When Moby took over the pixelated DJ pod in the Carl Cox and Friends Mega Structure last night, I wonder if he was saying to himself, "This audience is going to fucking love my set tonight... whether they like it or not!"
He immediately began egging the crowd on, pumping his arms skyward, begging for a bigger response. He pandered, starting out with a bass-heavy tribal house track anchored by the refrain, "We are... Miami." His excitement was high and the crowd caught the bug pretty quickly.
The bony bald DJ climbed on top of the lit-up booth, spreading his arms to the heavens in a gesture that stirs up images of Leonardo DiCaprio on the Titanic. He would do this at least five more times throughout the set, leaving me to wonder, and I'm sorry if this is a stupid question: Who's DJing when Moby's busy cheerleading?
Even if his foot-stomping, fist-pumping antics seemed a bit exaggerated, the result was a hopping dance floor that grew more and more circus-like by the minute. As the familiar words "Oh, Lawdy, got troubles so hard," mingled with harsh, driving drum beats, the barely clothed dancers on stage were forced into such a frenzy that they had to remove their few remaining articles of clothing.
Moby climbed atop the pod again, as the music rose into a shriller and shriller siren-like noise. Finally, it dropped into a heavy bass-beat, and the musician took a flying leap, disappearing into the center of the pod before reemerging like it was nothing. Meanwhile, a dancer dressed like an iridescent angel, complete with an opalescent flowing train, lit up the stage with broad smiles and tight dance moves.
Near the front of the dance floor, partiers hit a blockade while trying to elbow their way deeper into the tent. The obstacle's name: Mary McGilvray, a temporarily wheelchair-bound Michigan State student who broke her foot a week ago in Istanbul. Her doctor warned her that flying back and attending the festival would mean a high risk of blood clot. But that was little deterrence when weighed against attending her first ever Ultra. "Want a lollipop?" the smiling teen offered sweetly from her chair.
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The smell of clove cigarettes grew heavy, and Moby slowed it down with his beloved "Porcelain," the gentle piano sounds providing a welcome reprieve from the demanding beat he'd subjected us to for so long.
Can you feel it?
Rave is king.
Moby ended the set with an expanding and contracting sound like the chug-a-lug of a train, getting slower, getting faster, reaching a frenzied whir, and then slowing down again to a halt. And he spit the crowd back into silence.