Festivalgoers probably would have welcomed shade thrown at them Friday. The literal, rain-stopping kind of course.
Makeshift ponchos out of garbage bags, cardboard boxes and at least one umbrella kept an idle few dry during day one of the Ultra Music Festival at Bayfront Park. The rain, much like the beats, was heavy and consistent throughout the day.
But, there were still highlights to be had. We endured the mud, soaked clothes and slick surfaces to bring you our Friday recap of Ultra and Miami Music Week. With that said, we hope there’s a poncho salesperson at Ultra next year (or later this weekend) too.
3. Headlining Hardwell
The Dutch DJ, whose real name is Robbert van de Corput, already had us in his good graces because it wasn’t raining at the time. He closed out the SiriusXM Music Lounge at the W South Beach with a half-hour set which included his new catchy, love-tinged single, “Follow Me,” which features the vocals of South Florida’s own Jason Derulo. The single is off Hardwell’s debut album, “United We Are,” which dropped in January. DJ Mag’s top DJ also spun his 2012 single, “Apollo,” and O.T. Genasis’ “CoCo.” Hardwell’s tunes, paired with free sweatbands being tossed in the air, made for a pretty eventful 30 minutes. We can’t wait for his Ultra set tonight!
2. Alesso Beats the Rain
Maybe it was the pouring rain for the Swedish DJ’s entire set, but Alesso, whose real name is Alessandro Lindblad, told the crowd that they were crazier than the rain. Crazy for staying in the rain, we thought (and did too). We particularly enjoyed the Alesso versus OneRepublic “If I Lose Myself” mix and, what just about everyone waited in the rain for, “Heroes.” He also played his track with Calvin Harris, “Under Control,” as well as “Sweet Escape.” Alesso also had about a good 15 to 20 seconds, by our estimates, of straight fireworks (a nice wrinkle overall on the main stage) at the end of his set. A reward for staying in the rain? We’ll take it.
1. Avicii Returns
Hey, brother. After canceling his Ultra set last year because of a blocked gall bladder which left him hospitalized, Tim Bergling, better known as Avicii, took his reins on the main stage without missing a beat. His introduction, signaled on the towering screens overhead, “Miami, can you love me again?” was a smooth transition into a brief mix of the popular John Newman track. The best part about Avicii’s set was the pure music, there was no need to hype the crowd or talk in-between beats on his part. The Swedish DJ ran through his gamut of hits, including “Hey Brother,” “Wake Me Up” and “Levels.” Now, if only another particular DJ can pull an Avicii and return next year (cough, Calvin Harris).