The collective celebration of electronic dance music (otherwise known as Ultra Music Festival) finally kicked off yesterday at Bayfront Park. And a few hiccups aside, everything seemed to go smoothly. We had gotten so used to the layout at Bicentennial Park that first thing we did was survey the lay of the land which stretched all the way from Bayside Marketplace to the InterContinental Miami Hotel.
What I can only imagine was a planning nightmare, organizers had to contend with Bayfront's many obstacles (i.e. rolling hills, monuments, permanent stages) and make sense of it all. Surprisingly, it works!
We spent most our time at the Live Stage because its programming never fails to take the most risks. Most the time, the acts booked don't fit the classic mold of electronic dance music. But somehow, they always seem to mesh perfectly with the Ultra aesthetic.
Alan Palomo and Neon Indian arguably belong to that outsider set. Playing before New Order (which was great, by the way), Palomo and his band faced a less-than-full amphitheater. That's probably because everyone was at the Main Stage going apeshit for Tommy Trash and Martin Solveig.
But what the Main Stagers missed was a band that seamlessly blends indie rock, pop, EDM, and New Wave. And yesterday's performance proved to us once and for all that Neon Indian's outgrown the awful chillwave tag that was once bestowed upon them by Pitchfork. It's always the outfits with the most skill that are able to overcome such flash-in-the-pan genres.
We didn't stay for Neon Indian's full set, but the kids in attendance seemed to love it. And even with the awkwardly permanent setting (fixed seating, multiple railings, other infrastructure), which we grew to love by the time Kraftwerk came on, the crowds was full of excitement for the first full day of Ultra.
Anyway, in lieu of a review, here is a clip of Neon Indian's performance so you can judge for yourself: