Hotflush Miami showcase recovers from venue mishap, delivers powerful back to back sets
Of all of the events I was scheduled to attend this year, the Hotflush Recordings showcase was one I’d probably been looking forward to the most. I’d been closely following Scuba since Personality and George Fitzgerald since his 2012 Child EP. Already in 2013, the pair have popped up for a killer 70 minute Boiler Room set and George has obliterated the Radio 1 airwaves with his January Essential Mix. This same b2b setup in Miami would fill my giddy fangirl tendencies, but it was also WMC’s worst-kept secret that Adam Beyer would be joining Cirez D as two very special guests of the label.
I was excited to hit up this showcase regardless of its location and size, but a last minute change in venue from Electric Pickle in Downtown Miami to Club Axis in South Beach ended up being almost a relief. Not only was I able to avoid the headache of navigating through post-Ultra crowds, but it seemed the change also noticeably reduced the size of the crowd for the evening. Although this isn’t an ideal outcome for the promoter, artist, or venue, at the end of ten days of logistical headaches and overcrowded venues, I have little doubt this improved the event for me and many Hotflush fans.
Walking into Club Axis a little after 1 a.m., the blast of cold air and open space quite literally provided the shot of adrenaline I had needed after several days of disorganization, miscommunication, and overly entitled industry people. Opposed to terse conversation and drunken agitation, people at Axis were calm, considerate, and genuinely enjoying themselves. South London Ordnance and Dusky had warmed up the night, but Scuba and George owned from the time I arrived through to 3:30 a.m. I admire Scuba most for his expertly produced compositions and with George Fitzgerald, it’s more about garage and deep house. When the two team up (which I’ve now been able to witness twice), it’s a whole lot of dark, synthetic, and industrial techno. In their set on Saturday, they did move into more organic and uptempo sounds, but then back to even harder rolling bass lines and pulsing rhythms. It was that kind of intensity you can’t help but to feel through your entire core. Scuba brings the dark, George brings the deep.
J. Wiltshire’s brand new “How It Is,” Mike Dunn and MD X-Press’s “God Made Me Phunky,” a Chris Simmonds remix of DJ Assassin’s “A Face In The Crowd,” Duke Dumont’s “The Giver,” and Joy O’s “BRTHDTT” all made appearances throughout the set and of their own originals, they included George’s newly released “Thinking of You,” the Deetron remix of “Every Inch,” the NY Storm remix of “Child,” his remix of Jessie Ware’s “No To Love,” and Scuba’s “Adrenalin.”
One minute into Cirez D and Adam Beyer’s b2b, it was clear this pair of techno titans meant business. Maybe Prydz felt as if he had something to prove after rumored technical glitches in his set from Space the previous night, but maybe it was just the combination of an overwhelming amount of talent that consumed the carefree venue. In the entirety of the 90 minute set, there was no prominent layer of hats — the bass, as is the case with most good techno, subsumed all highs. It was straightforward, hard, dark techno. A clear highlight (and one of Cirez D’s most recognizable tracks) was “On Off.” House lights and tempo increased together in time, and the dedicated crowd could not have possibly responded more positively to the dramatic ten minute build towards the climax of this incredible track. There’s no doubt that room would have kept churning through sunrise, but despite chant for “one more tune,” power was cut just shortly after 5 a.m. Nights like this are what makes a cross-country flight and total exhaustion worth it.