Three is a magic number, but five is a real milestone, and III Points is proud to present its fifth year of festivities this Friday, October 13, through Sunday, October 15.
It's been a long, hard road, but it's been paved with happy tears. With just four years of history, Miami's home-grown esoteric alternative has brought some of the best in music, art, and technology to Wynwood's wild streets. It's a place that inspires spontaneity and strangeness. It's become tradition to give away joints to the performers. It's definitely different from most of the other festivals these artists usually play.
It's difficult to pinpoint the most magical musical moments in III Points history. There was the time Trick Daddy and Trina took the stage in place of Earl Sweatshirt, who couldn't make it because of Hurricane Matthew. They led the crowd in a 305 sing-along that made everyone proud of their city. There was the time the Jacuzzi Boys played in a sudden downpour, never missing a beat, showcasing what real Floridians are made of. There was the time Sophie dropped hard-glitch aggro-house in the middle of the day, wrapped in the darkness of Mana Wynwood's eternal night.
Yes, there have been some truly memorable sets, but the following are our favorites so far:
1. King Krule (2015). The fire-headed demigod of droning guitar took the Main Frame stage to a higher plane. Women swooned, men cried, humans transformed into animals. The young British musician was only 21 at the time, but his warm growl and fresh blend of postpunk, hip-hop, and jazz freeform hypnotized the crowd. He debuted his song “Blood Stain Sheets” for the crowd, which included Jay Electronica. It was a soul-tickling performance, the band bathed in red lights, and, oh, could you hear those women scream.
2. Cashmere Cat (2014). The Norwegian future-bass king absolutely bodied this place. III Points' Skate Space stage turned into a sweaty loose canon. It was a total house party. People clamored to make a dance floor of every square inch, whether ballooning around the front, squeezing into the side, or smashing themselves behind the booth. Meanwhile, people were roller-skating around the back of the room. A champion DJ, Cashmere Cat dropped all of his hits and worked in a few classic R&B and pop favorites. Spice Girls, anyone?
3. DJ Shadow (2013). "It was never about me and the city," DJ Shadow said as introduction for the first-ever III Points headline set. "It was about me and, like, five people. Now I'm here DJ'ing this for you, and by the way, there's no laptop here." The last time he had played Miami, the now-defunct nightclub Mansion kicked the legend off the decks for not playing enough big-room house hits. His experimental, neck-breaking performance at III Points set the tone for the whole festival. “Too future” is what III Points aims for, and too future is what Miamians got that night.
4. Flying Lotus (2016). Brainfeeder leader FlyLo debuted at III Points in 2013, and though that set was inter-dimensional, it couldn't compete with 2016's birthday bash. Local MC Denzel Curry took the stage with Flying Lotus for a monster freestyle, and organizers gave the DJ a birthday cake with lit joints for candles, because that's how III Points rolls. It was a deluge of light and sound and a more-than-memorable moment.
5. Nicolas Jaar (2015). After a one-year stint at Soho Studios, III Points returned to its original home at Mana Wynwood. Nicolas Jaar is an experimental electronic artist so beloved he's almost mythical. His DJ set on the Main Frame stage lived up to those standards. A swirling intro gave way to a heady build. The air conditioning was broken, but devotees stayed, and the room steamed with their breath. When the A/C kicked back into gear halfway through, it mirrored the climax of the music, culminating in the closest thing to a religious experience III Points has seen.
6. Run the Jewels (2015). Before Lorde was inviting this duo on tour, Run the Jewels was the talk of the hip-hop underground. A political weapon, a bloody beat-slinger, and a microphone-slayer, Run the Jewels came through the Main Frame to show III Points what the future of real rap looks like. The love coming from the stage was given back 100-fold. El-P and Killer Mike led the crowd in political chants for Bernie Sanders and Ferguson, Missouri, and promised they'd be back to return the crazy love to Miami soon.
7. Poorgrrrl (2015). The birth of Poorgrrl at Sunday's Main Frame was something that had to be seen to be fully grasped. Cute hipster boys and girls lying on the floor, moving in some kind of otherworldly malaise, drawn to her smart, drugged-drone delivery, served cold over a fusion of experimental art with clickbait pop in a deliciously weird smoothie of “I don't know what this is, but I like the taste.” It was the most WTF moment in III Points history, and it was perfect that way.
8. Method Man and Redman (2016). “MC” isn't just a couple of letters that mean “rapper.” It stands for "master of ceremonies," and the performance from Method Man and Redman in 2016 proved that real MCs are not dead. These dudes lit up the stage with weed, energy, and ruthlessness. The party was live from beginning to end. They paid homage to Ol Dirty Bastard with a sing-along of “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” covered “Rapper's Delight,” played all the hits, and had blunts delivered to the stage by drone. Tell us that's not the dopest.
9. Jay Electronica (2015). When you're feeling the crowd and the crowd is feeling you, the stage can be a cell. Tear the barriers down and bring the whole crowd onstage. That's what Jay Electronica did, burning the mike down to the wick and even passing it around to the folks who joined him. It was a superinformal, super-feel-good time that reminded everyone to just kick back and enjoy the music for what it really is: an expression of the self and one's beautiful surroundings.
10. Thee Oh Sees (2016). If you've never seen Thee Oh Sees live, just know they bring one of the wilder crowds in rock. The garage clang of their guitars inspires temporary madness. The San Francisco band's set at III Points caused the most mayhem in Sector 3 history. The crowd turned into one giant mosh pit, the signature III Points bus overflowed with kids, from the inside out and piled on top. Even the TV sculpture at the foot of the stage toppled over — not that anybody minded. It's moments like this one that make III Points what it is.