III Points Festival 2014, Day Two
With Jamie XX, Metronomy, Cashmere Cat, Chet Faker, and others
Soho Studios, Wynwood, Miami
Friday, October 10, 2014
It's always been difficult to put on a compelling live electronic music show. And now, with more money made through performing than recording, many mainstream dance musicians have beefed up their live shows, adding all kinds of bells and whistles.
So compared to the high-flying antics of most Top 40 performers and today's EDM stars, a guy standing behind a table chock-full of electronic gadgets may seem boring to some people. Where are the costumes, the wire rigs, the holograms?
But III Points Festival fans abide by a different standard. And Saturday night's lineup of electronic savants proved that one-man bands might not have all the trappings of arena-packing pop stars, but they have something more important, actual talent.
"It's been way better than we expected this year," said Aileen Quintana, a local performance artist with her very own installation at the festival. "The acts are really giving it their all for each performance."
With expectations exceeded, fans seemed blissed out as they gathered for day two of III Points 2014 at Wynwood's Soho Studios. However, their mad chillness could also have been related to the heavy smell of pot wafting from the crowd, just a stone's throw from Miami-Dade Police Department squad cars.
Yes, music, art, and tech ... But weed was also very much at the center of the evening's festivities.
After Friday's show-stopping Hercules & Love Affair set, festival-goers were left wondering how Saturday's lineup would compare.
And admittedly, though last night was a slow build, the intensity of the evening rose and rose and rose, starting with Chet Faker, progressing through indie darlings Metronomy and Norwegian sensation Cashmere Cat, before peaking with headliner Jaime xx.
Aussie artist and infamous beardo Chet Faker has generated significant buzz over the past couple of years. He's risen through the ranks of the dance music scene by capitalizing on '90s cache with his 2013 remix of Blackstreet's "No Diggity" and dropping the notable debut slab, 2014's Built on Glass.
His stage name is a play on that of jazz trumpeter and vocalist Chet Baker, and the jazzy influences were actually quite apparent from the very start of Faker's set. In front of turntables, he sometimes seems as if he's improvising his electronic riffs. He sways and croons like Miles Davis letting it rip.
It wasn't exactly a high-octane dance set. More like what NYC jazz hangout Bemelmans Bar would feel like if it added a couple of synths and amps.
Next up was Metronomy, whose evolution has been a long time coming.
In the mid 2000s, the English band started off with a fairly straight-forward electronic vibe. But over the past few years, they've moved toward a broader indie-pop feel.
And last night, they wooed the III Points crowd with one of the most involved live shows a dance band can put together. It all had an artsy, David Byrne-type feel to it, and the choreographed dance routines and synchronized lighting schemes made sure that Metronomy stood way above the pack in matters of stagecraft.
Not only was the tuneage catchy, but the visuals were mesmerizing.
It's been two years since Cashmere Cat broke onto the scene with the 2012 release of his first EP Mirror Maru. And for those who still haven't vibed with this suave feline, his sound is all about stirring up classic R&B and hip-hop with bass music. (No wonder throwback pop diva Ariana Grande tapped the Cat to collaborate on one of the top tracks, "Be My Baby," off her sophomore album, My Everything.)
With that signature sonic recipe, this Norwegian kid (born Magnus August Høiberg, now 26 years old) struck a generationally significant chord with the younger members of last night's III Points crowd.
Høiberg took the stage dressed in a demure hoodie and a baseball cap. As he started to jam, you could see this was going to be a very different kind of one man set. While the music played, Høiberg jumped around to the music, artfully pressing buttons, and turning nobs on his terminal.
It was upbeat, youthful, and irreverent -- a nice contrast to Faker's moody improvisational style.
The night came to a crescendo as Jamie xx (of, yes, The xx) took the stage at approximately 2 a.m.
Throngs of fans anxiously waited, suffering through the oppressive humidity just to hear Mr. xx (AKA Jamie Smith) work some digital magic.
This headlining solo act was also the most unassuming of the night's performers. Behind his infectious beats, the real Smith is a young, charmingly nebbishy Brit, who opted for the simplest of all stage attire -- the plain black t-shirt.
Throughout his time behind the decks, Smith kept his head down, rarely making eye contact with the fans, as he bobbed to the rhythm. And his hour-long set featured crowd-pleasing hits, as well as never-before-heard of tracks.
Drinks were spilled. And the party peaked. But then around 3 a.m., the whole production wrapped up, as III Pointers filed out of Soho Studios, many still dancing and bouncing to the vibes while they streaked down the street, seeking out afterparties and counting the hours till the fest's final night.
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-III Points 2014: Miami New Times' Complete Coverage