Saturday, I took a day of rest and hibernated rather than try to hit up any day parties. I knew I was going to get sweaty as hell at Get Physical
's annual WMC throwdown later that night. Ever since I randomly wandered into this event for the first time, back in 2007 at Studio A, it's become a benchmark WMC event for me. The label pumps out some of the smartest, but still danceable and melodic, tech-house around, attracting a cool crowd that comes ready to dance without any bullshit. This is an event that goes late, and that you don't just stop by: it's an investment, but one with crazy returns in the wee-hours headlining set. This year, it was a four-person tag-team set between the guys of M.A.N.D.Y., Matthew Dear, and Damian Lazarus.
Everything Get Physical does is golden in my book, and that goes as well for every event co-signed by local crew Safe
, as this one was. So yes, I started out biased (towards good music an parties), but this year's edition of Get Physical Miami was the best one yet. (Click the link above to view a slideshow of cool photos by Crossfade contributing photog Nicole Cussell; the rest of the crappy photos that follow are mine.)
Reasons why this was my favorite party of all of WMC:
The hallway into the party.
On the way to the chill-out patio.
The main room was a cavernous warehouse, but with everything painted a clean white, it seemed expansive rather than gross. Fog machines kept just the right air of mystery, and these amazing color-changing light rods set a futuristic mood. Most importantly, the sound system was crisp, and reached all the way into the back corners, without, magically, killing one's eardrums.
That's wall-to-wall Astro Turf.
3. Vibe. The music, the location, the setting, the crowd -- all this added up to a friendly, serious-dancing party that boasted all the best elements of a late-90s rave, but a little more grown-up and without the unfortunate day-glo fashion.
The main room, before it got crowded.
4. The talent, of course.
Every Get Physical party boasts a lineup as eclectic as the music released by the label itself. When I arrived, Lee Curtiss
was playing a relatively chilled, slightly disco-inflected set. The next DJ after him was Heidi
, who, besides being cute as a button and one of my female DJ heroes (along with Annie Mac), brings a slightly house-ier flavor to her sets.
Lee Curtiss, early in the evening.
In between that, though, was the real wild card of the evening, a live performance by the French group dOP
. It's a bit of a visually mismatched trio, with two skinny guys in scarves and workout clothes manned a bank of synths and other machines while a stockier, slightly hip-hop looking dude wearing a Lei, with glitter smeared over his bald head, "sung," kind of. This consisted mostly of muttering in French, at one point devolving into orgasmic moans, alternating with the very Steve Aoki-style move of pouring Grey Goose into fans' mouths. At least this portion of the evening wasn't boring.
Tiefschwarz got things going deeper, taking the crowd through the 2-3ish slot, but the real pre-headliner highlight was the set from the venerable DJ Hell
. He's got his own label, International DJ Gigolos
, of course, but his appearance on this bill was a treat. Hell long ago shed all the vaguely electroclash trappings he flirted with earlier in the decade, and has gone back to a techier, more atmospheric sound that's Teutonic but still sexy. His sound was at once relentless but also nuanced and layered, providing a searing lead-up to the main event of the night. Here's the crowd dancing during his set, with appropriately devilish red lighting:
That was, of course, the much-heralded triple tag-team between M.A.N.D.Y., Matthew Dear, and Damian Lazarus (who marked the occasion with a strange feathery-furry gray hat). At this point, the crowd was a bit Zombieland -- lots of sunglasses in here, though it was still dark. Still, it was impossible to be distracted; the headliners, switching off at the decks, managed to lock into a robotic, shamanistic beat that killed all the mental noise. I remember, vaguely, a track that sampled the Who's "Baba O'Riley" creating a weirdly trance-y build-up, and after that, I don't remember much until my body finally gave out, and I wandered back into the early-morning and a hazy trip back to reality.