Fueling up for our second day of Miami Music Week (read our day one recap here) at the Sandia Bar and Grill at the Cardozo Hotel, we were treated to the taste of the true Miami flare. It’s a real bonus for restaurants to extend breakfast service to us late nighters (and all-nighters) during Miami Music Week. The outdoor ambiance of people watching, ocean breezes and the swaying palms offer a visual delight in itself. Add friendly salsa-dancing waiters and streaming salsa music that inspires passersby, including a man and his daughter and a skateboarder, to spontaneously break into dance once they hit the music stream completes the picture.
This year the City of Miami Beach celebrates its 100th anniversary with festivals and special events at the end of March. It was evident in the décor, liveliness and the added foot traffic on the roughly 10-block stretch of Ocean Drive that was closed off for the festivities. With artists like Flo Rida, Gloria Estefan and disco roots great Barry Gibb on-hand for the celebration, the anniversary music segued nicely into the party that continued for the electronic dance music of Miami Music Week.
The W Hotel lent its warm and welcoming hospitality once again on day two of the three-day extravaganza of the BMF Media/808 Music Lounge/SiriusXM extravaganza. The wealth of talent included ASTR, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, SwayJack Radio with Afrojack and Sway, Galantis, Dirty South, Axwell and Ingrosso, Steve Aoki, Borgore, Alesso, Martin Garrix, and a closeout set from Tony McGuinness and Jono Grant of Above & Beyond.
With Afrojack and Sway at the helm as Swayjack Radio, fans and media were treated to a teetering of music interspersed with editorials of past and current dance music trends, producing and mixing in electronic dance music and the history and influences that make it where it is today.
Afrojack credited his friend, David Guetta, for helping to inspire the successful concept of hip-hop meets dance and also spoke of the formation of hip house. There was candid discussion of the (mostly frowned upon) concept of ghost producing, Afrojack’s personal history of “ghetto producing,” and the idea of DJ’s new and veteran learning how to actually DJ even familiarizing themselves with vinyl.
Then there was the pleasant interruption of Steve Aoki who joined in the discussion, including reminiscing about the teaming of Afrojack and Aoki as Afroki. To sum it all up, Afrojack offered the notion of producing songs that motivate using the example of, “…hearing that song on the radio like A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’ that has you singing the chorus)…” and the promising observation that disco is definitely making a comeback in the UK.
It was appropriate that Steve Aoki kicked off his set with the Afrojack and Aoki hit “No Beef.” He introduced “I Love It When You Cry” with “This is ‘I Love It When You Cry’ with vocals by Moxie. She has the most amazing voice. I hope you love it.” Known for his props and antics, Aoki depleted the cryogenics gun into the crowd and was accused by MC Geronimo of, “making a real mess up here,” referring to residue left from the depleted gun. Fans took advantage of his brief Q&A session at the end of his set with one eager female prodding about the equipment he uses for producing and mixing while another female fan simply asked, “Do you have any cake and if you do, can you throw it at me?”
Borgore delighted the crowd with his fun-filled topics of twerking and beat down and his sing-alongs like, “If you’re a ratchet and you know it, claps your hands,” and ended playing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” on the decks by changing the pitch of an extremely short loop.
The finale of the day came from a 30-minute indulgence from two of the three members of Above & Beyond with Geronimo’s introduction of, “This is Tony McGuinness and Jono Grant, also known as Above & Beyond. Gentleman, start your engines!” They played mostly from their latest album release including “We’re All We Need,” “Sticky Fingers,” “Blue Sky Action” and “Peace Of Mind.”
Testing the kickoff of the Beatgasm “free with app download” party at the Clevelander Hotel it’s safe to say, “a lot of people got the memo.” Through the arranged interview with the talented, Jeff Montalvo (a.k.a. Seven Lions), we had exclusive access to the fourth floor terrace. The bird’s eye view offered the captivating visual to the successful event unfolding below us, and the illuminated and vibrant nightlife of Ocean Drive. Seven Lions wowed the crowd with a sequence of hits from “Days To Come” to “Fractals.” Now knowing a bit of insight to his inspiration, ambition and determination of creating a quality product it’s no wonder to the success of Seven Lions’ fiery and quality set and the apparent exhilaration he felt giving this gift of music to his fans.
Images by Kathy Vitkus (@edmforlife)