While Hurricane Matthew threw an obvious speed bump into Friday night's festivities, there would be no excuse for not pulling things off on day two.
Luckily, that's exactly what III Points did.
With every stage up and operational — and with only slightly amended set times — Saturday night showcased some of the best III Points moments we've seen in the festival's four years. The crowd appeared to be nearly double the size of Friday's, and attendees darted from stage to stage, drinking in highlights from Method Man and Redman, Thievery Corporation, Poorgrrrl, and others.
Blunts were delivered via drone. People waited in line to see what it feels like to visit Mars (spoiler alert: awesome). And some random dude kept walking around with a pineapple hoisted above his head.
Welcome back, III Points. Welcome back.
Inside the Sunset @ Noon space, a glowing, platinum-blond woman stood onstage, lit by blue light as a handful of photographers knelt to capture her ethereal visage. In her structured, stark-white outfit, she looked like a kinder niece of the White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia. This is Virgo, whose introverted performance style quickly melted away the distance felt by the audience trapped behind a wall of photographers. Playing a mix of styles ranging from industrial to trap, she clutched her microphone and closed her eyes as she sang, making eye contact with the audience for only nanoseconds at a time. She focused her attention solely on the synths in front of her as she shaped the beats live. At other times, she sang off to the side, her alien voice floating above her looped production as she snapped her shoulders along to elements in the songs. The reserved performance lent a feeling of intimacy few acts at III Points could capture. At times, it felt like the crowd had been invited to her living room, an illusion that was broken occasionally when the boisterous sound of the stage next door overpowered her demure presentation. She slinked offstage before anyone knew it was over, perhaps slipping back into the world beyond the wardrobe. — Celia Almeida
So here we are, exactly one year since Tara Long’s musical-act-meets-performance-artist Poorgrrrl debuted at III Points 2015. In the past year, Long managed to put out an EP, Pitiparti. I still wondered, however, if Long could keep Poorgrrrl going for very long because, let’s be honest, the performance-art aspect of it all won't appeal to a wide audience if the music isn’t equally catchy. It's safe to say Poorgrrrl and her sidekick Byrdipop have grown a lot in a year. Both are much more confident onstage, with Long’s vocals showing an outstanding amount of growth and Byrdipop seeming less shy than he's appeared in the past. There was plenty to look at during the show, with a whole troupe of dancers taking over the stage. All eyes, however, were on Poorgrrrl during the entire set, which opened with two unreleased tracks and then moved on to more familiar cuts such as “We Trashy” and “Super Rude,” which featured an assist by Jenee, who was the only other person onstage who somehow — briefly — stole the spotlight with her boasts of her “pussy-poppin’ capabilities.” But Poorgrrrl did more than just confuse listeners this time. She cast aside any doubts as to her place on that stage. Poorgrrrl is legit, people, and I can’t wait until she releases a full-length. — Jose D. Duran
Thee Oh Sees
What’s better than one drum kit? Two, obviously. The latest incarnation of John Dwyer’s influential rock beast Thee Oh Sees is a four-piece that features two drummers who should be gold medalists in the nonexistent sport of synchronized drumming. With eight albums in 11 years (and another on the way), Thee Oh Sees is a prolific, tireless sojourn of effort and skill. Live, the band is psychedelic-punk mastery that sounds like a chainsaw humming a beautiful hymn. Every song is a goddamn powerhouse of controlled chaos. Dwyer and company have blended the quiet/loud audio seesaw of the Pixies with the raw power of Iggy Pop and the Stooges. The band's 1 a.m. set was guitar rock that gets into the circulatory system and forces the heart to beat faster, pumping blood at a pace suitable for a world-class sprinter. Some of longer cuts that allowed the group to stretch its legs out, lingering in the 7-minute range and beyond, initially went off on tangents; however, they never got lost. As with the show as a whole, Thee Oh Sees left a trail that was easy to follow, oftentimes to a mighty, explosive conclusion. — Angel Melendez
Method Man and Redman
“Do you wanna hear some '90s music?” The disembodied voice of Method Man addressed the eager crowd from just offstage. The air of the indoor Main Frame stage was humid and growing thick with weed smoke. Then the Wu-Tang legend appeared alongside his iconic bestie Redman, and the pair proceeded to lay waste to any and all competition. Moving chronologically across hits like “Blow Your Mind,” “All I Need,” “Bring the Pain,” and more, the duo brought energy like an adrenaline drip. Indeed, energy is one of the two things everyone must bring to a Meth and Red show — the other being weed, as they reminded us. Never known to half-step, the “How High” rappers had blunts delivered to the stage via drone midperformance. The place was at a fever pitch by the time the dudes honored Ol' Dirty Bastard with a sing-along of “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.” Method Man thanked Miami for showing more spirit for that part of the show than he'd felt from a crowd in the last decade. Begrudgingly, they walked offstage, but only after a murderous finale of “Da Rockwilder” and a cover of “Rapper's Delight” — and after delivering an electric feeling during the set that will shine bright in the memory of the III Points history books. — Kat Bein
Peak Junior Boys came in 2007 with the cut “In the Morning.” You seriously couldn’t go to an indie-dance night in Miami without hearing the familiar synthy intro declaring, “Too young,” so the Canadian duo’s set at III Points definitely had a nostalgic tinge for me. When “In the Morning” was performed halfway through the set, I couldn’t help but be transported back to spots like Pawn Shop Lounge and the Vagabond where I would dance until sunrise. And the song was just as good as I remember, aging remarkably well despite its birth at the height of the dance-rock era. Overall, their set was an impressive combination of live instrumentation, synthesizers, and Jeremy Greenspan’s breathy falsetto. The setlist cherry-picked cuts from the band's five studio albums and two EPs to deliver a show that was satisfying and gave the audience all the songs they wanted to hear while also including future classics like “Big Black Coat” and “Love Is a Fire.” In the end, Junior Boys finally got to show III Points attendees what the Mind Melt stage was capable of. — Jose D. Duran
“Instead of sound-checking today, we sat in the airport all day,” warned DIIV frontman Zachary Cole Smith a handful of songs into his Saturday night set. But save for the glitchy tour video behind them and the hyper-ironic Brooklyn hipster stage banter, the band lit up the outdoor Mind Meld stage without a single stumble. Steamrolling through songs from DIIV's beloved album Oshin and the band's latest, Is the Is Are (a harrowing guided tour through the depths of heroin addiction and recovery), DIIV didn't shy away from the unrelenting Nirvana comparisons that have dogged the group throughout its career. Every band wants to be as good as Nirvana, but the troublesome comparison has had less to do with the music and more to do with Cole’s highly publicized affinity for heroin and other destructive behavior. But with its tour video prominently featuring zine clips of Nirvana — especially Kurt — DIIV played without concern for its detractors. Cole even looked like prefame Cobain at times, when he'd turn his back to the audience and play to his drummer (which happened often). Whether self-conscious or defiant, the Nirvana shout-outs made it easy to miss Kurt. Maybe DIIV's members should ease up on the references to their grunge heroes because they're great enough to stand on their own. — Celia Almeida
Regardless of their original intention in naming themselves Deaf Poets, listening to the Miami Beach duo of Sean Wouters and Nicolas Espinosa is a lovely way to lose your hearing. The band's III Points set at the Mind Melt stage (and indeed, every sweat-soaked show they play in general) is evidence of that. Their brand of righteous, black-leather-jacket garage rock takes cues from '80s punks such as Black Flag or Fugazi and mimics fuzzy blues vibes akin to the Black Keys. With their grungy, crunching guitars, ominous melodies, and fierce breakdowns, each Deaf Poets song hits with the concussive force of a thousand rock bands rather than just two dudes taking over every inch of the space allotted to them. Truth be told, with the way the pair managed to occupy the entirety of III Points' biggest outdoor stage, it isn’t hard to imagine Deaf Poets leaving the little pond of the Miami music scene and diving into a much larger body of exposure. Perhaps that time is now, as the group is currently shopping its upcoming record, Lost in Magic City, around to labels with a planned release date sometime this December. — Angel Melendez
On the list of underrated DJs, Life and Death founder DJ Tennis is way up there. It still boggles my mind that he isn’t more popular. His sets are always forward-thinking yet highly danceable. He makes for a great segue for kids who are tired of EDM and ready to graduate to “real” dance music, whatever that is. His set Saturday night at the Isotropic stage was filled with electro and house beats that kept everyone dancing. From dorky kids looking to let loose to a man hoisting a pineapple above the crowd like a little baby Simba, DJ Tennis had everyone come together for one reason: to dance. And dance they did, without taking a break during his two-hour set. Match point, DJ Tennis. — Jose D. Duran
His set started at least 20 minutes behind schedule — not that he cared. He was following Method Man and Redman, two artists the Australian beat-head grew up idolizing. For his own part, Ta-Ku started things out slow. Couples cuddled under flashing blue lights as the producer threw himself into his gear. Backed by a drummer and keyboardist, the live set — like so many others at III Points — seemed to redefine the concept of what a band is. Ta-Ku announced a special guest, and frequent collaborator Wafia picked up the mike and worked through a series of songs, including singles “Treading Water” and “Meet in the Middle.” The music was sweet and dreamy, melodic and funky, sexy and clean — a cool bridge between the raucous hip-hop, experimental rock, and gritty electronic plots of the III Points spectrum. — Kat Bein
Although there were a lot of great smaller sets throughout day two of III Points, if we’re being honest the festival desperately needed one of their two remaining headliners to crush it, mainly to help assuage the pain of losing LCD Soundsystem Friday night. Thievery Corporation did just that. After a 20-minute delay, Rob Garza, Eric Hill, and their small army of musicians and singers opened with a little sitar sexiness before sliding into a fan favorite, the sultry “Le Monde.” And yet, by the end, this set mutated into something completely unexpected yet deliciously refreshing. It’s never a good idea to define Thievery Corporation in simple, finite terms. As much as its music comes across as simple, jazzy grooves, it's always been politically minded and a proponent of the big picture. On the group's upcoming record, Thievery expands its palette to include dub and reggae, and their III Points set reflected that. Although they trotted out classics such as “The Heart’s a Lonely Hunter,” “Amerimacka,” and the evening’s closer, “Lebanese Blonde,” Thievery Corporation went heavy on the hip-hop and rasta sounds for an unexpectedly bombastic show that culminated in one glorious pre-encore finale featuring three vocalists. Seriously though, do they have an entire tour bus just for guest singers? It turns out Thievery Corporation does reggae as well as every other genre its members have tried their hand at. It seems there’s no musical style they can’t conquer. A Thievery Corporation concert is a guided tour through an audiophile’s record collection. And though it may seem a strange comparison, by the end of the show, Thievery Corporation had the crowd in a frenzy with a rap-rock, call-and-response number heaving with the sort of energy normally associated with a band like Rage Against the Machine. The entire show built up to this one resounding crescendo that never wasted our time by climaxing too early. Thievery Corporation albums are for kicking back at swank hookah lounges; Thievery Corporation live shows are wild animals strictly meant for unchained dance parties. — Angel Melendez
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