep set by LA’s 12th Planet. The stage was packed with some of the best bass hounds in the business all screaming and raising their hands as John (of 12th Planet) interweaved bassline and dubstep into a nostril-oscillating performance.
Bloody Beetroots (Live) at ULTRA
Now, I must disclose I didn’t personally get the chance to see this set first hand, but it deserves to be mentioned here as it was a landmark set and probably one of the most unique performances at the festival. Bloody Beetroots brought to ULTRA live drums and keyboards, plenty of Venom masks, a carton of cigarettes and some of the most horrifyingly awesome dance sounds to ever bounce off the palm trees. The videos give you a pretty good idea of what the show consisted of, but first hand accounts place this show at legendary status: a perfect fusion of live performance and bleeding edge song production and dance music.
Erol Alkan - Fixed Loves Durrrr at Vanguard
This set is making my list because of the complete uniqueness of sound Erol brings to the floor—I don’t think he played a single “house” or even “electronic” track in his set. The heavy remixes of funk, garage, miscellaneous, and soul were so flawlessly edited and played it bordered on a new genre, with the pleasant aftertaste of an insurmountable record collection. Joined by Classixx, JDH, Dave P and Aeroplane, every room of this party was filled with some of the best remixes you’ve never heard.
Duck Sauce – Fool’s Gold at Grand Central
Time after time, I told myself, this is not a party to miss. Alright, terrible jokes aside, this live debut did not disappoint. The “Grand Central” was pretty much an abandoned building, the sign seemingly printed on an inkjet and taped to an outside wall. Miles away from the luxury mega-clubs of South Beach, this party brought the true fans of WMC who weren’t going to pay 100 dollar covers or even consider bottle service. The music was absolutely flooring—Treasure Fingers, Sammy Bananas, Congorock, but Duck Sauce really brought everyone to a complete state of dancing panic.
Trouble and Bass – White Room
Pretty much an annual staple, the Trouble and Bass “Temple of Boom” party showed that this group has no intentions of slowing down. The Captain, AC Slater, Drop The Lime, Buraka Som Sistema, Skeet Skeet and more shipped in a few thousand pallets of bass from NYC and more than a few now deaf fans wobbled their way into sunrise after this all out facemelter.
Jack Beats - HARD Pool Party at Fontainebleu
The HARD Pool Party bore almost no resemblance to its sister parties in LA and NYC, with the exception of an astronomical line-up for a relatively small hotel pool. Busy P, Erol Alkin, Boyz Noise, DJ Mehdi, Jack Beats and more destroyed this tiny poolside stage packed with more half-naked dancers, watergun fights, and beachball madness than MTV’s The Grind. Jack Beats really stood out here: his signature wobbly fidget sounds were well executed and sounded alien and bizarre. There were apoplectic repercussions to every breakdown, and the builds seems to cause a few panic attacks.
Ed Banger Showcase at Cameo
Proving there is more to Ed Banger than Justice and the ed bangers of 2006, Ed Banger’s showcase highlighted the shape of French electro to come. More subtle and refined than the grating-sounding early records, every new Ed Banger respectably killed the dance floor with a flurry of unreleased gems and remixes. All of the French scene was well represented: Busy P, DJ Mehdi, Surkin, Brodinski, Feadz, Joakim, Krazy Baldhead and of course the noticeably absent Justice and Daft Punk, but you can’t have everything I suppose. Check out Surkin’s new EP Silver Island for a taste of the vibe.
There were an astronomical amount of parties that did not make this list, including an even more impossible list of parties I didn’t even make it to myself. It would take the entire SLUG staff times two to even begin covering this gigantic of a festival, which completely consumes Miami. That being said, I enrolled San Francisco Socialite Ava Berlin to help us out with the photo side of things: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffreyandava/sets/72157623720771166/