Panic Bomber at Ultra Music Festival 2011 Day Three, March 27

​For any Internet bellyaching that goes on, Ultra is at its core a homegrown festival. Organizers continue to recognize that by slotting in plenty of local DJs and acts -- many of which are virtually unknown out of their microscenes. This year, there were two stages, the Eco Village stage and the UMF Radio Stage, devoted almost entirely to South Florida artists. (On Friday, however, the reach at the UMF Radio Stage spread a little wider throughout Florida, with breakbeat icons like Icey and Baby Anne dominating). 

The Radio Stage hosted a well-attended show by Crossfade favorites Afrobeta on Saturday night, and Sunday night, it turned over to Panic Bomber at 9:45. This was a hybrid live performance/DJ set by the act's mastermind, Richard Haig. (He sometimes appears with a singer, but was flying solo this time around). 

With MSTRKRFT playing in the background, competition was stiff for viewers, but a few handfuls of enthusiastic, adventurous folk wandered over curiously, especially after Haig started singing. His "hybrid" sets find him hopping between laptop, mixers, and microphone, which all seems very stressful, but he handles it gracefully. 

Oh, and Haig can really sing, which he continued to do unflappably even as technical difficulties started dampening the sound midway through the set. For anyone who's had a hissy-fit over that sort of thing, just watch Panic Bomber try to fix a machine on the off-beats between crooning choruses. It's impressive. When the repairs didn't work, though, he just switched seamlessly to a DJ set that worked up almost into psy-trance BPMs and worked the candy kids into a lather.

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Arielle Castillo
Contact: Arielle Castillo