MMW Prep + Q&A

We are exactly 30 days away from the first MMW week party. Are you ready?

First, the essentials:

  • Portable battery charger
  • Good earplugs (these have lasted me a year now. I love them. As a 5’8 female, I use the “smaller” earplugs.)
  • Gum and Blow-pops (no other lollipops will do)
  • Comfortable dancing shoes (shock-absorbent, that you don’t mind getting dirty/wet).
  • Sunglasses that are nice, but that you also don’t mind losing.
  • A watch (for set-times)…pulling out your phone is annoying.
  • A pack of tissues (never rely on bathroom stalls having what they need)
  • A bandana. (I like to tie mine around the wrist.) It can act as a last-resort cleaning tool (think dirt in your eye), or coverage from direct sunlight (think heat exhaustion).
  • Cash. Nothing is worst than having to use an ATM at a pool party after waiting in line for a drink. Cash also makes all drink stands at Ultra accessible.
  • Access to my upcoming events page so you can decide in last-minute/ on-the-go party-hopping.

Now the beware guide:

  • The Delano charges $17 for a bottle of water (includes tax and gratuity). This is a complete rip-off. I suggest chugging water before going into one of their parties and just riding it out sober, because no one has time to dehydrate and hydrate at those prices.
  • Ultra security guards can be bitches. I walked in early last year and they wouldn’t let me in with a back-pack (despite having used it the past two days). I spent $60 on a see-through Guess bag at Bayside so I could make it in to see my favorite trance artists (Gabriel & Dresden) perform. You do NOT want to commit this mistake while you are on Virginia Key. There will be no easily-accessible shops to come to your rescue. Read the dress code of what is allowed because as I was told, “It changes every year.”

Now that you are prepared with a checklist, and know what not to do. Let’s talk about the kick-off. On Saturday, March 23rd the Nervous Records/Made in Miami pool party launches MMW 2019. This year, it will be held at The National, and the ringing-in is a must for locals.

I say this, but I will also admit, I haven’t been to one since 2014, and that’s because of the change in scheduling. It was easier to fit in the party during the weekend of Ultra, but to start the week early has always seemed like a superhero-status move. Maybe I’m feeling strong this year. (Barre class, what’s up.)

And we will need our strength starting Wednesday. It’s a hopper alright. A must-see for me is Hector Couto, which means I’ll be at the National again to see him along with Seb Zito, Nathan Barato, ALX, and more.

Trade re-emerges like a high-school reunion, and the parties there kick off Wednesday as well with wAFF, Max Chapman, and a special guest. For nostalgia and the music, I must make an appearance.

And lastly, to end the night on a magical note, I intend to finally see Yotto, who will be at Treehouse. Ambitious? You don’t know the lengths I will go.

Meanwhile Adam Beyer, Luciano, and Steve Lawler were all contenders on my list, but Beyer will be at Ultra and Luciano and Lawler are all over the map. However, the Carl Craig, Steve Lawler, Danny Teneglia, wAFF pool party on Wednesday at the Epic might cross off a lot of boxes. I need to find out where else Hector Couto is playing. (TBD)

Thursday, I require a nap after work. And I won’t be shocked if I reach a similar Art-Basel-kind-of-delirium by Friday evening. Work, nap, party, nap. Repeat. I got NO time off people. So no complaining.

Thursday, my MAN will be playing at Treehouse. I will always call him my first love (because his music is what really drew me in), DIRTY SOUTH. I love him. And even though I just saw him a couple of months ago for his new album release party (‘Darko’!!), I have to be there. If you don’t support your favorite DJ, what rules are you operating on in this environment? It’s a moral compass. It’s a clear right and wrong decision. And I don’t intend to screw that up. Ever. So first up, Dirty South.

He plays an open-to-close set. I find this marketing ironic because years ago, DJs would play significant set times, no need to market “open-to-close,” but now-a-days, DJs play their two hours and they’re done. But not Dirty South. He shut-it-down last time, and he’ll be shutting it down again. Whether I stay all six hours? Oh, that is hard to tell. Treehouse isn’t my favorite venue. But I loveee Dirty. Pryda, on the other hand, will be what everyone talks about, but he’ll also be at Ultra so it’s not a complete loss. (Factory is a bangin’ venue though.)

If I make it to Factory for Pryda, I’m definitely finding a way into the West Room (the smaller room) for Mark Knight. I like challenges like this. One, because it saves me money, and two, it forces me to network. At my stage in the game, (12+ years now), if you’re not getting hooked up some-way some-how, you’re doing it wrong. I don’t always win, but it’s a fun game to play.

Above and Beyond is also at RC Cola Thursday night, but they too will be at Ultra. I also HATE the setup of the RC Cola plant because the entrance is right next to the stage. I went one year to the A&B party and I couldn’t last more than 30 minutes because of the bottleneck of people at the entrance. My anxiety was through the non-existent roof. The venue is not setup for at-capacity numbers, and the gridlock was way too much for me to handle.

Friday is the beginning of the end, and Ultra hasn’t even begun. There’s the Epic pool party, which I want to see because of the line-up. Artists I haven’t seen before like Lee Foss, Michael Bibi, Huxley, Detlef, and Secondcity will be there along with others I have seen like MK & Prok & Fitch. Then, I go onto Ultra.

Saturday, I won’t want to move. But I’m obliged. I must finally check out the Get Lost party, Elrow, and I love some Anjunabeats. So I’ll take my leisure here. It’s my weekend after all.

Sunday, I’m back in it to win it. I start with the Ants pool party (depending on the set times) or more likely I’ll just head straight to Ultra. I will be in that Carl Cox tent shutting it down for the first time on a Sunday!

Pros of this intinerary: Do-able, I get to see new events and new artists, and I get to partake in some nostalgic experiences as well.

Cons: No surfcomber pool party on the agenda 🙁

Now, some Q&A if you’re riding a different itinerary, which all of you will be. And odds are, I will be too. But planning is part of the fun. 🙂

Q. What yacht party do you recommend for the week?

A. I was a big fan of sunrise cruises, but it doesn’t look like they do those anymore. All the yacht parties are at sunset, and if I were to choose one, I would choose Sasha + Yotto on the Biscayne Lady. However, it might be interesting to take the cruise on Friday for tINI because you might get a unique glimpse of Ultra at the same time.

Have another question? DM me and maybe I’ll add to this list 🙂 Happy MMW shopping everyone!

The concept of DJ-meets-Food

In 2013, the concept was novel. Never before had I danced so heavily under the same roof offering a sit-down breakfast.

The setting was highly unlikely as I was approaching the end of a 36-hour dance marathon on the Groove Cruise. And despite the great tunes of the Cocodrills that sunrise morning, I desperately needed food. Perhaps the genius unfolded when I saw someone else lead the way. But I was so fortunate to grab my waffles, bacon, and syrup with a glass of orange juice and come right back outside, to happily dance in my seat and shake my head, while not having to leave what my ears wanted to listen to. 

I was having a readily available meal still in the range of great sound. And I’m not talking hunched over by a rope or a pole, on the other side of the venue, scarfing down a hamburger or falafel. It was a proper sit-down meal with silverware and dining table, adjacent to the dance floor. I had always had to sacrifice sounds for something delicious, but this wasn’t the case. I listened, and I tasted. I relaxed. It was sensory overload I had never experienced before. 

No wonder the concept’s taken off.

In Miami, 1-800-Lucky is the truest form of this ambiance as you can have a sit-down meal next to a proper dance floor where neither sound or accessibility is compromised. You can pop-in or you can pop-out.

It took over five years for this concept to manifest locally from that fateful morning on deck when the Under the Radar parties began at 1-800-Lucky last April. And despite the party being less than a year old now, it would be hard to identify Miami’s dance culture without Lucky operating each and every weekend. It’s become a rite of passage, a safe-haven, a go-to, to anyone hungry, for music or for food.

We have warmly welcomed, and perhaps may even be migrating towards this dynamic of food-meets-listening pleasure. But what does that mean for our club culture?

Well, if it wasn’t cut-throat before, competition is certainly fierce now. A club charges money upfront, usually without re-entry, whereas an eating establishment removes that initial barrier of cost. It allows patrons to flow freely in and out, giving patrons autonomy over the time and money they dedicate to a given place.

Clubs are modern-day monogamy.

They are an investment. And like monogamy, clubs offer an intimacy that is hard to find elsewhere. It’s attraction of like-meets-like. Both attendees have offered up their autonomy, their freedom, to conduct themselves in the confines of said-establishment. It’s a community of the devoted. To the DJ, to the club, to each other. There is no room to threesome with food or other less passionate patrons.

But what is also happening with our club culture? The novelty of a club used to be that an outsider had no idea what was going on inside. The curiosity was almost painful. What is going on in there? Well, social media has changed the game. On any Sunday morning, you can check the Location stories of various venues and see if what you missed on was all that special. So you may convince yourself to save a dollar or a hundred and just watch clips the morning after.

I recently spent a Sunday afternoon with Ivano Bellini, and he remarked how the two things you used to go to a club for, music and to hook-up, you can now do from the privacy from your bedroom. (Thanks to the Smartphone.) 

So what is drawing people out? Well, we all still have to eat, we all still need human-to-human interaction, and we all still love music. So a winning combination seems to provide an element of each of these. Thus, we see the burgeoning of venues, be it lounges, restaurants, or food courts, hosting top-notch DJs alongside delectable food.

What are some of the venues I’m speaking of? Well, just featured in my latest interview with Patrick M is Chotto Matte, a restaurant/lounge off Lincoln Road owned by UK underground DJ William Noble, where music is an important component of the experience. STK, Komodo, and Villa Azur are other party locations known to provide food as well as DJs, but without a proper dance floor. (And sometimes stick with Top 40 music, bleck.)

It seems like rooftop lounges in Wynwood have the setup with space to dance, such as No. 3 Social and the newer Astra, but a dance phenomena has yet to ensue in these locations. It seems the only place to really get you sweating to the beats is 1-800-Lucky. And I believe it won’t be long before another establishment tries to compete.

Do I think clubs will go away altogether? No, like I said, there’s a special bond made in the club-going experience. That alone will keep clubs in business. People will pay to be united with their kind, to share in something that’s not-to-be-repeated. 

Clubs also pay homage most significantly to the music (ok, not all clubs do this.) It is important having a space where music is the single most important aspect. Not the light show spectacle or the taste of the foie gras. So a club can achieve this. Sometimes all it takes is a dark room and a good soundsystem to make a night “the-best-night-ever. “

That being said, what could be improved upon? I would love to see a venue open up at 7am and take the Space crowd to a type of 1-800-Lucky establishment, but serving breakfast (tying in with my first experience of DJ-meets-food), and having the party continue in a cleaner, more modern establishment. That would be magnificent, to watch the sunrise in that capacity. Maybe incorporate a water element? A misting area? I may be getting crazy here, but there’s so much opportunity in how we can incorporate music and food in our 24/7-Miami-lifestyle culture. It’s our responsibility to push the limits with our music scene. So what will we create next? Can you help create something new? If not, how will you support (with your pocketbook) the venues you want to see thrive?

That being said, 1-800-Lucky doesn’t miss a beat. Sunday night they will host Patrick M for the first time. Let’s keep showing our support. And if you missed it, check my interview with Patrick M, and get to know a little bit of our home-grown talent! (Well, home-grown, enough 😉 ) See you on the dance floor!

Exclusive interview with Patrick M

Q. You came from Argentina over 15 years ago. How did you start your career in Miami?

Actually, I came to Miami in 2001, just to see what was going on. My first months here were really tough. I got my first gigs at some private parties, and then I started selling records at Grooveman Music. Those opportunities made me stay.

Q. In 2005, you joined the Club Space team as a resident DJ, alongside Ivano Bellini and Louis Puig. How was it joining the original team? Were you warmly welcomed? And do you still keep in touch with some of the resident DJs from that time?

It was really good at that time. Cedric [Gervais] was also a resident after he left Crobar on South Beach. At the beginning, it wasn’t easy. I came with a kind of a different sound. Some people didn’t get it. But after a period of time, I started to feel that magic on the terrace. Yes, I still keep in touch with Ivano, Louis, and some of the big guests we used to have.

Q. Would you say Space catapulted your career as a Miami DJ, or was it some other opportunity that paved the way?

Space was the big thing, but I cannot forget Nikki Beach on Sundays and Nocturnal with Roland & Biz for “Local Celebrity.” Both those parties helped me a lot.

Q. In all the years, is there a particular party in Miami, that you DJ-ed, that stands out as your favorite?

There’s a couple to remember. One was a 4th of July party with Erick Morillo, and then there was a pool party playing with Danny Tenaglia.

Q. Where are you playing these days? Do you approach music differently than let’s say 10 years ago?

I’m playing in Miami right now at select venues. I’m at the 1 Hotel Rooftop bi-weekly, spin Saturdays at Chotto Matte, and I also have a monthly residency at No. 3 Social. I am also doing gigs out of town, like in LA, NYC, Texas, Mexico, and Buenos Aires, just to name a few. I’m definitely in a different stage right now with my music. I would say I’m more house oriented.

Q. Do you have any comments on the Miami music scene as it stands today? Is there something you want to achieve professionally in 2019?

The Miami scene has been changing a lot lately, but it’s definitely one of the best in the world right now. For me, I want to keep DJing as Patrick M, and I want keep pushing my new project DYAB, which is a new alias of mine. It’s more melodic and deep style/afro house. My first release is already out on Beatport.

Q. Currently, you have a residency at Chotto Matte off Lincoln Road on Miami Beach. When did this start?

This is a cool place that opened up in April 2018. The original one is in Soho, London. It isn’t a club, but sometimes it looks like it. There are packed nights at this Japanese restaurant with a great bar, owned by one of the best underground London DJs, William Noble. So music there is very important, and the customers really appreciate that. The staff there is simply amazing with some of the best team-work I’ve seen.

Q. Have you been able to try anything on the menu? If so, what is your favorite dish or drink?

The menu is great!! The nikkei sashimi and octopus anticucho are my favorites. As for drinks, I definitely recommend, “She is so Smoking.”

Q. The new year came not too long ago. Is there a new year’s resolution that you’re keeping with?

Well, one of my resolutions as a DJ/Producer is to try to get out more new music. I want to release on my own label, Xima Records, but also on others that I’m fond of.

Q. Lastly, you have a gig coming up at 1-800-Lucky. I believe this is your first time spinning there? What kind of set can we expect to hear from you?

Oh yessss, I’m so excited to play there on Sunday, February 17th. It’s my debut at this solid party, which is presented by one of the biggest legends in the industry, Roger Sanchez. I’m definitely working on some good tracks. Always funky and groovy with some vocals, and of course, some classics as well. It’s going to be a fun night, and I promise to take you on a good trip 😉

Thanks, Patrick. Catch Patrick M spinning this Friday and Saturday at Chotto Matte or Sunday at 1-800-Lucky and be a part of the experience everyone is talking about! Groove, while you eat!

Coconut Groove explained

Daniel Travieso, otherwise known as “Festi-Dan,” gives us a better understanding of his brand, Coconut Groove.

Q. What is Coconut Groove? And what was your inspiration in starting it?

Coconut Groove is just an outlet for musical artists to create high energy moments in an intimate setting. 

Believe it or not, Pearl Jam is where my passion for music and live performances stems from. Having attended 25 of their legendary shows, I grew appreciation for “live” music and “live performances” and the moments created and shared by everyone in attendance.  I began hosting an annual mini festival/ charity fundraiser called Festidan back in 2007 that featured live bands and DJs with all different types of music.  After 10 years of hosting this event, I decided to just focus on small parties (less headaches) featuring evolved progressive music that had completely taken over my ears.

In August of 2017, we hosted a small intimate island party off Dinner Key in Coconut Grove and through a mutual friend had asked local talent and Heart nightclub resident Fiin to grace us with music all day.  At sunset it began to rain and everyone huddled up under the gazebo.  That intimate moment where everyone danced together and the Djs took us into the night was an unbelievable and memorable night cap.  Recreating and capturing high energy moments in Coconut Grove became a priority and Coconut Groove was born.

Q. A year and a half later, do you feel like you’re achieving the objective that was initially set forth in creating Coconut Groove? 

Unfortunately, having a normal job with regular hours limits the amount of attention that can be allocated to this hobby.  However, it’s been an amazing run and string of parties that we’ve been able to put together, and I’m excited about the direction of the concept.

Our original objective was to bring evolved music and those who appreciate it to comfortable and intimate locations around the village of Coconut Grove.  I think we’ve been able to achieve that, and our tribe continues to grow with the right people who are responsible and understand that the focus of these gatherings is the music.

Q. What kind of events do you throw and how often? 

I try and emphasize that we host parties, not events.  These parties are not profitable and they are occurring for the sole purpose of creating good energy in our neighborhood.  With that said, each of our parties are different and we only focus on one at a time. 

Q. If a new-comer was to go to one of your hosted events, what kind of music can he or she expect?

We look to partner up with musical artists that play for the evolved ear.  New and fresh sounds that keep you moving and vibrating at a high frequency.

Q. What are your thoughts about the renovation of Coco-walk? Do you think a new venue space will open up there for music events?

I don’t support a lot of the construction and new buildings that are going up in our neighborhood.  The Cocowalk renovation, however, was overdue, and although I don’t expect for there to be an event space we can utilize, I’m excited for the energy and life that it’s going to bring to the Grove. It will be mostly comprised of office spaces with some retail, so we should see a substantial spike in foot traffic in the area.

Q. Lastly, your next event is February 8th at Tavern in the Grove. What is the scene like for someone who’s never been before? How should one dress for the part?

The Tavern Takeover is our most laidback party.  3 DJ’s, 3 different vibes, all sharing music, going b2b2b.  The Tavern is your traditional college dive-bar, so if you’re dressed, you meet the dress code.  Having worked there in 2003-2004, it brings back nostalgic memories and it’s a great feeling to be drinking again at this legendary spot I used to call home.

——-So if you find yourself in Coconut Grove tomorrow for happy hour, dinner, or a late-night rendevouz, be sure to swing by Tavern and get a pulse on the dance music that exists there too. See you out there!

More Q&A with the one and only Ivano Bellini

continued from an exclusive interview

Q. One of my favorite memories of you is at Club Space’s 10th anniversary in 2010. (Dennis Ferrer’s “Hey Hey” will forever remind me of that morning.) Here we are almost a decade later. What is one of your favorite memories performing in Miami? How does it compare to experiences elsewhere?

A. I remember that 10-year anniversary party and I remember the track that I played, “Hey Hey”. Actually it was a mash-up. I worked really hard for that party. I put in tons of hours making mash-ups for 3 weeks to a month beforehand. What I did was take a lot of the classic Space songs and mixed them with older classics, like “Hey Hey”, which I remixed with Depeche Mode’s “Lose Myself.” I worked with “Finally” and “Rapture”, and “Wonderland.” It was 15-18 songs that I mashed up with songs from that moment. It took me a long time. It was fun. It was fun because I could play the song, but it would sound re-modernized with the melody that people love. That 10-year anniversary party was really great. I can remember that. And playing those songs were awesome.

Miami has been incredible. There’s been up and downs. You can say Miami isn’t what it used to be, that the club scene was different. You could say it was pure, not innocent, but more local. Everybody knew each other at a point. When Space started, the original Space, everyone in that place knew each other. It was a small place, but the vibe was just incredible.

Miami is a special place. Was a special place. Is still a special place. Even though playing in other places is fantastic. (Europe, Ibiza, Italy, Turkey, South America, Colombia) But Miami…I’ve been lucky to have lived in Miami 28 years. And I’ve been able to play in some really cool places. 

The first three years of the Club Space terrace are special and priceless. Nobody can ever take that away from us. If you were there at that time, it is something you will never forget for the rest of your life. It was a really special place that will never be copied or duplicated.

Q. Almost 20 years ago, Danny Teneglia invited you to be a part of his, “Be Yourself @ Vinyl” parties in New York. Teneglia is coming back to Miami this weekend. Do connections like those made 20 years ago last in this industry? And if so, how do you show each other support while also being competitive?

Tenaglia was the most influential DJ probably in my career. Not just for the music, but more so in the way that he built sets. After I heard him play, which was the first time he played at Space during Music Conference, a 12-hour set, just a few weeks after Space first opened…it completely made me re-think the way I approached my sets as far as how you build the vibe and how you take people on a journey. It was amazing. I’ve been lucky enough over the years where we’ve played. I met him at Space. We ended up playing a few times together. He invited me to come play at his parties in New York, which were always fantastic. He’s a great guy. He’s as talented as probably no-one else. So yeah, we became friends. We’re still in contact. I just texted him today. I am going to see him tonight at the Pickle, of course. If I’m around and I’m not playing, and he’s playing, I always make a point to go see him, go listen to his music, say, “Hi.” We live in different cities, but we talk from here or there. Mostly that is the way it is. At least with me. There’s a whole bunch of DJs that I’ve met over the years, some that I met 25 years ago. And I’m still in contact with. We’re friends. We hang out when we’re in the same town. If they’re in my town, and they play, I go see them. If I’m in their town and playing, they come see me. Yeah, I know in some places, in some instances, there’s competition, but it’s never been my case. I don’t want to steal or get a job from someone else. I think there’s plenty of clubs and plenty of talent to go around. If someone wants you to play his party, then you play it. If he wants someone else, then someone else plays. That is how I’ve approached this job from the get-go. I’ve been lucky enough in all these years to meet people who share the same passion and the same job as I do. We’re in the same industry. We hang out. We’re friends. It’s cool.

Q. If there’s one thing you would like to see evolve in 2019 in Miami’s music scene or maybe in music in general, what would it be?

I don’t know. I think we need a refresh. It’s been a lot of the same clubs and a lot of the same music playing in Miami for a few years now. So it would be good to have a bunch of new clubs with new concepts and ideas. Not, we take the same people and we do it over again in another location. Just some fresh, groundbreaking thing. It doesn’t have to be big and huge and splashy. But really cool places where you can go and listen to music in a different kind of setting, a different kind of vibe, a different kind of sound. Bring DJs we haven’t brought before. Styles that we haven’t really heard about. I think that would be fantastic. We’ll still have the same clubs, the clubs that we know and love, or that we know and don’t love. Because you can’t love everything.

It would be cool to have a new breed, some new blood, some new parties. It’s the same for music conference. If you look at the line-up, it’s a little bit of the same. There’s some really cool parties, but there’s a lot of stuff that’s been going on and on for years. I love when the music scene gets creative with new concepts.

Q. How did you ring in the new year? Do you have any new year’s resolutions that you’re sticking to?

It was a long weekend because I played on Saturday and then I had two gigs on Sunday, which was the day before New Year’s Eve. I did like a 9-hour stretch where I had 5 minutes in-between. I had one gig where I played 5 hours and then I had to run to 1-800-Lucky which was a block away, where I played for another four hours. It was great. I had some friends from Italy from 13 years ago that were there. That Sunday was insane.

I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s. A lot of people who go out on New Year’s only go out once or twice a year. But you know it’s a part of what we do. So I played New Year’s and then I crashed for 3 days, where I didn’t do anything and that was fantastic.

My new year’s resolution is to get better at playing the piano. I’ve been producing tracks and mixing, but I’ve never learned how to play piano. I can play a couple chords here and there, but I decided this year to spend some time at home with tutorials to teach myself piano. This is something brand new, but I can put a couple songs together now with chords and chord progression. It’s been a long time dream of mine and regret of mine that I didn’t learn sooner. Not that I want to be a virtuoso, but I’ve always wanted to be able to put a couple songs together, sit at a piano, and play a few chords. So I’ve been getting into it.

Q. Lastly, what is your favorite thing to eat or drink at 1-800-Lucky, and why?

A. I love the food over there. I love the Asian ice cream. It’s probably not too good for your health, but I’m only there 2-3 times a month, so I can do it.

I’m not a huge drinker. I have one drink, maybe two. But my drink is the same drink everywhere. If they have it, it’s Zacapa, which is a rum from Guatemala. That’s been my drink of choice for the past few years. So when I’m at Lucky, and I want to have a nice drink, that’s what I’m having. A nice Zacapa, one big ice cube – life is good. Cheers to everybody!

—-Ivano Bellini is playing twice tomorrow and I highly recommend you see either one of his sets. You can catch him at a SuperBowl Brunch pre-party at No. 3 social, or you can see him opening up the evening at 1-800-Lucky. If you didn’t know, now you know! Cheers 🙂

Jan ’19 Recap

Listen while you read, my preferred monthly playlist…choose Apple Music or Spotify.

The zeal that came from this new year felt universal. Hello 2019. The month started off strong with many artists here for NYE parties. Jamie Jones b2b Marco Carola, Robbie Rivera, Benny Benassi, Alesso, Chus & Ceballos, and Cocodrills each had their own partyThe intensity did not taper down post-NYE. Shiba San spun four days later at Space, and unfortunately, someone died from an overdose there. I heard someone call the act, “selfish.” The only comment I have is that I can believe it. Shiba San came out of the gates swinging with his set. You had to be prepared for that one.

A stark contrast was the following week’s set with Ame b2b with Adriatique. I heard this was a “beautiful” party. The music they played isn’t typical for the terrace, but one source said, “As a musician, I can tell they put a lot of thought into it. At one point they teased a song, but didn’t play it for another hour. And in between, the songs that built up to it were extremely thoughtful.” Another source described the energy that morning as spellbinding. “Everyone was together and in harmony.”

The last two weekends, Space hosted Victor Calderone and Maceo Plex. Victor was a shoe-in, of course, and Miami locals knew it. His set kept getting better that by 10:30a many including myself did not want to leave. But the winner of the month goes to Maceo Plex, who closed us out last Sunday. I kept hearing people use the Miami marathon as an excuse to stay late (traffic was shutdown until 10a), but in my opinion, it was the music that made them stay.

The Under the Radar label threw its weekly Sunday night parties at 1-800-Lucky, hosting Kristen Knight, Ivano Bellini, Jesse Perez, Technasia, and Cocodrills. Their first-Sunday-of-the-month party was “Ladies Night.” Only women DJ-ed, beginning with Rita Valenti from the Relic label, then Kristen Knight who killed it in the booth with her long pink. Yes, even in DJing (or music blogging), the future is female.

The Housecats label threw its weekly Sunday afternoon parties at Centro, a personal favorite of mine. Centro was closed MLK weekend, but that’s when many discovered the lush, tropical oasis of Proyecto Tulum across the street. The setup is very different from Centro, but the musical vibes are just as good.

Mid-month, The Hangar started its Monday morning after-hours with Differ. The party starts 4am, so now you don’t have to go home after the Sunday parties of Tulum, Centro, or Lucky.

As for special events, the Groove Cruise set off at capacity for its 15th anniversary from the Port of Fort Lauderdale. Since it used to set sail from the Port of Miami, it’s still very much considered a Miami music event and is promoted as such. Artists included Kaskade, Aly & Fila, Hot Since 82, Markus Schulz, MK, Simon Patterson, Anthony Attalla, Chus & Ceballos, Cocodrills, Eli & Fur, Prok & Fitch, Roger Sanchez, Kristen Knight (Roger Sanchez’s girlfriend, previously mentioned), Carabetta & Doons, Kristina Sky, and others.

Loveburn 2019 also took place on Virginia Key. I haven’t heard much in terms of reviews. All I know is that I saw Dude SkyWalker on the line-up for Friday and that kind of made me wish I had a $300 ticket to the event.

Robbie Rivera started a residency at Hyde Beach club, but no news on when the next party is scheduled. Sharam came through at Treehouse. Story hosted Steve Aoki and LIV hosted Kaskade. I remember a time when I got excited for both these artists.

A special appearance was made by Danny Tenaglia at the Electric Pickle. This is the man who put Club Space on the map when he celebrated his 25th year as a DJ there in 2001. Needless to say, the event oversold and by 2am the party was packed. So much so, it made dancing difficult. One opinion of the set said, “It was a good house set, but not enough boom for me.” Another said they danced their ass off.

Oscar G keeps up his weekly Friday night parties at 1-800-Lucky, and also made a Saturday night special at Treehouse. Meanwhile, the Relic brand with Fiin as the mainstay puts Factory on the map each and every Saturday night.

Barter is a new venue in Wynwood owned by the same guys who put on Rakastella. This is where Cocodrills brought in the New Year. Personally, I like the outside area, but the state-of-the-art speakers inside are surrounded by some hideous decor. The many birdcages creep me out. But that didn’t keep music fans away from Jesse Calosso late on a Sunday night.

Overall, it was hard to catch a breather this month, and there won’t be any slowing down until Miami Music Week, which is less than 60 days away. Are you ready? Physically, mentally, financially? MMW plans coming up.

What was your favorite January event? And what about February has you pumping? For me, it is MAYA JANE COLES 😁 See you out there!

Maceo Plex version 2019

My first time witnessing Maceo Plex was in London at SW4 in 2015. It was Solomun, then Dubfire, then Maceo Plex. I could not leave that tent.

I was with my best friend, another Space cadet I had met six years prior. After dancing hard to Solomun, we stayed in the tent because the feeling was too good. We didn’t even know who the DJ was for the next two hours. (Usually a name flashes somewhere.) And at the end of the flashing white board set, Dubfire was revealed. It was his Hybrid showcase. I was in awe, no doubt gripping the sides of my head, running my fingers through my hair, mouth gaping open, saying, “Wow.” Then the side boards light up again with graphics you expect to see. They say, “Maceo Plex.” And although I can’t remember the specifics of the set, I know my best friend and I stayed when a lot of people left. Some might have taken that as a cue to leave too, but for us, we spread out. We weren’t leaving. Located front left, by the speakers, I was entranced by the sounds. And a warp hole came over the next two hours, that rainy evening on Clapham Common Grounds.

Four years later, Maceo Plex is still a conjurer of sorts, just now with more notoriety.

I was reminded of his powers to enchant last year at Ultra’s 20th anniversary. The set was passionate. He ended it counter-intuitively on the softest note in the Carl Cox tent with this song, which left goosebumps on my arms. This approach was very different from his Art Basel set a few months prior, where he drilled techno in a Wynwood warehouse. The scene was too dark and too late for me to bite into. So Ultra 20 really woke me back up to his capabilities.

The spell he casted at Space on Sunday wasn’t so unlike his Ultra set ten months ago, but he wove together a wider hodgepodge of sounds for this six-hour set. It was patchwork in a form unlike anything I have previously seen him do. He played techno, disco, old shit, new shit. The build was slow, over an hour of temperate beats. I wasn’t too sure where he was going. But once he played Donna Summer’s, “I Feel Love,” I think the crowd knew, almost in unison, that we were in it to win it.

Looking back, I believe a good chunk of songs were on the slower side, which is ironic as it didn’t take away our inclination to dance.

Now it’s interesting to note that the golden hour has always been between 6 and 7a, maybe up until 8a. But I’ve noticed that these guys come on and get even better past 9am. This was true for Capriati two months ago, Victor Calderon last weekend, and Maceo Plex this weekend.

I think an all-time favorite moment was past the 9am mark when he dropped, “Spin, Spin Sugar,” leaving us for 10 minutes singing the same words in some kind of crazed, caged animal high. It was pretty incredible. Then the song afterwards was just very…normal? My new friend joked that [Maceo] knew exactly what he was doing, that he took us to another planet. I joked that he dropped us off on another planet. He left us…but he’ll be back later to pick us up.

Now the dance floor was packed up until 11am, and I should have known the place would be littered late because for the first time, in a long time, I saw people just hanging out downstairs when I arrived at 4:20a, ironically the same time Eric Estornel, aka Maceo Plex, arrived. Is the ESP between me and my DJs that strong? Ha, perhaps. Anyways, kudos to you if you scored a VIP band because VIP was about the only place you could bust a move on the terrace for five out of six hours that he played.

Outside of the music, it was straight-up, just a party. Everyone showed up. The brat pack of promoters who have been here since 2012 were a bunch of looney tunes in the techno loft. They made me laugh. And people in general were just friendly (well in VIP, that I know of). The more I go, the more friendly faces I meet.

Needless to say, if you did not see Maceo Plex, it was a major fail on your part! I’m not left with a particular high days later like I was with Joseph Capriati’s set in November, but I am imprinted with the mark of Maceo’s dance-magic doings. He put us in an unsuspecting trance. It snuck up on us! And ultimately he delivered what we could not expect. How did we respond? Well, we took advantage of him! Haha I don’t think he could believe we were staying as late as we were. He would get on the mic and say, “What the fuck?” That morning for everyone who joined will be remembered.

SPIN, SPIN, SUGAR.