DA’s Best of Basel party picks
Miami during Art Basel often resembles a more high-brow and worldly version of WMC. With all the action happening last week, it was difficult enough just to plan an itinerary of parties to hit. Now that the dust has settled and the maelstrom has passed, Dancing Astronaut looks back and reviews its favorite events from the week.
Guy Gerber and WIFE at Hyde Beach
While the Supplement Facts boss also delivered a noteworthy performance at the Delano later that weekend, it was his performance with artist troupe WIFE at the SLS’s Hyde Beach that really blew minds. Spinning from a DJ booth on the pool deck, Gerber stayed on the same level as guests the entire night, giving the event a laid-back, intimate house party feel. He played a groove-oriented set that laid old school hip hop vocals over bouncy basslines and made everybody want to head to the dance floor regardless of whether or not they were house fans. At 10pm, the real show began: three dancers from the Los Angeles based performing group WIFE took their places atop three rectangular pedestals and began a mind-bending interpretive dance performance as colored lights projected images and patterns onto their twisting bodies to tell a trippy, kaleidoscopic story. Gerber live-scored the entire performance with an interesting and eerie dubstep-influenced piece.
When Pigs Fly at Trade
The line to get into the Trade’s When Pigs Fly party (which wrapped around the street corner) should have been an indication of what awaited party-goers inside the warehouse-style venue. Any lingering doubt, however, should have dissipated upon entering the club’s first floor, where Matthew Dear and Carl Craig were delivering a back-to-back set of remixed ’80s classic rock tunes, dubbed over and warped to give them a rich, warm and somewhat eerie quality. Groove was the centerpiece of this performance and it filled the small and intimate room from corner to corner. Upstairs, a very different scene unfolded as Sasha and Dubfire took turns behind the decks while red flames twisted behind them on an enormous LED screen. The upstairs room, decorated with hanging vines and nets to resemble a jungle, was bursting with dancing bodies. Sasha opted for more techy-tribal sounds while Dubfire focused on dark, rounded, bass-heavy techno. The combination of the two together made for a set that crested and dipped like rolling waves.
Best Free Party
Solidisco and Junior Sanchez at Corona’s Electric Beach
Free parties are sometimes a red flag to the discerning music fan, as bookings and event preparation often falls short of expectations. Corona’s Electric Beach, however, did not disappoint for fans of house and nu-disco. Solidisco performed first on the Clevelander’s poolside stage. The duo played a few commercial hits for the sake of appeasing the crowd, but their set was delightfully peppered with plenty of remixes of disco-era hits that kept the atmosphere light and feeling like a summertime party. For the house fan, though, Junior Sanchez was the star of the show. He took things old school, leading with Oscar G’s classic hit “Darkbeat” and getting darker and groovier as the night wore on. Guests also received plenty of complimentary swag and a free Corona to help get in the groove.
Best Mega-Club Party
Marco Carola Music On Miami opening night at Story
This was a special party in more ways than one. Sure, Carola is a legend in his own right so anytime he plays in your hometown it’s a special occasion, but last Saturday marked the opening night of his new Music On Miami residency. Bill Patrick opened up for him with a tense, tech-house set that steadily got darker and more aggressive as Carola’s entrance approached. Around 1:45, the Italian techno heavyweight took over. He took things from techy to tribal before transitioning into dark, dubby techno. Story, awash in pulsating red light, provided the perfect backdrop to the driving basslines. Around 5:00am, the lights grew more intense and Carola opted for an increasingly stripped back sound some would refer to as Romanian Minimal (think artists like Raresh, Barac and Priku). From a musical standpoint, it was like being at Output but with high ceilings and bottle service.
Drumcode Showcase at Treehouse
Aside from maybe Trade (which is operated by the same team, LINK Miami Rebels), there is no better place in Miami to hear real bass-heavy techno than Treehouse. Drumcode heavyweights Cari Lekebusch and Manic Brothers took over the venue’s second room which, if you’ve never been there, is dark, intimate, and contains one of the most mind-blowing sound systems on Miami Beach. The bass was palpable – it was the kind of set that gets under your skin and induces an almost trance-like carnal state of being. Some might call that an exaggeration, but one look at the crowd suggested otherwise.
Best Extended Set
Paul Van Dyk at Space
Watching Paul Van Dyk perform an extended set is akin to watching a master musician hard at work. Watching him perform at Space was like taking a trip back in time to the warehouse parties of old. Boasting one of the most complicated sound setups in the game (according to numerous audio engineers), the Vandit label boss never fails to dazzle with his live remixing capabilities. Though we only caught the last couple of hours, it was enough to remember just how beautiful trance could sound in a big room.