Sunday, a day typically reserved for Jesus. And if I were a praying man, I'd probably throw on a pair of kakis and confess that I was involved in a massive seaside dry-hump last night.
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. Over the course of seven hours, this indie music blogger was totally seduced by the fun of $14 gin and tonics and the pretentiousness of VIP. I was inside Swedish House Mafia's Masquerade Motel, and if it that makes me a heathen, a low-life, a pookie head, or whatever, so be it.
I'd rather be accepted into the kingdom of house music, than lame-ass heaven anyhow.
Press check-in for the Masquerade Motel started at 11:45 a.m. However, a much-needed mid-morning nap lasted longer than expected, and delayed my arrival.
When I finally got there, though, Armand Van Helden was on the decks to welcome me with an hour-long set of hip-hop-meets-house that had tanned frat bros and sorority girls fist-pumping like Jersey Shore extras. I watched as a sea of people put their hands in the air for Miami, and yelled things like, "I fucking love this shit," and "Woo woo! Woo woo!"
Montreal's A-Trak followed Helden, and kept Miami dancing in the sand with his killer set that included an edited "Pop that Pussy." Perhaps it was a subliminal message for Miami-Dade voters to remember New Times' favorite columnist, Uncle Luke, is running for mayor and needs your vote. Or maybe it wasn't a campaign ad at all, just a tribute to Miami's OG party players, 2 Live Crew, at South Beach's biggest house party.
Photo by Yesenia Hernandez
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In any case, it was around the time A-Trak was wrapping his set that I met up with some friends at one of the back bars for a drink. At $14 a pop, the gin and tonics were heavy on the wallet but equally heavy on the alcohol. Shout out to the makeup-wearing dude with a Mohawk behind the bar.
Just as Calvin Harris walked on stage and A-Trak was bidding adieu, a young man (probably on academic probation at his mid-Atlantic university) approached me with a rather serious look on his face.
"Hey, do you now where I can get some mollies?" he asked.
"What's that, dude?" I jokingly replied.
"You know, rolls." He nervously said.
"Oh, you mean like ecstasy and shit?"
"Yeah, dude," he replied, thinking he'd hit the pill pusher jackpot.
"I don't have any. But, uh, just ask around and you'll likely find something."
Back on the stage, Calvin Harris was the only DJ to mix Fatboy Slim, which was dope. He played "Praise You," and the crowd praised him for brilliant song selections.
A few cocktails after Harris' set, and somewhere during Dirty South's slot, a fight broke out near the back of tent in typical Miami-tough -guy fashion. For whatever reason, a dude wearing a grey tank, and sporting a colorful Virgin Mary on his arm went apeshit on some shirtless dude.
"Fuck you, bro."
"I'll fucking kill you."
The fight only lasted about two minutes. But eventually, they squashed the beef with a man-hug and a little fist-pumping.
Masquerade Motel ambassador Pete Tong.
Photo by Yesenia Hernandez
When Pete Tong took the stage, I positioned myself across from the Provacateur VIP lounge on an unnamed "black wristband only" platform. I had a blue wristband, but convinced the hired security "all access" meant just that, "all access." (BTW It most certainly does not. All access is like saying something's expensive. What's expensive? What's all access? Semantics, yo.)
Not surprisingly, Pete Tong's mixes were very Euro. He's a 20-year veteran of the BBC 1 radio station, an Englishman with a passion for dance music, and very excited to be part of SHM's Masquerade Motel.
"You're witnessing some Miami fucking history tonight," Tong told the crowd. " Welcome to the Masquerade Motel, the one and only, One Night Stand."
The stage was cleared of any equipment after Tong's set, and an impromptu "Seven Nation Army" chant erupted against the relative quiet between the British DJ's final song, and preparation for the Motel's headliners, Swedish House Mafia.
At 9 p.m., Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Axwell appeared high atop the Masquerade Motel stage in a custom LED DJ booth. There were fireworks, lasers, and more fist-pumping.
"Miami, make some fucking noise," Axwell yelled, as the other two-thirds of SHM stared into the massive orgy of sweaty bodies.
Immediately, shit got wild. A dude in VIP dumped an ice bucket (still cooling three bottles of Grey Goose) over his head. Girls wearing little more than wristbands and neon sunglasses were hoisted onto their partners' shoulders and fell into a deep Swedish trance as SHM pumped out beat, after beat, after beat.
A young security guard told me how excited he was about Masquerade Motel, assuring me, "This is the greatest job in the world!" He pointed at a bulge in the right pocket of his cargo pants, and said. "Look at this! I made a thousand dollars, bro. This is fucking nuts." Moments later, that security guard found out just how crazy his job really is.
At 10:15, a shirtless man in general admission ran to the VIP platform where the security guard was stationed, and frantically said, "We need help, some guy just had an overdose."
The security guard called for help as a group of guys carried a seemingly lifeless body to the edge of the VIP platform. House music grew louder and louder as a poor young man laid in the sand while friends hysterically tried to revive him, shoving a crushed water bottle into his mouth to prevent him from biting his own tongue off.
Only a handful of people in VIP even noticed the commotion, even though it was happening just four feet below them. One girl watched in horror as it all unfolded, repeatedly doing the sign of cross as tears streamed down her cheeks.
The last I saw of that guy, a paramedic was dragging him to safety. But watching that guy lose it put me on a bad one. The remaining half-hour of Swedish House Mafia's two-hour set wasn't fun anymore.
For the masses, though, it was fucking epic. The fist-pumping came to a close with fireworks, and an unexpected visit from Pharrell Williams on "One (Your Name)."
My stay at the Masquerade Motel was up, and I checked out with a lot of great memories, and one pretty terrible one.