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Life in Color: Diplo, Benny Benassi, R3hab at "World's Biggest Paint Party" in Miami

Life In Color

With Diplo, Benny Benassi, R3hab, David Solano and more

Miami Convention Center, Miami

Friday, December 28, 2012

Better Than: Rollin' through the Sherwin-Williams store geeked up on mollies.

"Does Miami go hard in the motherfucking paint?"

Yeah, we do. We let it drip from our chin and get all in our hair. Paint makes Miami kids go buck.

See also:

-25 Diplo-Certified Ways to "Express Yourself"

-EDM's Ten Best Tracks and Albums of 2012

-Life In Color at Miami Beach Convention Center: The 50-Photo Slideshow

The Life in Color brand (formerly Dayglow for you old-schoolers) originated right here in our city. So the LIC crew went all out with their biggest event to date. About 14,000 kids came to the Miami Beach Convention Center lookin' to make a mess and shake their furry boots. What they got was festival-level production, some booming bass, and more than a few loads to the face.

Lines formed hours before doors were officially set to open. By 7 p.m., the streets were white-washed with partiers who'd come dressed as blank slates, ready to get wet. Blank everything is the name of the game at LIC. Of course, there were splashes of neon with snapbacks, miniskirts, and kandi.

Inside, the convention center's floor was transformed into a nightlife oasis. Giant inflatable decorations hung from the ceiling, leading the way to a massive stage, complete with trampolines, massive screens, illuminated risers, lasers, smoke machines, and lots of paint hoses.

Demetrius got things started on the main stage, while various local up-and-comers held things down at a smaller second stage. Two stages was another first, as Friday's show set the tone for the future of LIC events. Organizers hope to build the brand into something more akin to a festival than the college parties of Dayglow's past.

Toward that goal, they were pretty damn successful. They upped the ante in every way, with more attendees, more performers, more headlining acts, and more paint than ever. They sprayed about 15,000 gallons of the wet and sticky before closing time, not a bucket going to waste.

Initially, things stayed pretty dry, though. The countdown began with David Solano's set. Colorful characters, including a smurf man and popular rave personality Wild Child, roamed the dance floor and stage pit, hyping up the crowd and posing to take pictures.

Solano delivered a crowd-pleasing set of favorites with a little bit of everything from Fun. to Congorock, Snoop Dogg, and Bingo Players. In the back, a big, inflated "Life In Color" logo came alive, glowing and marking the entrance to the main warehouse.

The countdown came to its exciting conclusion at 10:30, right when Afrojack's protégé R3hab took over control. Right away, he got down and dirty with the hard electro as sirens blared and long streams of pink, yellow, and green came spewing from giant hoses on stage. Anyone in the first twenty rows was soaked and tracks of the goopy made their way to all corners of the floor.

R3hab kept it hyphy for his hour before making way for Italian superstar Benny Benassi, who hit the stage with a well-timed balloon drop and a few hundred extra gallons of water-based paint. He kept the vibe going with house bangers like "Bullet," "Atom," and Swedish House Mafia selections. The kids got all excited for his hits "Satisfaction" and "Cinema," the latter of which he mixed, as per usual, with the popular Skrillex rework.

Meanwhile, the onstage insanity continued to ramp up. Astronauts did acrobatics from the ceiling, dudes in jump suits ran up risers flanking the booth, doing flips on trampolines. Giant robot-men in LED suits attacked the stage and mingled among the dancers.

But shit got really live when Diplo hit the decks. He jumped on top of the booth, demanding that everyone kick their shit up a notch. He hopped down and got low into the trap. And though he threw out a bunch of genres, the set stayed pretty damn hood from beginning to end: Rick Ross, R.L. Grimes, Waka Flacka, Flosstradamus, all the hits.

The sexiest hit of the night was his original bounce track "Express Yourself," for which he momentarily stopped the music to invite some ladies to clap their booties on stage. Miami's got some ratchet hos, don't you know?

As the clock closed on 2 a.m., the lasers faded and a deep voice boomed about the creation of earth, man, and house music, finishing with a dark bit about dancing with the devil, announcing the appearance of the famous Devil of Acapulco. The green-eyed laser monster ended the night with a few minutes of hardstyle beats and impressive production.

But just as suddenly as the Devil had showed up, the warehouse lights were flicked on, revealed the utter mess that LIC had made of the Miami Beach Convention Center. It was a paint massacre, thousands of kids drenched in watery rainbow filth. They made their way out the exit and into the streets, probably horrifying loads of strangers by their sheer numbers and insane appearance.

Rest in peace to all the leather seats that got wrecked on the ride home.

Critic's Notebook

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Personal Bias: There's nothing quite like going in to a party lookin' like a pristine canvas and coming out a Technicolor blob.

The Crowd: Partiers aged 17 to 20-something who aren't afraid to slip and slide for the bass. Some famous Miami athletes were there. Oh, and Timbaland.

Worst Thing to Hear When Tripping: "Demons, look around you, they're everywhere."

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