Ultra Music Festival

Carl Cox and Friends at Ultra Music Festival 2011 Day One, March 25

​The Three Deck Wizard (AKA Carl Cox) and a couple of his friends, Laurent Garnier and Loco Dice, kept last night's crowd of young heathens sweaty and screaming at the New Carl Cox and Friends Two-Level Mega Structure. (Sorry, that's what the event is calling it.)

Three-decade electronic music vet and French DJ-producer Laurent Garnier spun on a level platform on the right side of the stage. His synth-y set seethed mellowness as the sea of bodies became deliriously entrenched in the groove.

As dark set in, the bass evolved into a driving rhythm and the dance floor pulsated while smoke billowed out from the sides of the stage.

When Loco Dice took over, taking a perch atop a huge spaceship-like DJ pod (think Lite Brite on mushrooms), the energy stepped up yet another notch. He started the set with a fat gummy-bear bouncing beat. He gave a physical performance, shoving his gear and bending our ears with chainsaw sounds.

The younger people on the dance floor, their eyelids shiny, munched on lit-up pacifiers, smoked cigarette after cigarette, and jumped on the mounds of trash gathering under their feet. A middle-aged woman with mom-jeans and dumps like a truck spun glow sticks at the back of the stage... poorly. Teens hopped onto each others' shoulders, pumped their fists, and screamed like maniacs.

Then the legend himself took over the ship. True to Cox's Ultra 2010 aesthetic, tight-bodied dancers in fishnets and metallic lingerie emerged from the wings of the stage.

"I'm a big Carl Cox fan," said Nicolas Hutchins while dancing at the front of the pack. A consultant from San Francisco, he came in for his first Ultra this year. "He's the king. He should be wearing a crown," he declared.

Cox weaved brassy, soulful horns into his set while shafts of color-shifting lasers shot clear across the crowd under the immense tent. An acrobatic dancer slid dangerously down a thick draping rope hanging from the 100-foot ceilings. The floor pounded.

And the party raged till midnight. 

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Camille Lamb Guzman is a journalist who writes on wellness, travel, and culture. She is also finishing a book of creative nonfiction.