Ultra Music Fest 2011: 10 Things Seen and Overheard Saturday
Miami Music Week's peak day continued its streak of perfect weather and astoundingly big crowds, all swept up in electronic music fever. In fact, as the sun set, it seemed that you could hear an insistent kickdrum from any point in the city.
Some highlights from the 24-hour cycle they called Saturday (since "day" and "night" are subjective this week):
1. Trance DJ/producer and Armada label head Armin van Buuren talked up his association with Flowd, a new GPS/social media app that allows fans to check out and check into their favorite DJs' favorite spots worldwide. "We're going to update it at the same time my Facebook and Twitter feeds," he said.
2. Backstage at Ultra, Dirty Vegas, whose "Days Go By" was famously featured on a Mitsubishi TV spot in 2003, were basking in the electronic explosion.
"It was kind of frustrating when we came across 10 years ago," confessed singer Steve Smith. "People didn't get it, our label didn't get it. They inherited us because we had a song on a commercial; they didn't know what to do. But now it's such a celebration time for electronic music, we're really excited." Their third album, "Electric Love," will be released on April 26.
3. It was a techno DJ lovefest at the Beatport Beach Party. Richie Hawtin, Ambivalent, Barem, and Carlo Lio crowded the booth while Dubfire, formerly of hit-making duo Deep Dish, dropped minimal rhythms for the neon-decked crowd.
4. The Miami Beach fire marshal closed the doors of the Swedish House Mafia's Masquerade Motel at around 6 p.m., but that didn't stop crowds of dancers from continuing the party outside the plastic gates through the event's end at 11.
5. Black Eyed Peas manager Polo Molina and Electric Daisy Carnival promoter Pasquale Rotella having a full-on early-morning breakdancing battle behind the DJ booth during Kaskade's party at LIV.
6. The entire festival seemingly dropped whatever they were going and rushed the Ultra Live tent at precisely 4:20, when Skrillex's set started.
7. Moby prepared for a rare DJ set at Carl Cox's Ultra tent, which wouldn't resemble the contemplative music on "Destroyed," his upcoming full-length. "There's a time and a place for bombast," he said.
8. Ultra revelers risked heat stroke in homemade deadmau5 mouseheads - ranging from electric blue to disco ball-mirrored to gold sequined - some wearing them faithfully from 2 p.m. on (deadmau5's set started at 10:30).
9. Mad scientist James Zabiela wowed the crowd at small club Mokai, DJ-ing with an iPad and an unknown, decidedly more analog-looking device that resembled a remote control.
10. Lady Gaga reminded the crowd that she's always let her dance flag fly by literally writing her name in the clouds (courtesy a sky-writing plane) during Afrojack's Ultra main stage set.
(Additional reporting: Josh Bennett, lessthan3.com)