As I enjoyed my three-egg omelet and fresh-squeezed orange juice, I reveled in the fact that when you ask for orange juice in South Beach, 95% of the time you automatically get fresh squeezed (it’s all they serve.) And you can enjoy breakfast at many establishments until 1 pm and dinner (a full dinner menu!) even up until 11 pm and beyond! The restaurants and establishments certainly appreciate the DJ lifestyle schedule and cater to them and their fans!
Heading up the boardwalk, soaking up the scenic view of the Atlantic on one side and the classic, art deco hotels on the other, I made my way to the Belve Music Lounge at the W Hotel for an intimate and chic setting of live music, interviews, and some complimentary cocktails. Hooking up with my PR rep at the entrance I got banded and was told to, “…go in, have a cocktail, and enjoy!” She added, “There are so many DJs in there, you could throw a rock and you’ll hit one!” Well, I’m not sure I’d want to that and I’m sure this wasn’t meant literally but she was right about the “so many DJs” part.
This event is definitely a who’s who in the industry mingling with the likes of Ferry Corsten, Avicii with Cazzette, Bossi and Nic Chagall of Cosmic Gate, Emma Hewitt, Morgan Paige, Adrian Lux, Tony McGuinness & Jono Grant of Above & Beyond, James Grant of Anjunadeep fame, Mat Zo, and Gabriel and Dresden who also gave an up-close-and-personal performance in the lounge courtyard. BT was there and more than thrilled to offer how excited he was to have some recent studio time with DJ tyDi when I asked him about it. He was ecstatic for their progress made and for their collaborative efforts.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Tony McGuinness of Above & Beyond. We nabbed an air-conditioned spot in the lobby of the suite, found the only two available seats, kicked back and talked about everything from their upcoming trio of nights in LA to dubstep making its mark on the industry. (More on that interview later…)
I was offered, and fortunately able to also squeeze, in an interview with Mat Zo. I am thrilled and grateful this did not become a missed opportunity. When Mat was only two years old his mother was already teaching him the art of music. He continued with his craft and is already a stellar and respected artist in the industry at the tender age of 21. He spoke of his artistic collaborations with Arty and his relationship with Above & Beyond. Once again more on this interview later but to sum up Mat Zo in one word, “impressive.”
As I was leaving the Belve Lounge DJ Liquid Todd was at the decks filling in between the featured DJs offering house renditions and dance mixes that had the crowd doing just that. Dancing. I was always fascinated by the disco era which has always been enigmatic to me since I of course was not able to indulge as it was before my time. I heard DJ Todd start to meld into what sounded like Disco Inferno (at least in my mind.) Well, he segued right into a modern mix of, what else…..that’s right, “Disco Inferno.” Classic, and thank you, Liquid Todd, to allow me to indulge a bit and give us all a vicarious sample of what it was like back in the day.
In the evening as the sun lowered over the skyline of downtown Miami, Above & Beyond began their Group Therapy show at the Bayfront Park Amphitheater and the setting was perfect. DJ Andrew Bayer delivered the so fitting, Signalrunners “Meet Me In Montauk” as if this track was written for a beautiful night like this.
Arty offered some of his own creations that we know and love like “Mozart” and “Kate,” Ferry Corsten’s fun-loving “Punk” and a remix of the Above & Beyond festival and dancefloor classic “Satellite” as the crowd’s enthusiasm exploded knowing where that once came from.
Mat Zo took to the stage and gave us “Superman,” and a sampling of the Eric Prydz classic “Call On Me.” He even got himself dancing at the decks to the Mat Zo mashup of the energetic Dada Life vs. Avicii “Kick Out The Levels Motherfucker.”
Crisscrossing light beams projected high above the amphitheater throughout Above & Beyond’s set while their backdrop presented graphics and messages to the fans. It was also entertaining to watch the projection of way larger-than-life, moving imagery, like the spinning “Skrillex” name and logo, on the Intercontinental Hotel in the Miami skyline move in time with music whether it was intentional or not.
The finale artists, Tony McGuinness and Jono Grant of Above & Beyond, kicked off their set with the enchanting resonance of “Alchemy,” a more mystical remix of The Chemical Brothers’ “Swoon,” and their own “On My Way To Heaven,” in keeping with the surreal theme. They played Andrew Bayer’s “Keep Your Secrets” featuring Molly Bancroft and their super hit all over last year’s Ultra Music Week but still with staying power for this year’s events “Sun and Moon.” They wrapped up with cryogenics, flashing beams of light, and confetti blasts while “Prelude” echoed throughout the amphitheater.
Enjoyed a (very) late night dinner at Cardozo at 11:45pm because we can…and we were hungry.
Images by Kathy Vitkus