In what was a deadbeat summer last year, I mean extremely deadbeat, so much so I was scared for house music in Miami, this summer seems to be taking on a whole new persona – one full of life and activity that will guide us through the long days ahead.
One telltale is the line-up for Memorial Day weekend. Usually, this is a silent weekend in dance. Hip-hop comes to town and rules the city for three days, and then we get our dance events back…or at least that’s historically how it’s been.
Well, investors and party planners have stopped this trend. In fact, there seems to be some intense competition for dance-heads that will go all summer long. Why the competition all has to be on Sunday? I don’t know, but start roll-call, organized by start time, and starting with the most obvious:
Space 12a – Best club in the world. Ok, rightfully so. Since the year 2000, we have been waiting for the sunrise, dancing ’til morning comes. So 19 years later, which is quite a feat in longevity, Space still gets some of the largest names in house music to spin. However, a magic tends to be lost when there’s smartphones in your face, and you’re trying to be incognito behind your sunglasses. On the plus side, it’s summer and it’s the best time to be there because it has the highest concentration of locals that you will see all-year round. It’s air-conditioned. You can eat proper food and stay hydrated with exotic juices now, too. Cons: sometimes it is way too smoky/not properly ventilated, the bathrooms haven’t been renovated in 20 years (unbelievable when they charge the prices they do), and it can be somewhat overhyped and overcrowded and not with the right kind of people.
BT’s on the River 4a – Yes, this is a strip-club, but hear me out. The owners of Booby Trap are doing so well, they are attempting to compete with Space. There’s not a lot of people on the scene that have the capability to do this, the funds, and the will to make it happen. Hence, BT’s Patio on the River…it is a separate vibe from the open-format debacle happening indoors. The patio has its own sound system, bar, and DJ. Actually, it’s the DJ that first started Club Space in the first place. Ivano Bellini 20 years later is still a master on the decks and may be the only one who can convert this patio into the next it-spot. The patio is outdoors, large, on the river, palm trees in view. Sunshine on the face makes it reminiscent of the old Space days. I even got that nauseous/butterfly feeling walking in, since you don’t really know what’s going to happen. 24/7 food and drinks. And the cherry on top, free. Cons: It’s summer, and there’s little to no fans. To use bathrooms, must go inside which can kill your house music vibe. It’s a new party so promotions need to get people here. Also, strippers will be in the general population, which can a pro or a con, whichever way you view it.
Clevelander Rooftop 12p – These guys want to bring house music back to the beach. They will be taking a break Memorial Day weekend festivities, but every other Sunday you can expect to have South beach, ocean views while vibing to house music. It’s a unique location and I’m thrilled to have it be a weekly installment by the Housecats label, including Ricky D and crew. Cons: Not enough shade/umbrellas. Entry getting upstairs can be a bit cumbersome with hotel staff (if they can get that streamlined). Also, being on Ocean Dr. can make getting there a creative pursuit. But the party is worth the commute, and it goes ‘til midnight.
Relic at Factory Patio 4p – These guys are the newest group to compete for Sunday action. What was previously a Saturday night gig, the label, headed by Fiin, has re-situated itself for the long haul on Sundays, which are advertised to go until 5a Monday. To pop off their new schedule, headliner Hot since 82 is doing an open-air event this MDW. This is a new party and a new part of Factory that they are utilizing, so reviews are TBD. I like Factory as a whole (former Space owner Louie Puig is co-owner) so odds are this dance series will do well.
Barter Wynwood 5p – What a move. Roger Sanchez takes his Under the Radr label parties to Barter. They celebrated their 1-year anniversary at Lucky this past Music Conference, but the deterioration in treatment by 1-800-Lucky ultimately led to Roger saying, “Bye!” So Barter becomes the new Lucky. I love the Under the Radr line-ups. From Cocodrills to Kristen Knight, they seem to have the most renowned local talent. Adequate shade, food, 2 bars, their own parking lot. Plenty of room to dance. Cons: The space is large. It will take numbers to fill the venue with the right vibe, and this will be a challenge as Barter is a bit off the Golden Path of 23rd/24th St in Wynwood. However, this is Roger Sanchez’s label and I’m pretty sure the music will convert the masses to the new location. Party goes ‘til 3a Mondays.
Mokai 11p – Yes, this club is still in business, and I may be as shocked as you. (Anybody remember the days of hopping back and forth from Gansevoort/Louis to here?) Well, they are bringing house music back to the beach Sunday nights. And it may well turn into a verifiable option once the Clevelander shuts down at midnight. I have not yet checked this out, so reviews are TBD.
That being said, Sundays are meant for rock-stars. And on no counts does it look like Miami will have a dull summer. See you out there! 😎