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Jesse Marco and Random Mondays at Mokai, January 17

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Jesse Marco

Ransom Mondays

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mokai

Better than: Another trip to the airport.

Ransom Mondays at Mokai are supposed to be "industry" parties. That refers to the hospitality industry: bartenders, concierges, waiters, etc. It would seem, though, that the only industry that might unify the patrons on this rainy South Beach night would be the international travel industry.

Take Himesh and sister Rohini, visitors from Nottingham, England. "It works out quite nicely, really. Our mum and dad don't make it past 11 o'clock, so she and I go out and get drunk at the clubs every single night," Himesh says. They're not here so much to see DJ prodigy Jesse Marco as to be in the middle of the action. "Our concierge told us to come here. I go wherever he tells me."

Bernardo and his cousin Liga are here from Brazil, also at the advice of their concierge. "I don't know the DJ. But he's very good," Bernardo says of opening act Derek Walin, who is currently spinning some funk. The bass is so thick that it feels like simulated heart arrhythmia.

Then there's Madi, a Frenchman in his early 20s who's staying in Miami for six months. "I'm supposed to be learning English," he slurs. "But I don't give a fuck about English! I just like to party!"

Marco, a 23-year-old New York native with a list of collaborations that includes Russell Simmons and Prince, takes over the turntables at 1 a.m. with Duck Sauce's funky electro-dance tune "Barbra Streisand." Directly in front of the DJ booth, Ed, a blue-eyed bald guy with a friendly smile, pours himself another Grey Goose at his VIP table. He and his friends are visiting from Boston for a doctors' convention.

"The nightlife in Boston compared to Miami is like night and day," he says. "In Boston, it's like laid back. You go out and everyone is kind of standing around waiting for something to happen. Here, it's like 'Make it happen.'"

His friends are definitely making it happen. They have the jump on the rest of the club as far as dancing goes. A couple of women in their group jump up on top of a large platform near their booth and start busting moves. Only seconds later, the taller of the two takes a spill backwards and nearly busts her head instead. Luckily, an effeminate but dexterous young man at her back plays good Samaritan and breaks her fall. Good thing she wasn't hurt ― it would have been really weird to watch her get swarmed by all the other drunk doctors at her table under the roving neon lights.

The crowd gets thicker as two o'clock approaches. But there's still plenty of room to breathe. Marco favors old-school tracks like Michael Jackson's "Beat It," plus Top 40 picks like Far East Movement's "Like a G6" and Flo Rida's "Club Can't Handle Me." Sparklers stream as bottle-service girls bring yet another dose of champagne to the floor, and SoBe parties on into this relatively mellow Monday night.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I like anyone Prince likes.

The Crowd: Split 75/25 between tourists and the early 20s set.

Random Detail: There is a wall in the club that looks like it contains a holographic chandelier. I still haven't figured it out.

Overheard in the Crowd: "Wooaah!" when the drunk doctor fell on top of unsuspecting dancers.

-- Camille Lamb

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