Swedish House Mafia Blows the Roof Off the Masquerade Motel

View photos of Masquerade Motel Miami here.

Swedish House Mafia
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Scope Art Fair, Miami

Better than: We still can't believe what we experienced.

We have to forgo the traditional concert review because in-depth analysis of DJ sets is about as interesting as watching people push buttons.

Seriously, though, Saturday's Masquerade Motel event with Swedish House Mafia did what Bang Music Festival attempted to do for two consecutive years -- deliver a fall Winter Music Conference-worthy event.

Bang failed because... Well, we aren't entirely sure why Bang failed. It had significant buzz after Daft Punk headlined in 2006. And what would have been its third year had the festival moving to Bayfront Park and spanning three days. Problem? There was only one stage and the line-up was underwhelming.

Since Bang went kaput, nobody has tried to resurrect the big fall production idea. And Miami is the perfect place to have an enormous fall event. DJs are done with their summer Ibiza residencies and summer music festivals in the U.S. and Europe have quieted down. Plus, Miami's weather is ideal -- perfect, if you ask us -- and the threat of hurricanes is minimal. (Although, the 2005 active hurricane season brought a late storm that threw Bang's debut into a loop.)

Still, Space and H2 Concepts partnered with Scope Art Fair to bring Swedish House Mafia's popular summer party, Masquerade Motel, to Miami. Despite claims from press releases that the tent was built specifically for the show, that's not true. But coaxing Scope to build the tent that will house its fair next month made perfect sense. Plus, the blank slate meant Swedish House Mafia's production capabilities were endless. And trust us, they made the most of it -- including huge projections, pyrotechnics, cannons, and cryogenics.

We tried to experience the whole thing from the front of the stage, but we were backstage thanks to Swedish House Mafia's management who had us meet the DJ trio at their South Beach hotel, later to be whisked away by private car to the venue. This is not exactly standard treatment ... OK, we've never received that kind of treatment. So excuse us if we were a little giddy with excitement at the whole notion of being treated like a superstar DJ. Makes you never want to go back and experience a show the old-fashioned way.

Still, being backstage has its downside. The view from where we took in the show was poor thanks to the scaffolding and speakers. Also, the side-stage area where we were allowed to stand was small and space was almost seemed like a luxury.

But if Swedish House Mafia and everyone involved proved one thing: you don't need wait for WMC or be called Ultra Music Festival in order to put on such a massive electronic music event. Here's hoping we see something similar next year.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: Private car to the event. 'Nuff said.

The Crowd: Ravers, guidos, and nightlife scenesters all happy to be there.

Overheard in the Crowd: Really, people couldn't stop yelling in a celebratory fashion. Actual talking was totally non-existent.

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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