III Points Festival

III Points 2019: Erykah Badu, ASAP Rocky, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor Close Out Day Three

Erykah Badu. View more photos of III Points 2019 day three here.
Erykah Badu. View more photos of III Points 2019 day three here. Photo by Karli Evans
Showing no real signs of slowing, III Points continued on a balmy Sunday evening. At that point, you'd think the crowds would be running on fumes thanks to the 5 a.m. closing time, but the energy remained high going into the third and final day of the festival.

Despite a slower start than Saturday, by the time headliner Erykah Badu took the main stage, the grounds quickly filled. Over at Boiler Room, Egyptian Lover packed the small warehouse space, whose entrance was guarded by a security officer to ensure the crowd size didn't violate the fire code.

For attendees looking for some breathing room and A/C, DJ Koze's set on the Main Frame stage was criminally empty thanks to an overlapping set time with headliner ASAP Rocky, who brought Blood Orange out again during his performance.

One thing that was abundantly clear was the number of late start times and technical difficulties that marred the festival on the final day. Chalk it up to growing pains. Yes, this was III Points' sixth year, but it's also a year of transition because the festival is trying to prove it can remain a niche experience for festivalgoers while still attracting large crowds to remain financially viable.

Here's what else you might've missed on day three.
Jaialai. Homegrown band Jaialai opened the final day on the main stage with a heavy dose of ‘70s psychedelia. Though its set was limited to 30 minutes, the band still took the time to build up its extended rock jams as the sun set across from the Mind Melt stage. Though Jaialai was mainly known to local attendees, the audience steadily grew as the Sunday crowds flowed in. And rock stars — local or not — making the jump from the Sector 3 stage to the Mind Melt stage in just a little over a year might as well pull rock-star moves: Singer Oscar Sardiñas rolled onto his back and played guitar on the ground as the set came to a close. The crowd was screaming for them long before that. — Celia Almeida

Rick Moon. When Rick Moon’s band got an early start at the Sector 3 stage last night, no one expected it would mean an early exit too. The band was slated to begin its set at 7:25 but began about five minutes early. The audience danced along to Moon’s sweet harmonies and melodies nodding to powerpop and '60s pop-rock groups. But immediately after the band played its third song, which Moon announced will be on his next EP, Electric Lunch, to be released this year, stagehands swiftly and inexplicably gave the group the boot. “We’re getting shut off,” Moon said as fans screamed angrily for organizers to let the band play its allotted time. Fans continued to protest even as the next performers set up onstage. It eventually became clear that Moon’s performance had been cut short to squeeze in an unscheduled performance by the Dream Defenders. Though their message was welcome and urgent, it’s unfair to Moon that after probably days or weeks of rehearsals, his time at III Points was cut short. The move was equally unfair to the Dream Defenders because their performance was not given due recognition in advance of their time onstage. — Celia Almeida
Blood Orange. Dev Hynes is one of those conundrums whose work is distinctive yet malleable. He's a man of many projects and personas, but his music as Blood Orange has brought him the most success, both critically and commercially. He's collaborated with artists such as Solange Knowles, Sky Ferreira, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Kylie Minogue on ethereal and supercatchy pop gems that show his range of emotion and pop sensibility. For his 8 p.m. set on the Mind Melt stage, the London-born, New York-based singer, songwriter, and producer brought a full band, including a saxophonist and two supporting vocalists, and all of his easy, downtown swag. Compared to the last time this writer saw Blood Orange play — an intimate one-man show at the Electric Pickle at the height of “Champagne Coast” popularity — this performance was much more layered and sophisticated, but also markedly more subdued. Vocalists Eva Tolkin and Ian Isiah had plenty of airtime of their own, helping bring to life the quiet introspection, struggle, and self-assurance explored on Hynes' acclaimed album Negro Swan. Standout tracks were a literally breezy rendition of “Charcoal Baby” (a perfectly light wind helped lift up the crowd during the sax-laced breakdown) and “You’re Not Good Enough,” from 2013’s Cupid Deluxe, possibly one of Hynes' most heartbreaking compositions. — Falyn Freyman
Egyptian Lover. Despite hailing from Los Angeles, the legendary electro DJ delivered the most magnificent Miami-bass-inspired set to close out the festival. The Boiler Room stage lived up to its name as crowds filled the space to capacity. Egyptian Lover's set nodded to acts such as Prince, 2 Live Crew, Kraftwerk, and Afrika Bambaataa by hyping up the crowd through nonstop call-and-responses. "Eight-oh motherfucking eight," he yelled into the microphone, which the crowd quickly gobbled up and spewed right back at him during his entire set. The hip-hop influence was also evident when he bragged, "On these turntables, I be killing it. On this microphone, I be killing it. On this drum machine, I be killing it." But the audience lost its shit when he reworked Prince's "Kiss" as he sang, "You don't have to be rich/To be my girl/You don't have to be cool/To rule my world/Ain't no particular sign I'm more compatible with/I just want your extra time and your/Pussy lips." It was just the right amount of nasty for this Miami crowd.  — Jose D. Duran
Tim Hecker and the Konoyo Ensemble. Few places on Earth are more prone to natural disasters than Japan, which endures typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis, and, lately, record-setting heatwaves. It was appropriate, then, that Tim Hecker’s performance, following his recent gagaku-themed album Konoyo, offered III Points a tidal wave of sound. Performing with the Konoyo Ensemble — in this case, Hecker on his laptop and an instrumentalist playing a series of Japanese instruments such as taiko drums and various woodwinds — the Canadian drone composer delivered a set mostly comprising a wall of sound, mysterious textures, and tones atop a devastating series of loud bass rattles. In essence, it was an extreme sound bath, and its most intense waves of vicious noise shook the room to its core. That might not sound very relaxing, but Hecker’s harsh, mystical frequencies, set amid columns of light and billowing smoke at the Mind Melt stage, felt all the more satisfying after two days of partying. — Doug Markowitz
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Photo by Karli Evans
Godspeed You! Black Emperor. This may well be the only time we will ever see honest-to-god string instruments at III Points. Godspeed You! Black Emperor began its set, the band’s first Miami performance, when a violinist and string bassist strode onto the stage, tuned their instruments, and began the haunting, symphonic-sized performance with a series of eerie drones. From there, guitarists, bassists, and drummers — at least six, maybe more (it was pretty dark) of the Montreal postrock collective’s members — joined in to create an apocalyptic squall the likes of which the Magic City has never seen. On the back screen, monochromatic footage played: mysterious runes, esoteric blueprints set against footage of lonely highways, random images of uncertain origin.  Capitalized words flashed across the screen on occasion: “HOPE,” “FEAR,” “FUCK AMERICA.” The bandmates struck their guitars, bashed their drum sets, and generated an incredible amount of feedback, building and building until the melody entered like a cavalry charging. The set turned explicitly political during the third and final song, “Blaise Bailey Finnegan III,” featuring a sampled tirade against the corrupt bureaucracy of the American government by the Everyman title character. The monologue may lament the death spiral of the USA — land of the so-called free — but the music, as angry and righteous as it is poignant and beautiful, makes one feel otherwise. — Doug Markowitz
Erykah Badu. Capping a day of mounting scheduling issues, Erykah Badu finally gifted the III Points crowds with her queenly presence almost 40 minutes after her performance was scheduled to begin. The set followed a spoken-word performance by Aja Monet, who paid her respects to Badu and the overall power of women. “It’s rare that poets get invited on stages like this,” she added as she hyped the crowd for the coming performance.

Badu took the stage while excerpts of her viral-before-viral-was-a-thing hit “Tyrone” blasted over the crowd. Wearing her signature sky-high stovepipe hat, she delivered a set that spanned her nearly quarter-century career. "Y'all know this is the 22nd anniversary of Baduizm?" She recalled that her son is almost as old as her debut album, as were large numbers of fans in her audience. "I've been waiting for y'all to grow the fuck up so we can talk about it,” she joked. Becoming more comfortable as the set wore on, she ditched the hat and coat for pajama pants and an oversize T-shirt. But no matter her presentation, Badu is an authority in the art world, and her audience remained transfixed throughout the performance. When a queen speaks, you listen. — Celia Almeida
Khruangbin. As Texas trio Khruangbin took the stage, the sound from the nearby Boiler Room killed the quiet anticipation of the group's entrance. By the time the bandmates launched into their opening number, "Bin Bin," the funky rhythms quickly overcame the sound issues. The smoke whipped in the soft breeze as the red lights enveloped the band members, who, for the most part, kept vocals to a minimum, perfect to show off their instrumental skills. Guitarist Mark Speer, in particular, possesses an amazing ability to make his axe sound like it's moaning like a person. By the second song, "The Infamous Bill," the band kept it soulful if a bit more somber, with Speer and bassist Laura Lee clinking on glass bottles to close out the number. If festivalgoers' ears were a little worse for the wear after three days of music, Khruangbin provided the perfect amount of chill while keeping it interesting. — Jose D. Duran
ASAP Rocky. Despite raising my L's to his music since 2011’s “Purple Swag,” the universe had not yet allowed me to be in Rocky’s proximity for a live show — until last night. After nearly a decade of waiting for Pretty Flacko, the extra 37 minutes spent standing in front of the Mind Melt stage anticipating his arrival felt like an eternity. On day three of the marathon festival, some attendees were looking haggard as the clock inched past Rocky's scheduled 12:30 a.m. start time. With dry red eyes and a scratchy throat from a long weekend of cheering and standing in smoke, I wondered whether the crowd sitting on the ground around me would be able to summon the energy for a show like this. Could we, would we, get lit? When Rocky finally appeared onstage, he was standing behind a large black screen, his silhouette further heightening the buildup. I was hoping he’d jump straight into a hit to jolt us back to life, but his choice to start slow and psychedelic didn’t seem to affect the audience’s attention. Though we were all clearly ready to kick up the energy level, it did feel like a special reward for our patience when Rocky brought out Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes for a dreamy guest spot early on, followed by a superhyped Tyler the Creator collab of that artist’s banger "Who Dat Boy." The rest of the set followed appropriately, building throughout Rocky’s extensive catalogue of hits and earlier classics. Overall, finally experiencing the turned-up, tripped-out ASAP swag in real life was worth the wait. — Falyn Freyman
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Celia Almeida is the digital editor of American Way and the former arts and music editor of Miami New Times. Her writing has been featured in Venice, Paper, and Billboard; and she co-hosts Too Much Love on Jolt Radio.
Contact: Celia Almeida
Jose D. Duran is the associate editor of Miami New Times. He's the strategist behind the publication's eyebrow-raising Facebook and Twitter feeds. He has also been reporting on Miami's cultural scene since 2006. He has a BS in journalism and will live in Miami as long as climate change permits.
Contact: Jose D. Duran
Falyn Freyman is a freelance multimedia journalist based in Miami.
Contact: Falyn Freyman
Douglas Markowitz is a former music and arts editorial intern for Miami New Times. Born and raised in South Florida, he studied at Sophia University in Tokyo before earning a bachelor's in communications from University of North Florida. He writes freelance about music, art, film, and other subjects.