This year, Miami's Ultra Music Festival turns 18 years old. Which means, under Ultra's new age restrictions, it can finally attend itself (while smoking a cigarette).
And the festival's maturity is starting to show. Day one of Ultra was largely a smooth success. Even Mother Nature cooperated (which didn't happen during last year's soggy opening day of Ultra). The Carl Cox tent is back (and still stunning), the live stage is packed with talent (and still criminally underattended), and the Main Stage is a masterpiece of modern technology (shoutout to Steve Lieberman and company).
Some of the day's headliners included Martin Garrix, Miike Snow, Jamie Jones, Carl Cox, Yellow Claw, and too many others to name here. We've discussed a few of our favorite below.
Arcadia’s Landing Show at Resistance Arcadia Spider
Last year, Ultra gave techno, deep house, and whatever else that didn’t exactly fit the EDM mold a place with the Resistance stage. (Arguably, the Carl Cox tent also steers clear of big-room house and the ilk, but Resistance felt grungier and more intimate — in a good way.) Last year’s stage, the Afterburner, was provided by Arcadia Spectacular, a performance-art collective. New Times was told depending on the crowd’s reaction, Arcadia would maybe return in 2016 with an even bigger stage. I’m guessing Ultra deemed last year’s trial run a success — I know I did — so this year, Arcadia returned with the Spider, a mechanical arachnid that soars above the crowd. The stage really shows its chops during “The Landing” show, in which the Spider awakens to scan the audience and deems humans: “Destructive.
Is there anything left to say about English DJ John Digweed that Wiki entries and
Chet Faker’s set at Ultra’s Live Stage should have been a gloriously slick hour of the Australian’s wicked brand of electro-tinged neo-soul. Instead, it was plagued by lengthy technical difficulties that cut his time in half, frustrating the uncommonly large crowd that had arrived early to the Bayfront Amphitheatre (as well those watching
Following in the footsteps of many great multi-instrumental acts on the Live Stage, Caribou’s Friday performance was woefully underattended. However, those who did make it found themselves treated to an ecstatic, colorful testimony to the power of electronic music. Although his records are produced in isolation, Dan Snaith, the man
At 19 years old, most people are just leaving the protective watch of their parents, sloppily learning to maneuver their way around a hangover and adult responsibility. Dutch producer and DJ Martin Garrix, however, is reaching an international pinnacle. The “Animals” star closed out the Ultra main stage, packing the final hour with a high-octane mix of shiny, happy, pop-house. It wasn't a bold set or even anything unexpected. Usher didn't crash the show, as he did during Garrix's early-evening set in 2015. He didn't rock the boat with any experimental sounds or genre-pushing vibes. He kept things straightforward and traditional, staying true to that post-Swedish House Mafia EDM sound. Essentially, he played it safe, but when 19 looks this easy, it's hard to imagine there ain't still room to grow. — by Kat Bein
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