Before Ultra Music Festival was the behemoth it is today, revelers escaping the frigid temperatures of the North and Europe would travel to Miami for the parties. That tradition continues, even with Ultra's strict artist agreements. (Ultra's contract is standard among music festivals and ensures most acts cannot perform in South Florida for a period before and after the fest.)
Though the city's dance clubs seem to be on the extinction list, smaller lounges, warehouses, and event spaces have filled the void. Miami is a city that can party anywhere, whether it's the graffiti-covered RC Cola Plant or the cramped backroom of Coyo Taco, so there's hope for its dance scene even as proper venues continue to disappear.
If there's one criticism that can be made about Miami Music Week as a whole, it's that it still seems unwelcoming to acts who aren't cisgender men. Though there are women to be found, they are few and far between. Plenty of lineups include all men, but good luck trying to find an all-women one — let alone one that represents dance music's black and queer origins.
But with easily 200-plus parties happening this week, the most frustrating part will be deciding which ones to attend. Make it easy on yourself and forgo the pool parties, which can suffer from bad acoustics, and use that time to catch up on sleep.
Otherwise, here are ten parties worth skipping that scheduled disco nap for. (Find the full list of Miami Music Week 2019 events here.
Above & Beyond.
Above & Beyond
Photo by Amelia Troubridge
In what's become a Miami Music Week tradition, Above & Beyond will once again take over the old RC Cola Plant to prove that trance is still very much alive. Last year, the trio released its fourth studio album, Common Ground
, which was followed by this year's three-track EP, Common Ground Companion
, a continuation of the themes explored on the album. There's also the new collaboration with Armin Van Buuren, "Show Me Love," which debuted earlier this month. The track features a hypnotic beat and perfectly timed breaks that let the sound build to a climax. It's the kind of cut meant to be performed in front of a sea of people. With Seven Lions. 9 p.m. Thursday, March 28, at RC Cola Plant, 550 NW 24th St., Miami. Tickets cost $75 to $150 via tixr.com.
House on 45s.
Photo by Werner Berger
There will always be vinyl purists who say a real DJ can spin records without the aid of newfangled technology. Funkmaster Egyptian Lover will add to that debate when he — alongside Bomboozle (Eli Goldstein of Soul Clap) and local DJ Brother Dan — spins 45s all night long in Coyo Taco's cozy backroom
. The "45" refers to seven-inch vinyl singles, whose play speed is 45 rpm, on which many early disco, funk, soul, and house classics were released. While some see spinning 45s as a challenge, many DJs claim that because seven-inches are pressed louder than regular 12-inch records, they are better suited for sets. With Egyptian Lover, Bamboozle, and Brother Dan. 10 p.m. Thursday, March 28, at Coyo Taco, 2300 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-573-8228; coyo-taco.com. Tickets cost $10 via eventbrite.com.
Update: The Pryda show at Wynwood Factory has been canceled.
Photo by Rick Guest
Ultra is calling Eric Prydz's appearance at the festival an "exclusive," but that's not entirely true: He'll also make an appearance at Wynwood Factory's North Room under his alias Pryda. What's the difference? With Pryda, he normally delves a bit deeper into the sound that perhaps his main and more commercial moniker doesn't afford him. (Eric Prydz is for EDM fans; Pryda is for underground fans.) The show has been sold out for weeks, but rumor has it that a limited number of tickets might be available at the door. Otherwise, your best bet is splurging on table service, which, according to a source, is still available. 10 p.m. Thursday, March 28, at Wynwood Factory, 55 NE 24th St., Miami; 786-953-8943; wynwoodfactory.com. Tickets are sold out.
Boys Noize & Friends.
Photo by Renata Raksha
A free party featuring Boys Noize is reason enough to get your ass to Insideout
. However, including Grammy-nominated producer Sophie on the bill makes this party an absolute must. Sophie bubbled up from the underground as a semi-anonymous producer in 2013 with the track "Nothing More to Say / Eeehhh," featuring the rubbery beats that are now considered Sophie's signature mark. Also on the bill is Miami-born, New York-based DJ Jubilee, whose sets are filled with Miami bass and freestyle flourishes. Give it up for the ladies. With Sophie, Jubilee, and others. 10 p.m. Friday, March 29, at Insideout, 337 SW Eighth St., Miami; 786-703-6973; facebook.com/itsinsideoutmiami. Admission is free with RSVP via eventbrite.com.
Photo by Carl Fisher
In the era of the dance music festival and megaclub, it's refreshing to see a party that harks back to dance music's more lawless past when parties used to pop up in undisclosed warehouses. Though Warriors Miami isn't exactly an unpermitted affair, house maestro Steve Lawler and his friends are taking over the former OHWOW Gallery space in Allapattah for a 16-hour music marathon that will feature two stages and 10,000 square feet of dancing space. It's also the rare 18-and-over event. With Steve Lawler, Alex Kennon, Bontan, Josh Butler, Latmun, Kenny Dope, and others. Noon Friday, March 29, at 3100 NW Seventh Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $30 to $80 via eventbrite.com.
Photo by Galen Oakes
This writer has attended this party almost every year since its inception, and, yes, it's worth partying 24 hours straight for. On the bill are the usual suspects, including Damian Lazarus, DJ Tennis, and Guti, mixed with some perplexing choices — and decidedly less underground — such as Diplo and Gorgon City. However, don't doubt Lazarus and Crosstown Rebels' ability to transport partygoers far from the Miami Music Week chaos and into an experience that is still unmatched 14 years later. With Damian Lazarus, Diplo, Claude VonStroke, Danny Tenaglia, Felix da Housecat, and others. 5 a.m. Saturday, March 30, at a location to be announced. Tickets cost $120 to $200 via residentadvisor.net.
Elrow Miami: El Bowsque Encantado.
Photo by Andreas Waldschutz
If you're unfamiliar with the Barcelona party collective Elrow's brand of debauchery, you're late to the game. Elrow has been getting crowds moving from Ibiza to Dubai for nearly a decade. In the Magic City, the collective regularly makes appearances during Miami Music Week and Miami Art Week. This time, it returns with El Bowsque
Encantado — a sort of Alice in Wonderland
-on-acid experience that blurs the line between the performers and the audience. The lineup is stacked with acts such as Claptone
, Detlef, and Patrick Topping, but make no mistake: Elrow is always the headliner. With Claptone, Detlef, Latmun, Nathan Barato, Eddy M, Bastian Bux, and others. 10 p.m. Saturday, March 30, at Mana Wynwood, 318 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-573-0371; manawynwood.com. Tickets cost $60 to $85 via tixr.com.
DJ Harvey All Night Long.
Miami is about to lose a dance music institution. The Electric Pickle, Wynwood's pocket-sized dance club, will close after its lease ends in June due to rising rents in the neighborhood. This will mark the final Miami Music Week for the club, and it's celebrating with an impressive lineup all week. However, the most impressive is the open-to-close set by DJ Harvey, who these days regularly plays at large-scale festivals and nightclubs. Seeing him in a space that holds only about 150 people will be a treat. And if you know anything about the history of the Pickle, you know Harvey has played at the venue many times over the club's decade-long run. This set will be one for the ages. 10 p.m. Saturday, March 30, at Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-456-5613; electricpicklemiami.com. Tickets are sold out.
Porter Robinson is Virtual Self.
Photo by Jasmine Safaeian
Porter Robinson might be one of the smartest producers to come out of the EDM era. While everyone else believed the hype that the EDM bubble would never burst — newsflash: it did — Robinson quietly moved away from bombastic productions and began exploring other sounds, first with his 2014 debut album, Worlds.
Just when everyone thought they had Robinson figured out, he pivoted into trance
, techno, and '90s rave with his side project Virtual Self. He's performed as Virtual Self in Miami several times, most recently at III Points in February, but this time he'll take over Soho Studios. It will be interesting to see what he can do outside a festival setting. With Boy Noize. 10 p.m. Saturday, March 30, at Soho Studios, 2136 NW First Ave., Miami; 305-600-4785; sohostudiosmiami.com. Tickets cost $35 via seetickets.us.
Cuttin' Headz: The 24-Hour Party.
The Martinez Brothers
Monday? Then Space has the perfect party for you. Beginning Sunday, the 11th Street dance palace won't stop the music till Monday night. Tackling the monumental task are the Martinez Brothers, marking the third time they've led Space's closing ceremony. Joining them on the Terrace are Loco Dice, DJ Sneak, and Guti — because even the Martinez Brothers are human and can't DJ for 24 hours straight. Meanwhile, Davide Squillace, Matthias Tanzmann, Butch, and others will take over the Loft, and tINI and DeWalta will perform at the Ground. With the Martinez Brothers, Loco Dice, DJ Sneak, Doc Martin, Guti, and others. 11 p.m. Sunday, March 31, at Space, 34 NE 11th St., Miami; 305-375-0001; clubspace.com. Tickets cost $50 to $100 via residentadvisor.net.