Miami Music Week kicked off in style last week, with thousands of electronic music lovers descending on the Florida city.
Check out our review of events below, as well as 31 insanely amazing photos from the week.
Action for the DJ Mag crew begins on Tuesday evening with Doorly & Friends at the 1 Hotel Rooftop, which involves some nifty back-to-back action with Skream, Kolsch and Solardo.
Then it was all about the DJ Mag Poolside Session at midday Wednesday — which was possibly our best Miami party yet.
After a quick hotel pit-stop, we head off to Basement for DJ Harvey & Seth Troxler at Basement. Situated literally in the basement of swanky Miami Beach Edition hotel, we arrive just as DJ Harvey is leaving. We try to persuade the legendary figure to jump back on the decks, but he was done, taking off into the night.
Moving onto the dancefloor, Seth’s spinning tracks including Loni Clark’s ‘Rushing (Mood II Swing dub)’ and Terrence Parker’s ‘Spiritual Warfare’, dressed in a leopard print shirt in a neon lit room flanked by leather clad stage performers. It all results in a distinctly Studio 54 vibe, with buddies such as Dubfire, D’Julz and Eats Everything all around to support.
The DJ Mag crew then embark on a crazy mission downtown to catch the end of Rodrigo Viera’s Brazilian-themed bash at Level One. Sadly the event is over by the time we arrive, but instead of going home we decide to check out a bar round the corner from Space. And what a find it is!
The Corner is billed online as a "dirty hipster joint", but — while there were a fair few beards — it’s really a car crash of Miami culture. There’s a friendly but wild vibe to it, and we decide it’s our new favourite bar in the world. Ironically after our miss earlier in the night, on the decks the resident has a distinct flavour of DJ Harvey about him, mixing Italo disco with classic rock, and even Chayell’s ‘Beach’ – a favourite of Harvey’s in Ibiza last summer.
A couple of drinks later and we decide to check out Space, where we get the knock-back cos one of our crew is wearing flip-flops. After humorously trying to blag shoes off departing punters in Claptone masks, we decide to call it a night.
Thursday, and it’s time for a bit of R&R. One of our crew raves about Sasha’s amazing poolside set as we grab the customary Buffalo chicken wings and American-sized burger and then venture out later to Honey Soundsystem’s night at FLOYD - Downtown again, in between Space and Heart. In the Art Deco basement bar, to a mixed gay crowd, Kim Ann Foxman laid down some cool electro-tinged grooves while the San Francisco crate-diggers hung out at the bar before spinning.
We zip back to The Corner for a quick fix of its Glastonbury backstage bar vibes before heading into Heart. We head straight up to the Sci+Tec floor, where man about town Dubfire turns temporarily into a bartender and fixes us some strong vodkas from his rider.
One of his proteges, SHADED, is just beginning a live set after Kolsch serves a divine set of his prog-tinged techno — and it’s simply awesome. The way the Californian surfer dude builds from a stripped-back affair into supreme funky tech is exquisite, sounding something like Recondite were he to make tracks for Miami’s sun-kissed setting rather than a Berlin warehouse.
Kenny Glasgow then takes over, working his way around the mixer in a way somebody only of his experience can, but although the crowd reaction is huge, we were being called to Paradise at Space next door.
We arrive just in time to catch a great set from one of our favourite DJs, like, ever — Green Velvet. And he delivers with aplomb. ‘Flash’ had the “Cameras ready, prepare to flash” hook filtered and fucked up like crazy, while ‘La La Land’ — subsequently stolen from him by Hollywood for the title of a mediocre musical — was triumphant. Speaking through his headphones in a warped vocal as the sun rises over the Space terrace proves to be a highlight of the week.
Despite DJ Mag editor Carl Loben going on about how much the Space Terrace has changed since Tenaglia’s marathon sessions there 15 years ago (something about car parks?), Jamie Jones expertly lays down some strange sampladelic weirdness over his sexy disco-tech, as silver-painted dancers cavort on podiums and lasers dissect the stifling air - with it, Paradise lay claim to one of the wildest parties of the week.
Friday begins the weekend of Miami Music Week with some of its strongest parties. tINI & the Gang hit the Biscayne Lady Yacht on a blustery day, whilst Hector takes Stacey Pullen, Cassy, D’Julz and more down to The National Hotel for his Vatos Locos party.
DJ Mag heads down to Ultra for the first night of Miami’s mega-festival though, where a stacked first day sees Martin Garrix, Mad Decent All Stars, Armin van Buuren, Tchami and many more hit the main stages.
Friday also sees Carl Cox’s Resistance concept kick into gear, split across two awe-inspiring stages - the Carl Cox MegaStructure and the Arcadia Spider. DJ Mag sees Joseph Capriati work the crowd into a frenzy under myriad light screens, before Maya Jane Coles bosses the Spider as her name is flashed on the InterContinental Hotel that looms in front of the high rises behind her. The Arcadia landing show follows, an apocalyptic performance lifted straight out of the fields of Glastonbury.
The night then brings Richie Hawtin’s PLAYdifferently, where the Canadian Detroit techno icon invites his whole crew down to showcase his groundbreaking mixer. Arriving at the party we discover that Richie isn't on until 9am. Victor Calderone is warming up the Terrace nicely with some hard tech, playing quite differently to his usual houiser affair. Inside, Louie Vega and David Morales are on a freestyle b2b mission, dropping assorted baille funk and Latin-themed beatscapes. Unfortunately we don't have time to wait until 9am.
After a fly-by visit of OWSLA’s party at Studio 23, where Justin James, Joyryde and more play to a capacity crowd, we move down to HYTE, which offers the highlight of the night – the promoter’s production at the Mana Wynwood impeccable as ever. Behind a wall of lasers, man of the moment Black Coffee offers a set that demonstrates why the South African is rapidly establishing himself as one of the world's finest selectors, using the Laolu remix of Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra’s ‘Too Much Information’ as a delirious centre point. Loco Dice and Luciano have big boots to fill following, but their impeccable selection of tribal-tinged big-room tech is the perfect way to end the night.
The legs are beginning to suffer by Saturday, but DJ Mag is live streaming Claude VonStroke’s Birdhouse Miami party, so after fuelling up with another house-sized burger prefaced by Buffalo chicken wings, it's down to see Joris Voorn, Honey Dijon, Jesse Rose and more all spin, as well as the man himself.
Skream b2b Solardo is the highlight though, with the live stream sending DJ Mag’s socials into meltdown, the packed-out crowd into rapture, and the Solardo boys domination of Miami Music Week’s tech-house parties complete. Unfortunately, rain mars Claude VonStroke’s set, where only a few die-hard faithful remain as a storm rips into the Delano Hotel’s pool area. He demonstrates his wicked sense of humour though, with the timely addition of his own Dirtybird-signed ‘The Rain Break’.
After the party, DJ Mag seek refuge from the rain in Sweet Liberty, billed as Miami Beach’s “hippest haunt”. Once the deluge eases it's down to one of the week’s most talked about parties - Damian Lazarus’ Get Lost. The secret location 24-hour party has its line-up under wraps until just hours before the event kicks off, but returns to Little River Studios for the second time in as many years. Just a stone’s throw from Miami’s art district, Wynwood, the setting offers the perfect location for Lazarus and his Crosstown Rebels posse to throw the week’s most unique event.
The line-up reads something like a Christmas list of underground house and techno, but with set times unannounced it's hard to know where to head. However, as the name suggests, Get Lost isn't about a carefully planned itinerary. After the outdoor stages come to a close the party is reduced to two dimly lit rooms connected by a small door. The bigger of the two is dominated by a series of lasers, whilst the smoke-filled second is packed with high ceilings - the party is quite simply the closest to the madness of Circoloco at DC-10 you can get without hitting the White Isle, but also an colossal event all of its own.
In the bigger room Black Coffee returns with another impeccable set of chunky-as-hell house music, before Jackmaster rolls out a set of techno that feels like it could register on the Richter scale. Lazarus b2b Art Department close Get Lost with a fitting set to end 24-hours of partying, utilising mind-bending leftfield selections including the Supermayer Lost In The Tiergarten remix of Rufus Wainwright’s ‘Tiergarten’ and I-Robots ‘Spacer Woman (Oxtongue Version)’, before finishing on the classic disco of Chic’s ‘I Want Your Love’, which sends the crowd into delirious celebration.
With just one day to go the DJ Mag crew head over to Maxine’s Bistro and Bar, opting for another round of Buffalo wings and burger to recharge before Elrow’s shindig at Mana Wynwood - which is most likely the coolest location of all of Miami Music Week’s parties. In a setting surrounded by graffiti and warehouse complexes, Elrow’s phenomenal production sees a small but up-for-it crowd bring the sun down with wAFF, Paco Osuna and Pan-Pot as well as a lot of inflateables and confetti.
We then move over to E11EVEN hotel in Downtown for the Resistance after-party, which sees Eats Everything b2b Jackmaster b2b Nic Fanciulli, Lee Foss b2b Skream b2b wAFF and more. At the start of the night Seth Troxler and Jamie Jones can be seen on stage, doubtless celebrating another successful MMW, whilst Carl Cox is also later seen sipping champagne backstage, toasting a successful first year of his Resistance concept at Ultra - which saw more than 165,000 attendees pass through its production-heavy stages.
But DJ Mag isn’t quite done, heading back into the night and towards Trade, where the Solardo lads are also celebrating taking Miami Music Week by storm b2b Detlef at Green Velvet’s closing party. After the trio are finished the Chicago legend steps up to play a set that rivals his masterclass at Paradise earlier in the week, dropping a series of his own productions on one of Miami’s biggest systems, as well as two unreleased Solardo tracks.
As DJ Mag leaves the party, the trio are being photographed together at the decks, quaffing champagne – a fitting way to end a week of intense parties in Floridian paradise.
Check out more insanely amazing photos of Miami Music Week below.
(Photos: Beth Marsh at Daddy’s Got Sweets, Stephen D Morse and Hyte)
Words: Rob McCallum & Carl Loben
Rob McCallum is DJ Mag’s deputy digital editor. Follow him on Twitter here.