Sure, Deadmau5 may think the number of headliner acts on the bill is horrible. But we have to disagree with you, Zimmerman. We haven't been this excited about an Ultra lineup in a long time.
And while only Phase 1 acts have been announced, we can't possibly see the lineup getting any better. Unless a certain French duo in robot helmets are added. (And, yes, Joel, contrary to what you said in your video, they've played music festivals before including the short-lived Bang! and Coachella.)
So here it is, the ten acts we can't fucking wait to see blow up Bayfront Park.
10. Katy B
Bear with us here. We know she's a bit too electro-pop for a lot of EDM fans' taste. But Ultra has a good record of having pop accessible acts grace its stage. (Well, Black Eyed Peas aside -- nvr4get!) Little Boots blew us away at Ultra 2010, and we expect Katy B to do the same this year. Her single, "Katy on a Mission," is the perfect balance of pop-meets-dance.
9. The Knocks
This duo's artist bio claims they "are taking a stand and reclaiming good music for all." While that may be over reaching, the Knocks harken back to a time when wobbling was something you did while walking around drunk. Their 2010 breakthrough, "Make It Better," was Peter Bjorn and John meets New York City nu-disco. In other words, their sound is clean, crisp, and sexy, which seems to be the most punk rock thing a dance act can do these days.
We are by no means a fan of Justice's sophomore clunker, Audio, Video, Disco. (Really, Justice? Three years, and this is what we get?) The whole album is a prog-rock experiment gone terribly wrong. That being said, we are curious to see how Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay incorporate the sound into a live show. Really, how much worse can "Civilization" get?
But remember how much people hated Daft Punk's Human After All when it first came out? Then when they busted out with the pyramid, everyone was like ZOMG! Best. Album. Ever.
7. Knife Party
This is a fairly new side project by Pendulum's Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen. We've never seen them live. But the stuff they've uploaded to SoundCloud sounds promising: dubstep without falling into brostep cliches. Plus, anyone who can bring out the darker side of Swedish House Mafia is a winner in our book. We may regret placing them on this list once we see them at Ultra. But let's try to stay optimistic.
If your ears need a break from the constant pounding, Metronomy will be there to rescue you. This British band is pure New Wave, meaning you better bring those dancing shoes. And we aren't talking about seizuring back and forth. Slow it down, dude, and grab a lady friend.
Unfortunately, M83 is perhaps better known these days as that band who's song is in that Victoria's Secret commercial. And if that's your only exposure to the band, then quickly pick up 2011's breakthrough album, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming. On a scale from one to ten on how excited we are to see them live, it's probably a 30. If you are smart, you'll give the tents a break and check them out.
Soulwax, 2manydjs, whatever. We saw them live at the MOCA LA Beach Bash and they blew us away. We can't wait to see what they do with a bigger stage and "pounding techno music."
If dubstep ever needs a savior, it will be up to SBTRKT to save us all. Labeled as post-dubstep, Aaron Jerome's sound is really a return to form for the UK-birthed genre. There will be plenty of dubstep, er, brostep at Ultra. But if you really want to understand how vastlly inferior the American version is compared to its British counterpart, just check out SBTRKT. And you'll never spin another Skrillex record again.
2. New Order
Three reasons we're excited about New Order: (1) This iconic post-punk band is one of those acts that you always sort of hope you'd get to see live, but never expect to; (2) EDM, New Wave, and pop music owe, like, everything to the sound that New Order crafted in the '80s; and (3) your mom is going to be so happy when you take her to Ultra to see Bernie, Peter, and Steve play "Bizarre Love Triangle"!
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Watch Kraftwerk live before we die? Check! Whine all you want that Daft Punk isn't on the bill. This is so much better.