III Points Festival 2014, Day One
With Lykke Li, Flying Lotus, Duke Dumont, and others
Soho Studios, Wynwood, Miami
Friday, October 10, 2014
Last night, III Points 2014 kicked off with the strongest musical lineup of the three-day festival.
There were a few infrastructural hiccups. Many of the bars did not accept credit cards, which is odd for a fest that claims to be on the forefront of technology. And many of the staff members were not as knowledgeable of the festival layout as we would have hoped. But these are only curmudgeonly old-man complaints.
The festival grounds at Soho Studios is equipped with a Shake Shack booth and a Panther Coffee, and that's really all you readers need to know.
Meanwhile, musically, the weekend is off to a swimmingly successful start.
The first major act of the night was Lykke Li, who crooned to an ecstatic and grateful crowd for the entirety of her set, which was authoritatively percussion heavy, with a chunky helping of distortion guitar.
She belted a selection of some of her wonderful hits, from "Little Bit" to "I Follow Rivers." Many of her songs, like the aforementioned "Little Bit," which sound a bit more polite on record, were turned into arena-ready anthems.
And whenever Lykke momentarily tired or her voice wavered (understandably), the band and a backup singer swooped in to pick the music back up.
Later, Lykke turned in a hypnotically slow rendition of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on Fire." The rising, quietly intense melody was plucked perfectly on the guitar and Li's wispy voice added a perfect degree of sexiness and isolation to the track, comparing favorably to the Chromatics' cover.
She drove the crowd nuts singing the creepy opening riff from Beyoncé's "Drunk in Love." And when she broke out the power ballad "Never Gonna Love Again," it felt like we were all dancing the last song at a Swedish prom.
Everything came together, people made out, babies were conceived.
The intense emotionality of Lykke Li was followed by a chillaxed, jazzy set from Thundercat.
While it was a nice break from the tension and overwhelming feels of Lykke, the jamminess and guitar noodling became a bit tedious after a while.
We wished that Thundercat's songs would go ... Somewhere.
A few hours later, Hercules & Love Affair began their set on the outdoor Mindmelt Courtyard Stage. They came on about 20 minutes late, which left little time to catch some of their neo-disco vibes before heading off to Flying Lotus's headlining show.
Luckily, Hercules & Love Affair packed an irresistible '80s-dance punch into each of their grooves. Their songs are instant butt-shakers, and they also seemed to be having the most fun of any band that played last night
The H&LA crew had some awesome synchronized dances, and they weren't taking the night too seriously. It was a perfect break before the whopper that would be FlyLo.
We didn't know exactly to expect from the wildly hyped Flying Lotus' Red Bull Music Academy showcase. Would he be playing songs from his new critically acclaimed album, You're Dead!? Would he be playing some of his more experimental stuff? Rapping? Mostly the latter two. This show was heavy and sweaty. FlyLo played an intense mix of heavy drones, warped vocal samples, and wildly complex and unpredictable beats. He absolutely blasted the bass to the point of noise-band deafening volume. A projector displayed a kaleidoscopic visual accompaniment on two screens: one in front of FlyLo's DJ Booth and one behind. This created a 3D optical illusion with FlyLo sandwiched right in the middle of the two screens. Simply put: it was cool as fuck. The crowd ate it up when he left the booth, went to the front of the stage, and rapped. I believe this was a Captain Murphy song. The crowd was too loud to hear the lyrics, however. The whole thing was both pretty future and fairly proggy. Flying Lotus' already highly accomplished career shows no signs of slowing down.
Jacques Greene's synthy electro grooves were definitely a cooldown in contrast to FlyLo's all-encompassing aural assault. He still kept the energy high, but like a medium high. Enough to get the water to a boil. By about 1:20 a.m., when Jacques left the stage, people started really trickling out of the warehouse and the energy noticeably began dropping.
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Duke Dumont would not come on until 2 am. While Duke is an immensely talented DJ, and we have no issue with his wonderfully pure and throwback deep house grooves, it would have been nice if he had been scheduled to start sexing the place up a little earlier. He played elongated versions of his hits, as well as some percussion house jams. Perhaps the crowd could have used a more up-beat act to mix things up in the main stage line-up. The crowd was tired, quiet, and thinning by the time Duke came on. This was supposed to be a music festival, not an endless night of clubbing on the beach! The first night was an exhausting mental and physical experience. Remember to get some sleep, dear readers!
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-III Points 2014: Miami New Times' Complete Coverage