Recap: The Top 3 Highlights of Day 2 at Ultra 2015

Photo: Tomas Loewy

An 18-year-old with flushed red cheeks and messy hair led an eventful day two of the Ultra Music Festival at Bayfront Park.

Cooler temperatures and clear skies made Downtown Miami a prime setting for electronic dance music, or Ariana Grande, who had a concert nearby at the AmericanAirlines Arena.

Anyway, here is our Saturday recap of Ultra and Miami Music Week:

3. Small Sets (food too)

Yes, food can be a highlight. Beyond the array of sponsored drinks and handouts, the other half of the equation, food, is just as important to us, especially after all the fist pumping we did Saturday. We were particularly impressed with the cornbread from Gigi in midtown at the Red Bull Guest House at the Sagamore Hotel, as well as the fries with chipotle mayo ($4) from North Miami’s Bulldog Barbecue & Burger at Ultra. The latter was well worth it, considering other options at Ultra included pizza at $7 per slice and $25 for a large order of fries from another vendor. As for the music, AC Slater’s set at the Rec Room underneath the Gale Hotel South Beach put a different spin on how the majority of DJs during Miami Music Week have played hip-hop. For example, one lyric of a hip-hop track would shift pretty smoothly into an up-tempo beat, almost like a video you didn’t know was edited. 


2. Hardwell Does His Thing

DJ Mag’s top DJ entered the fray. And, that’s pretty much all that we need to say. Hardwell’s Ultra set included a nice mix of Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” and even The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.” The latter, which is a popular chant during Miami Heat games (ooh oh oh oh oooh oh…), was enjoyed by the Ultra crowd in the same manner. Hardwell, whose real name is Robbert van de Corput, also played a few songs off his new album, “United We Are,” including “Echo” and “Nothing Can Hold Us Down.” Plus, a few Top 40 EDM hits including Calvin Harris’ “Blame” and Alesso’s “Heroes.” Oh, and what’s Ultra without a brand new track? Hardwell introduced Dannic on-stage for “Survivor,” a fast-paced record that’s sure to be a hit. 


1. Martin Garrix is an Animal 

We mean that in the best way possible! The 18-year-old Dutch DJ had, by our accounts, one of the most memorable Ultra performances in years. Speaking of “Animals,” Garrix mixed the popular track with what sounded like xylophone scales early in his set. But, for his new single “Don’t Look Down,” he had some major help in the form of 8-time Grammy Award winner Usher. At one point during the track, Usher and Garrix both stood on top of the DJ booth, just waiting for the beat to drop as the crowd roared in delight (we like surprises, too). It was, well, freaking awesome. The only thing better than Usher vocals on an EDM track (see David Guetta’s “Without You” for reference) is live Usher vocals on an EDM track. Garrix didn’t just stop at an Usher appearance, however, playing his new track with Avicii, entitled “Waiting For Love,” which features John Legend’s vocals. Besides the music, Garrix’s visuals on stage also deserve props. While playing the track “helicopter,” a scale, presumably remote-controlled helicopter zipped overhead as target simulation was shown on the screens. All in all, we have plenty of music to listen to again in the office Monday because of Garrix.