Choosing where to go on a regular Miami weekend is hard enough. Miami Music Week turns that conundrum into a Sophie's choice.
Allow this writer, an MMW veteran, to impart some sage advice: Don't try to make it to every party. Unless you can fast-track Elon Musk's Hyperloop within the next few days, it'll be impossible to be several places at once. Accept that you'll experience some FOMO throughout the week.
Another pro tip: Skip most of the pool parties. Unless you're here solely for the spring-break-rager aspect, pool parties are an awful way to experience DJ sets. The sound is rarely as good as anything you'll hear at one of the city's many nightclubs. Instead, go nocturnal and stay out well past sunrise, because if you're sleeping at 5 a.m., you're doing it wrong.
But whatever your dance music flavor — EDM, techno, house, drum 'n' bass, dubstep — pick the parties you like. Here are some highlights to get you started.
Bedrock Miami. English producer John Digweed doesn't need an introduction. The 51-year-old is a dance music legend. Every year, he hosts his Bedrock party, which sees the icon spinning an extended set that lasts several hours — the way dance music ought to be consumed. This year is no different, except for opener Tara Brooks, who is best known for her residencies at Desert Hearts and Subtract Music in Los Angeles. 10 p.m. Thursday, March 22, at SQL, 30 NE 14th St., Miami; 786-542-0156; sqlmiami.com. Tickets cost $40 via electrostub.com.
Hot Since 82 and Idris Elba. The celebrity DJ is not a new phenomenon, but make no mistake, Idris Elba is the real deal. The Golden Globe-winning actor began his DJ career long before he became a Hollywood A-lister. Elba has DJ'ed at events such as Glastonbury and Ibiza's Pacha. If you need any reassurance that the night won't completely go awry, Hot Since 82 is also on the bill, bringing his own house-music expertise. 10 p.m. Thursday, March 22, at Basement Miami, 2901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-257-4548; basementmiami.com. Tickets cost TBD.
Rapture Electronic Music Festival. Didn't snag tickets to Ultra? Were you mainly interested in it for the Resistance lineup? Taking place in Virginia Key Beach Park, Rapture promises a who's who of underground dance acts in a natural setting. Luciano, Guy Gerber, and Chris Liebing will headline along with Art Department, Butch, Hernan Cattaneo, M.A.N.F.L.Y., tINI, and others. 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday, March 22, at Virginia Key Beach Park, 4020 Virginia Beach Dr., Miami; 305-960-4600; virginiakeybeachpark.net. Tickets cost $80 to $150 via residentadvisor.net.
Game of Throwdowns 2. Unlike the HBO show that's on hiatus until 2019, Games of Throwdowns is back this year for a second edition. Like the seven kingdoms of Westeros, the gathering brings together breakbeat, drum 'n' bass, UK garage, trance, and other styles for a unified party under the auspicious motto "Party for the crown." DJ Icey, Deekline, Keith MacKenzie, Seth Vogt, and others will compete for the Iron Throne. 8 p.m. Friday, March 23, at Drinkhouse Fire & Ice, 1672 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-534-2423; sobefireice.com. Tickets cost $25 via eventbrite.com.
Virtual Self. Porter Robinson is bringing his side project Virtual Self — which Billboard describes as blending "house, happy hardcore, garage, and techno into some kind of wonderful, nostalgic/futuristic brilliance" — to Ultra this year. But if you want to catch the project in a more intimate space, Robinson is set to take over Space's first floor, the Ground. Though the show is sold out, sources say some tickets might become available through fan-club sales and at the door, so check back often. 11:30 p.m. Friday, March 23, at the Ground, 34 NE 11th St., Miami; 305-375-0001; thegroundmiami.com. Tickets are sold out.
Breakfast Club Miami. Looking for the perfect afterparty with a serving of bacon and eggs? Gary Richards, AKA Destructo, will host Breakfast Club at Wynwood's newest hot spot, 1-800-Lucky. The party promises a "secret" lineup, which sources say will include dance music's best acts. Either way, you'll spend your Saturday morning dancing off the stack of pancakes you just consumed. 5 to 10 a.m. Saturday, March 24, at 1-800-Lucky, 143 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-768-9826; 1-800-lucky.com. Tickets cost $35 via eventbrite.com.
Green Velvet Presents La La Land Miami. "Something 'bout those little pills/Unreal, the thrills, they yield, until they kill a million brain cells." Who can forget Green Velvet's 2001 dance-floor anthem? The Relief Records artist has spun his hit off into an event series that has taken over Holy Ship!, Electric Daisy Carnival, and Electric Forest. It will make its Miami debut with Tiga, Kerri Chandler, and others at the Delano. Green Velvet says fans can "expect to hear an array of the greatest house and techno grooves from around the world." Noon Saturday, March 24, at the Delano, 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-672-2000; delano-hotel.com. Tickets are sold out.
Anjunadeep Open Air Miami. Far from the South Beach glitz, Above & Beyond's record label Anjunadeep will take over Gramps, Wynwood's hipster hangout. Spinning underneath the palapa will be Dom Donnelly, Eli & Fur, Yotto, and others. It's the perfect day party for revelers looking for something that doesn't feel like a poolside spring-break bash and exudes the effortless cool of its surroundings. Also, beers here are way cheaper than those at any venue across the causeway. 2 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-699-2669; gramps.com. Tickets are sold out.
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Maceo Plex and the Black Madonna. There used to be a time when nightclubs divided their spaces into several rooms, and partygoers could wander from room to room exploring different sounds throughout their journey. Space will offer that kind of experience Saturday night when all of its venues — the Terrace, the Loft, the Ground, and Floyd — will flex their musical muscles at the same time. Maceo Plex and the Black Madonna will anchor the Terrace, and word to the wise: Don't show up until 3 or 4 a.m., because that's when the 11th Street giant really gets going. 11 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at Space, 24 NE 11th St., Miami; 786-357-6456; clubspace.com. Tickets cost $25 to $70 via ticketfly.com.
Markus Schulz. German-born producer Markus Schulz isn't a Miami native, but he has called the Magic City home for so long he's basically the Mr. 305 of dance music. So what better way to say goodbye to Miami Music Week than with an open-to-close set by Schulz himself? Though trance has seen a sudden resurgence in popularity, Schulz never abandoned the genre for EDM's greener pastures as others did. All hail the unicorn slayer! 11 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at Heart, 50 NE 11th St., Miami; 305-912-3099; heartnightclub.com. Tickets cost $40 to $60 via tickets.heartnightclub.com.