Charlotte de Witte. Charlotte de Witte is the latest in a line of great Belgian electronic artists to break through globally. Like Front 242 and Soulwax before her, de Witte has proven to be one of Belgium’s top musical exports. As the curator behind techno showcase KNTXT, de Witte knows a thing or two about commanding an audience’s attention using little more than throbbing kick drums and skittering hi-hats. Even with a sunny Miami afternoon as her backdrop, de Witte had no problem transposing the vibe of beloved Belgian nightclub Kompass to the Carl Cox Megastructure. Playing to a packed tent, she was not afraid to slow things down for brief melodic interludes. She briefly dropped her remix of Eats Everything’s “Space Raiders,” much to the joy of ravers clad in Minions costumes. Just months before Ultra, de Witte played at Club Space in August 2018; given the roar of applause that accompanied the end of Sunday’s set,
Josh Wink. Call it a sign of the times: Although Josh Wink graced the very first Ultra lineup — and has returned to the festival several times since — his set at the Resistance Reflector tent Sunday was sparsely populated. Nonetheless, the Philadelphia-born DJ and producer spun a set worthy of his reputation. Mixing with a light touch, Wink’s set ran through head nod-inducing breakbeats, twangy 303 synth lines, and eerie vocal samples reminiscent of his seminal track “Don’t Laugh.” Ultra-goers, brush up on the masters. — Zach Schlein
Afrojack. Afrojack is no stranger to the Ultra lineup. He's been gracing the stage for the past nine years. The DJ/producer took the main stage in a dingy white T-shirt and a fitted cap, allowing his set to speak louder than his outfit. He effortlessly catered to house lovers and pushed “the typical rave music” through the speakers. Afrojack bounced back and forth between instrumental tracks with heavy bass and fan-favorite singles he remixed himself. He notably included more hip-hop tracks during his set than most DJs, allowing Drake, Ne-Yo, and Juice World to shine during an EDM festival. — Cristina Jerome
Rezz. Rezz was one of the few female DJs booked this year at Ultra, so catching her set and showing her love was easy. The Canadian DJ took the stage at the Ultra Worldwide, the first structure upon entering the venue. As she dug into her set, her red visuals flashed along eight screens that wrapped around the U-shaped structure. Suddenly, her electronic set took a hard left turn as she switched gears into
Tale of Us. Just a few hours after going back-to-back with Maceo Plex at Space, Tale of Us made it to Ultra for an early evening set at the Carl Cox Megastructure. Breaking from the far harder tones of Charlotte de Witte just before them, the two DJs indulged in their signature sound of epic, sweeping productions. The visuals that usually accompany the Resistance stages — namely, the neon hues and graphics displaying the artists’ names — were eschewed for more minimal imagery, including a single undulating line of light and water flowing in reverse. The performance became more dramatic as the night set in, with several peak moments, including one track that closely resembled Acid Pauli’s moving “Nana,” accompanied by billowing fog and expertly deployed lights. As long as Tale of Us continues to stand out from its dance music peers, we’ll keep coming back for more. — Zach Schlein
The Chainsmokers. After the bad taste in most mouths following the Chainsmokers' subpar 2017 performance at the American Airlines Area, fans were ready to give the duo another chance. The crowd waited eagerly in silence as there was no transition music from David Guetta’s set to the next, just a stage full of white lights. Suddenly, the stage went black, and an electro-pop pulse began to ooze through the speakers and grabbed the crowd's attention. This was the last set scheduled for the main stage, and the Chainsmokers planned on giving ravers a last hurrah before they piled into buses.
The duo of Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart began with an instrumental, then rudely faded into a remix of Cardi B’s "Bodak Yellow." There was a notable break in the transition, which threw off the already offbeat ravers, but the crowd pushed through. “We are the motherfucking Chainsmokers, and we’re taking care of you tonight,” Pall yelled into the mike. Then they made another harsh transition into “Don’t Let Me Down,” featuring Daya, followed by another instrumental.
The two teetered between pop staples and instrumentals, sounding like a 3 a.m. Power 96 set. Whether the harsh transitions are their DJ'ing style or lack of practice, the crowd was underwhelmed. The highlight, if you want to call it that, was Illenium’s appearance, adding live performance value and a new track. — Cristina Jerome
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