With complementary donuts and popsicles handed out Saturday night at the Hangar, things got off to a sweet start. It was night three of Red Bull Sound Select Presents: 3 Days in Miami, a series of concerts meant to showcase both established talent and new up and comers. Thursday saw the hard edged hip-hop of ASAP Ferg, and Friday showcased the Scandinavian EDM of Cashmere Cat.
The headliner for the final day, AlunaGeorge, is disco pop for the electronica era. The British duo have found success collaborating with folks like Disclosure and Jack Ü but are also more than capable of impressing on their own. A little after midnight, AlunaGeorge's set began. Two musicians camped out behind a drum kit, and keyboards began fiddling with some sounds when Aluna Francis walked on the stage, all smiles and charisma. Dressed in a black shirt and chain link skirt with the lighting making her golden hair look purple, she started the hourlong set with "Kaleidoscope Love."
"What's up, Miami?" she asked the crowd. "You're looking beautiful."
A few people in the full, but not annoyingly packed, room yelled back, "You're beautiful!"
The crowd had been primed in the preceding hours by two other electro-pop acts, both adhering to the format of an R&B singer backed by a producer. Local singer Steven A Clark sang for a laidback 20 minutes, and then Xavier Omar — who fluctuated between a gentle voice and booming, powerful pipes — entertained for a half-hour. Both got some cheers as they sang songs about hooking up and getting numbers.
But most of the crowd was there for the headliner.
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The feeling was mutual. "You guys [in Miami] know how to mix with other cultures. It makes me angry and jealous the rest of the world doesn't know how to do that. This song is about my anger about that," Aluna told the crowd before launching into "My Blood."
The only slight misstep happened during "I Remember," when a technical error caused live and looped lyrics to accidentally play over each other. But the AlunaGeorge rebounded quickly and kept the momentum going all the way through the two-song encore that ended with "You Know You Like It."
The next time AlunaGeorge plays South Florida is the end of October at the massive BB&T Center, opening for Sia. It'll be a must-see concert. But it's hard to imagine how their show can translate to an arena when they seemed so at home in an intimate space in front of their biggest fans on a hardcore sugar high.
They'll find a way, though.