Following a lovely one hour of sleep, I wake up and hit the shower in preparation for my gig at The Lime Bar. My partner in crime Kelley awakes shortly thereafter (to my amazement, if I were her I would’ve kept sleeping), and 15 minutes before it’s time to hit the decks, we hail a cab.
We arrive at Lime Bar as Angel Moraes is still rocking the turntables at an after hour's in the attached Club Maze. I begin to spin some records, realizing that I play quite well on one hour of sleep and contemplate doing this on a regular basis. Dustin Camilleri shows up and we begin tagging with some clicky, tech sounds. After our set is over, Jay Household (with his lovely Household ladies in tow) starts playing some West Coast sounds alongside his partner in crime, Schubert.
Next up are Florida’s Joe C. and Dave Preston who keep the vibes going as the venue fills up. Finally, we have America vs. Britain in the form of 112 Crew’s Bill Patrick (going strong on 36 sleepless hours) and Tom Amoroso vs. John Ioannou and Paul Louth. The party is indeed a success and without a doubt one of the best afternoon parties.
My initial plan is to take it easy today, but after that first Bud Light begins to sink in I realize this is not a possibility. After that I move on to Red Bull (one might call the Bud Light a “gateway drug”) and realize it’s far too late to get that afternoon rest I was contemplating just moments ago.
Kelley and I then head to the Ultra Festival where we are scheduled to hang backstage with “the stars”. After guest list hassles at the doorway (not too mention it taking us nearly a half of an hour to simply FIND the press entrance), we are properly sorted. One can gather from simply walking around Ultra just how overwhelming the entire event can be. While it is nice to know that such an event is allowed to take place in the United States (whose government seems more and more determined to stop dance music as time progresses), it is simply too much – too much to do, too much to see, etc…
Every couple of feet one walks, there is a different bass booming in your face. The line-up is stellar, but with a few exceptions it’s hard to feel that any type of vibe is being created. One of those exceptions would be headliners Underworld. The main stage is packed with people to the point where security stops allowing anyone else inside, and Underworld doesn’t disappoint. Working through such classics as “Cowgirl” and “Born Slippy”, the duo prove their greatness and importance to the dance music world. The energy at this point is beyond words and I am glad that I made the trek downtown to catch the end of Ultra.
That is, until we try to leave. Finding a cab is all but impossible, and I nearly faint walking around in search of a ride back to South Beach. We spend equally as much time hailing a cab as we did at Ultra, which is pretty depressing when you really think about it. When we finally track one down, I’m exhausted beyond belief. I was originally going to check out the Ovum Party at Crobar, but determine that would be impossible unless someone were to place a king-sized bed in the middle of the dance floor for me to rest on while taking in the music.
We arrived back in South Beach, and I observe how different the main strip looks during the weekend than during the week. It also makes me understand why most people tell me that the area isn’t really worth checking out when WMC isn’t taking place. Washington Street is lined with thugs, prostitutes, drug dealers, and a frighteningly large amount of police officers. It is quite a change from the past few days, when sleep deprived dance music enthusiasts ruled the city.
Around 3 a.m. I decide that it is time to retire; WMC has ended for this lone soldier. I figure I made a pretty good run for my first time attending the festival, and it wouldn’t hurt to get some real sleep before my flight home later that day.
I wake up a few hours later; pack my bags, shower, and head to the airport. At approximately 4:30 p.m. I am back in Chicago, at O’Hare Airport. I take the subway into the city and then hail a cab to my apartment.
If I could sum up WMC 2003 with one quick anecdote, this would be it (and I am not joking, this truly happened):
I get in the cab to go back to my apartment. The cab driver turns, takes one look at me, and says, “Damn! You look like you could use a vacation!”
- Daniel Mnookin.
It’s now Friday, but still feels like Wednesday – I suppose one could say the entire conference is like one long, continuous day where sleep is merely an option; not a necessity.
We begin at the Worship, Jah Love, and Jamayka Recordings party – entitled “One Love” – at the Kent Hotel Gardens conveniently located just a couple of blocks from my hotel. After seriously regretting missing out on Grant Dell, we stick around listening to some deep tech house beats. As if great afternoon music isn’t enough, Red Stripe beer is being sold for merely $4 a piece (a virtual steal in Miami during WMC).
After consuming one too many beers, a group of us head over to Nikki Beach for “A Shore Thang”. The line is approximately a block long, but we find out that if one simply skips to the front and joins the massive front door clutter, it’s makes for a quicker (yet definitely earned) entrance. The doorman is being extremely nice considering the entrance to Nikki Beach is on the verge of becoming a mass stampede through the velvet ropes. In fact, barring Space, I hardly encounter any hostility with doormen at any of the clubs or events…a nice surprise.
I pass by a meandering DJ Tiësto and head to the bar for my daily feed of Red Bull. At this point I’ve given up on the vodka in exchange for that extra dose of caffeine. They might as well stick an IV needle in my arm and feed me Red Bull as I can’t seem to drink the stuff fast enough. I can’t really tell who is spinning as the music isn’t very loud, and we decide to leave.
Following a quick freshening up at the hotel, it’s time for Danny Howells’ annual marathon set at B.E.D. Without a doubt, this event turns out to be one of the BEST - if not THE BEST - of the entire conference.
We arrive just after 10 p.m. as Danny is working out some ambient tracks – I spot an Air tune which, for the life of me I can’t seem to remember its name. Free champagne is served until midnight and it’s time to get an early evening buzz going. Here we are, in one of South Beach’s most expensive and well respected restaurants (patrons dine on $60 entrees, all while literally lying in a massive bed), drinking free champagne…life is good!
Around 11:15 p.m. Danny drops his first four/four beat and things begin to get under way. Eight hours of Danny Howells remain and it is amazing…superb…incredible… beyond description. Words simply cannot accurately explain what happens when Mr. Howells is in the zone. Tonight, he is IN THE ZONE!
The hours begin to rapidly fly by and B.E.D. fills up to its capacity at around 250 people. The crowd is completely into the music, with smiles abounding on just about everyone’s face. Later in the evening both members of Deep Dish stop by and start grooving to the beats in the DJ booth. Lucien Foort is also in attendance, but nothing prepares me for what’s next.
At roughly 4 a.m. I am losing myself in front of the DJ booth when none other than the one and only P. Diddy drops in. He is busy raging in the booth alongside Danny for what is truly a surreal moment. While I am anything but a fan of Mr. Diddy, it is quite interesting to see him in person (I pinch myself to make sure I’m awake) and I can’t give up an opportunity to shake the man’s hand (after all, he did date J-Lo).
Danny works through some bang’in techno and continues bringing the crowd on an unbelievable journey. The place is going nuts and it’s hard to deny the man is in his prime – arguably one of the very best DJ’s in then world…if not THE best jock in the world.
Around 7 a.m. my body wants to stay, but as I’m DJing at 1 p.m. that afternoon I head off to the hotel. Before leaving, though, I drop by the DJ booth once more and shake Danny Howell’s hand.
“Great job,” I say.
Danny nods his head in appreciation and I head homeward bound where I try to sleep…I fail…miserably.
Day Two - Part Two
Following my update of Day Two at the local ‘net café (conveniently located two blocks from the hotel I’m staying at), I head to the Sabor Hotel on Ocean Drive to catch “Shameless on the Beach”. As I arrive, James Zabiela and Steve Porter are tag-teaming on the decks. Despite the fact that they are without a monitor (I find it quite ironic that a hotel bar can afford the $1,600 Rane rotary mixer, yet lacks a functioning monitor), the duo are tearing it up. A crowd surrounds the DJ booth while others wander outside in the midst of a sleep deprived daze. It’s around 90 degrees outside and the sun is indeed shining.
At the bar I order some new type of energy drink and realize companies are indeed capable of making beverages that taste worse than Red Bull. After paying $5 for a pick-me-up, I realize the very same energy drinks are being handed out for free. I proceed to consume three more of them. To be honest, at this point I would drink paint if it was guaranteed to keep me awake.
I run into Bill Patrick on the hotel terrace, who’s wearing the same outfit he sported earlier that morning while rocking the crowd at Space. We chat briefly as The Scumfrog walks by. After a few conversations of which I remember absolutely nothing, my photographer Kelley and I decide to head back to the hotel to get some rest before the evening’s activities commence.
Before leaving the Sabor, we are asked out to dinner. I remember many WMC Veterans (this is my first conference) telling me not to forget to eat while in Miami, so we decide to dine despite the fact that my appetite is non-existent. A group of us head to a “famous” deli on Collins Avenue where we end up feasting with the likes of James Zabiela (his set is now over and Scumfrog has taken over back at the hotel), Infusion, and various others who make the entire event seem quite surreal. James is preparing to open up later that evening for Sasha and Digweed at Space. People inquire about the guest list and there is debate as to whether or not being a part of “the list” matters for such a huge event. I find out later that the guest list ends up being closed around midnight and by 3 a.m. the line outside of the club is anywhere from three to four hours long depending upon whom you ask.
After dinner I arrive back at the hotel, and give up all hopes of rest as it’s now nearing 10 p.m. A quick change of clothes and I’m off to the Union Lounge for Proton Radio’s (www.protonradio.com) Proton Sessions. A line is forming at the door and promoters run around making sure everything is in check. Various Proton Radio DJ’s wander throughout the club (not to mention myself, somehow figuring a beer will awaken my senses), and shortly after 10 o’clock the club starts to fill. Jonathon Lisle throws down a wicked breaks set and is followed by Deeper Substance’s Demi. Demi is by far one of my highlights of the conference, coming through with a superb set every time I see him – tonight is no exception.
I am now stuck trying to decide whether to head over to Space (which equates to a $25 cab ride to the venue, a $25 fare for the return…a $50 or more cover charge, $10+ drinks, and a club without a single inch of room to move), or The Lime Bar for 112 Crew vs. Casa del Soul.
While some may think I’m insane for missing out on the reputed #2 & #3 DJ’s in the world, I head to Lime Bar for what I now must say turns out to be one of the best parties of the conference. As I enter, New York City’s 112 Crew (consisting of Bill Patrick, Tom Amoroso, and Dennis Rodgers) are busy brutalizing the crowd with some massive tech house beats. The trio feed off of each other with a vibe that is rare. The crowd is completely into it and the music is relentless. Casa Del Soul’s Wyatt Earp cranks up some atmospheric melodies that take things to the next level. Despite the fact that due to a snow-in in Denver, most of the Casa crew couldn’t make it to Miami (our thoughts go out to them, as their record store had its roof cave in from the onslaught of snow), the party is a success. When closing time approaches, it’s evident that nobody wants to go home.
A group of us head to the 112 Crew/Casa del Soul penthouse and the music continues. It is amazing how long these guys can continue spinning records – it’s a form of life support for them.
Around 8 a.m. I can’t even remember my name anymore, and decide it would be best to head back to the hotel as more beach parties wait at noon. As I walk into the hotel lobby I realize a war has begun in Iraq. It’s a bit surreal, and to be honest one could go through the entire conference without realizing that on the other side of the planet billions of dollars of bombs are being dropped. This says something about going to WMC – it’s like spending a week on another planet.
Day Two is now over and Day Three has commenced. I manage to get a few hours of sleep and then it’s back at it all over again...
- Daniel Mnookin.
|It’s 3:45 pm on Thursday afternoon. I’ve just woken up after 4 hours of sleep, what I hear is considered a “good night’s rest” in Miami.
After arriving at Miami International Airport around 8 pm, I took a taxi directly to the hotel, dropped off my bags and headed to the Global Underground/Spundae party. Despite a long line (I once read a fact about how much time human beings spend standing in lines, and I couldn’t help thinking about it as we waited), the party was full – but not too full. Danny Howells was spinning a set of flawless, deeper house – quite appropriate for a poolside party. He threw in the new Luke Chable mix of PQM’s “You Are Sleeping” which had the party moving as the later hours approached.
It was here I received my first words of advice from Spundae’s Matt Rodriguez, “What goes on in Miami, STAYS in Miami.”
After a couple of Vodka/Redbulls to get the party started, my crew headed over to Level, a four room theatre that in all honesty reminded me of a cracked-out high school rave party. In other words, it was a great time.
Due to venue issues, Tronic Treatment had teamed up with the Long Night Out crew for a bill that combined head mashing techno with all forms of house and break beat. Xplosion Records Sattva opened the main room with some deep, techy vibes. Upstairs, Dubcoast’s Rebecca Sin got things going with tribal flavored grooves.
That was when things began to get messy.
Infusion were undoubtedly one of the highlight’s of the night, playing a set that could only be described as Digweed-esque – except for the fact that every one of the tracks was theirs. Their relentless beats did not give up, and the band cranked out hands-in-the-air versions of “Legacy” and “Synathaesia”. More exciting were some of their newer tunes, featuring wicked synth lines and a bass drum that nearly imploded my head.
Upstairs, Deeper Substance’s Demi spun a set reminiscent of late night Fabric. Arguable one of the best up and coming DJ’s, not many can create the vibe he managed to build in one hour. Without a doubt, it was one of the best sets of the night.
Following the party at Level, we headed back to the hotel for what was supposed to be a nightcap…that’s when someone offered us free entrance to Space afterhours.
So much for getting to bed at a reasonable hour!
After a brief stop at the 112 Crew/Casa Del Soul pad, a brief journey from South Beach to downtown Miami landed us in front of the legendary Space nightclub. Without a doubt, the club holds it own. The bass itself is massive, not to mention gigantic main room (where we caught an epic trance breakdown by Mauro Picotto), laid back 2nd room – and then there’s the terrace (what I like to call, the early morning crack house).
As the sun rose overhead, Brother Brown was spinning a wicked house set, showing impeccable technical skills that undoubtedly match his flawless productions. Around 8:30 am Arc resident Bill Patrick took over, sporting a fresh Mohawk. Seeing a DJ with a Mohawk is one thing, seeing a DJ with a Mohawk as you can barely keep your balance at 8:30 in the morning is another thing.
Without a doubt, some of Miami’s best dressed people make it out to Space for after hours, not to mention some of Miami’s scariest people. Then again, with this week being conference, who knows where most of the people were from?
Regardless, Bill spun an excellent set of proper tech house, dropped massive bassline after massive bassline, and keeping those in attendance continually moving. Sir Oliver followed, but by then it was time regain what sanity I had left.
After a short trip back to South Beach, it was 11 am and time for bed. Day Two in Miami was a success. Now it’s nearing 4 pm and the beach calls. What foulness lurks, we shall see…
- Daniel Mnookin.
|For a large man in the large sun, it sure can get hot down here! And for those who don't know, the talent here is hotter than the sun, and that's the truth!
After attending a couple of afternoon seminars and hanging by the pool trying to talk out some record deals, we went down for a nap to prepare for the evenings activities. My first stop for the evening was the Global Underground/Spundae party with Dave Seaman, Ferry Corsten, and Steve Lawler. A queue a block long awaited me, but I proceeded to work my press credentials the best I could. But there was no luck here. Even though I work for Spundae Chicago, the doormen said there was no list, and no one else was getting inside. Tough break. I went next to The Beach in downtown Miami, and missed DJ Rap, BT, and Charles Feelgood because of rules regarding no photos there. So I went next door to Space where Tiesto, Oakenfold, and Mauro Picotto were playing, with the same lack of access with press again.
So I went back to Club Maze, where Buzz from Washington DC were holding a benefit show. This time, the talent was a bit larger from Tuesday. I was in for a night of the Crystal Method, Hybrid, and Jody Wisternoff from Way Out West. Life sucks when you have to settle for that.
The Maze was almost packed when I got in, with Scott and Ken taking the decks with some hard breaks fresh from the studio. The Crystal Method played one of their newest tracks from the studio, and the crowd ate it up. Next up were Chris and Mike to show the USA what UK breaks really were, Hybrid style. The crowd was up for a treat or two, featuring a brand new exclusive remix of Know Your Enemy, as well as a promo of Marscruiser vs. Andy Page featuring George Clinton. The Hybrid boys definitely rocked it hard! After their set Jody Wisternoff came in to add some true beauty to the music, the way only Way Out West can. Some great track selection to sooth the crowd at the end of the night.
As you can see, so many choices, so little time. Just for the record, I was going to try and go to all of these parties in one night. And that is what I like to call the best and worst torture possible for any of the 30,000 clubbers here in Miami Beach right now.
- Alex Hall.
To view the current set of photos from various parties at this years events at the WMC click the following link. This includes shots from Club Nerve, Maze, the Lime Bar, by the pool and various other bits and peices featuring artists including Hybrid, Digweed, Jody Wisternoff, Crystal Method and more...
Photos : Miami WMC 2003.
For anyone that comes to florida and expects it to be cold and drab, don't count on it. As I stepped off the plane on Tuesday at noon, it was 85 degrees farenheit and 90 percent humidity. The kind of heat that makes some people go crazy, but this heat was just warming up the WMC (Winter Music Conference) clubbers for one hell of a week.
After a relaxing day of registration and wandering around the pool, we made it down to Grooveman Records to check out some of the best selection of vinyl in town. After talking to the manager there, I found out that press access would be tough this year, especially for the large Saturday massive, Ultra Festival. Another conversation with WMC staffers reinforced that notion, but I wasn't about to let the RA crowd down. Being my 3rd year at the conference, I had a lot of contacts, and a few tricks up my sleeve.
First off we went to a great little green clad bar called the Lime Bar where Joe C was spinning (tag-teaming) w/ Dave Preston Tuesday evening at Maze. It was a nice warmup for the evenings activities as we sipped our drinks slowly and enjoyed the atmosphere. We then went next door to club Maze, which until recently had been a Drum n Bass hub in need of a lot of repair. It's a great venue with an astounding amount of intelligent lighting. Having more that 20 Mac style lights and another 10 full size Intellibeams made for a great atmosphere, along with a great lighting jock at the helm. We listened to the tunes of the Proton Radio crew as Dave Preston warmed up the night. He was followed by a nice lineup of the usual suspects, including Ashley Casselle (Ashtrax), Infusion (Live), Grayarea of Hope Recordings (Live), and the Aussie favorite Phil K.
My ventures next took me to a new club that just changed hands a few days earlier called Nerve. I arrived at around 1 am and am slammed by some wonderfully harsh tracks from Chris Fortier. As I wander around the DJ booth, I run into John Digweed and his crew. I find out (much to my sadness) that both Diggers and Jimmy Van M have already played their sets. So I occupied my time chatting with POB from Platipus Records and Taylor from L.A.
Next we headed to Club Space in downtown Miami, where the legendary Danny Tenaglia was playing his annual marathon set from midnight to noon. As I talked to the club manager, I find out that Danny has specifically requested for no cameras at this show, and I am turned away. Not the kind of finish to my evening that I expected.
As you can see, WMC is all about bringing all the world class talent you can fit into one city for one week. There's no other week like it in the world, and the week is only just beginning.