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Festival Review: CoS at Ultra Music Fest 2011

on March 29, 2011, 1:11am
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ultra 1 Festival Review: CoS at Ultra Music Fest 2011During the closing moments of deadmau5’s 2010 headlining Ultra Music Festival set, a lone voice manned the mainstage microphone, and sent the sweaty, exhausted masses off into the sultry Miami evening with truly epic news: Ultra Music Festival 2011 would be expanded into a three-day electro-extravaganza. But for an event that is currently celebrating its 13th anniversary, the additional day was just another step toward global DJ domination.

Launched on the sands of South Beach in 1999 by business partners Alex Omes and Russell Faibisch as a Winter Music Conference closing event, Ultra grew into a full-day experience the following year,  then relocated to Miami’s downtown in 2001 to accommodate for the rapidly growing audience. In the mid-2000’s, Ultra fought off the festival challengers Bang and The Global Gathering, and in 2007 added a second day, cultivating an international brand.

In 2010, Ultra far overshadowed the week-long Winter Music Conference, to the tune of 100,000 attendees to a meager 3,763.The festival also solidified itself as a truly international series, hosting UMF events in electronic meccas Brazil and Ibiza. So, it was really not too big a surprise when Ultra 2011 sold out 34 days prior to its March 25th kickoff.

But Ultra couldn’t roll into its 13th anniversary without some unfortunate events. The Winter Music Conference decided to move its dates up by two weeks, forcing many participants and some attendees to choose between the two events. And apparently due to a conflict in booking fees, stage selection, and set time, The Swedish House Mafia decided to forgo Ultra in 2011, for their own “Masquerade Motel: One Night Stand”, which drew a sold-out 12,000 member crowd, and coincided with deadmau5’s Saturday headlining slot. And if those weren’t enough obstacles for Ultra’s organizers and promoters, due to construction at the Miami’s Bicentennial Park, the event’s homesite, organizers were forced to pack 200 acts across seven stages, and the expected 150,000 attendees in an area roughly two-thirds that in the past. No one ever implied setting up a massive festival was easy, just ask the folks behind Pemberton, Rothbury, or any of the other fallen US festivals.

will Festival Review: CoS at Ultra Music Fest 2011

Photo by Craig Yunger

Speaking with the Miami New Times days before the launch, co-founder Faibisch seemed undaunted by the challenges. With plans for the first ever Asian UMF event, Faibisch is set on building the diverse global brand from Miami,“Ultra Music Festival is all about the Magic City. We are very committed to keeping Ultra in Downtown Miami.”

So, with the stages up, set-times announced, and day-glow outfits planned, there is really just one remaining question: Can we last three days?

– Derek Staples
News Writer

Friday, March 26th

If you have ever been to Miami, Ultra weekend or otherwise, you already know that South Florida is one massive traffic jam. To make travel even more cumbersome, Miami International Airport suffered a massive fuel fire Thursday morning that canceled over 175 flights, delaying arrival for many attendees until late Friday night or even Saturday afternoon. With an opening day bill featuring Fedde le Grand, Benny Benassi, CSS, Röyksopp, Tiësto, Trentemøller, STS9, and legends Erasure and Duran Duran, the delay was a massive setback for many both domestic and international travelers.

boysnoizeday2 10 Festival Review: CoS at Ultra Music Fest 2011The restructuring of the venue grounds, which has remained fairly constant since 2007, was surprisingly beneficial. While visually toned down slightly, the repositioning of the Main Stage along the southern boundaries of the park allowed for a much better flow of crowd traffic between the smaller house oriented stages on the Northern end – not to mention, given the reduced diameter of the park, it kept the sound from bleeding. What’s more, 2011’s Live Stage, which has been notoriously difficult to reach due to Main Stage crowds in the past, was secluded on a rocky embankment with Biscayne Bay on two sides, maximizing the live acoustics and shaping a more communal experience for attendees that appreciate more hands-on musicianship.

Apart from the additional day, 2011’s most recognizable change was the “two-story” Carl Cox Tent. Taking a few cues from Coachella’s Sahara Stage, the tent doubled in height, held 10,000 attendees, and increased the visuals overhead to create a more comfortable, fan/artist friendly environment.

The restructuring of the venue led to just one major issue: bathroom breaks. Dancing outside in the hot South Florida sun, it is definitely advisable to stay hydrated (especially when ravers brought along their friend Molly), but when attendees had to relieve themselves, waits often lasted longer than 30 minutes due to the bottlenecked placement. This is one problem that must be resolved prior to Ultra 2012, which has already been set for March 23rd, 24th, and 25th.

Similar to Austin’s SXSW, Ultra’s talent flows into the host city’s streets, nightclubs, and anywhere else with a decent sound system. With a few extra pairs of eyes in Miami to assist in coverage, CoS was able to put the proverbial pen down and soak in the parties that kept feet moving, bodies swaying, and eyes dilated until sunrise…of Monday.

afrojackday2 9 Festival Review: CoS at Ultra Music Fest 2011Fedde le Grand – Live Stage – 5:20 p.m.

With audiences still making their way into the venue, Fedde le Grand spun a fan-friendly remix-heavy set. Le Grand kept the set slightly toned down, especially compared to his Carl Cox performance on Saturday, but the audience reacted nicely to a remix of Empire of the Sun’s “Walking on a Dream” which slid effortlessly into “Otherside” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Laurent Garnier – Carl Cox & Friends Tent – 4:00 p.m.

Laurent Garnier embodies the international flair of Ultra. The 45-year-old French tech DJ first began spinning in Manchester, UK, and later fell in love with the Midwest, incorporating both Chicago House and Detroit Techno. With a three-hour long set to debut the newly redesigned Carl Cox tent, Garnier showcased the many sides of house music, keeping the audience moving, but providing ample mid-tempo repetition to keep bodies fresh for the rest of the weekend.

Holy Ghost! – Live Stage – 5:45 p.m

Ultra continued to broaden the lineup outside of traditional DJs in 2011 with an abundance of actual live talent. Holy Ghost!, originally formed by high school friends Nicholas Millhiser and Alexander Frankel out of Brooklyn as a studio only project, are still gelling as a four-piece live collective, but have amplified their energy from earlier LCD Soundsystem opening performances. Not every band with a live drummer and guitarist won over the Ultra crowd, but the live take on nu-disco anthem “Hold On” and “I Will Be Back” changed some minds, and helped add new fans to a quickly growing base.

Benny Benassi – Main Stage – 6:30 p.m.

bennybenassi3day1 Festival Review: CoS at Ultra Music Fest 2011

Photo by Craig Yunger

Similar to Ultra 2010, Benny Bennassi took to the Main Stage with the bright Miami sun still beating down to work the audience into a sweaty, hard house hysteria. The dude is a legend, and sometimes he sticks to closely to his classic beats, but Friday evening Benassi kicked off his set with new bangers “Electroman” and “House Music”. Surprisingly, Benassi tipped his hat to what is next, remixing James Blake’s “Limit To Your Love”. But Benassi must have felt the track was about 40 BPM too slow, because he turned up the dial and knocked the fans with some electro-grime. Unlike the live performers and new acts like Rusko, Boys Noize, Simian Mobile Disco, Kaskade, or the rising masses of Colorado dub DJs, Benassi never really seems to be doing much on the decks. However, when you produce hits like “Satisfaction”, it’s perfectly acceptable to spend time checking texts during your set.

CSS – Live Stage – 7:00 p.m.

Sao Paolo’s CSS might get tired of being sexy, but fans always want a little more. Even with a sparse turnout of possibly about 100 – not enough bloops and bleeps for the typical attendee – singer Lovefoxxx tore through the outfit’s indie-dance staples. As “Jager Yoga” finished up, Lovefoxxx leapt into the crowd, and cracked a joke, politely asking what their favorite alcohol was. The band waited until about half-way into their set to play crowd-favorite “Music Is My Hot Hot Sex”. With the collective rocking, Lovefoxxx shed her leather coat, tore off her pants to reveal a pair of short denims, and rode the onstage lighting fixture – which was apparently as hot as CSS’s set.

Erasure – Main Stage – 7:30 p.m.

erasureday1 2 178x260 Festival Review: CoS at Ultra Music Fest 2011Friday night was not a good day for electronic legends. If the turnout for CSS was bad, the attendance for Erasure was almost disrespectful. Ultra has brought in fellow innovators like The Cure and Depeche Mode in the past, but the Main Stage area grew desolate as Andy Bell stepped up to the mic and the legendary Vince Clarke manned the programmer. Even with only a few hundred in attendance, Bell twirled around the stage as if he were performing for thousands. The production lacked some normal Erasure elements like glitter-throwing and multiple costume changes, but the group’s mystique was kept intact with Clarke’s five-piece red suit, Bell’s sequined Union Jack denim jacket and tank top, and the two backup singers resembling 1950’s carhops. Even after 25 years, Bell’s vocals are still amazing, and the flair in which he performs can only be topped by the best of mega-artists. While I try to take an objective view of the Ultra-culture, the lack of a crowd is further proof attendees are often more about the drug induced experience than listening to what the electro-world has to offer.

Röyksopp - Live Stage – 8:20 p.m.

Unlike 75% of the acts at Ultra, the vast majority of Friday’s crowd had never had the opportunity to experience Norway’s Röyksopp live. Whatever is in Norway’s water leads to some crazy creativity, and Röyksopp’s set was nothing less than mesmerizing, both musically and visually. The duo of Svein and Tjorbjor craft electronic mood music, ranging from the darkest of techno to much bouncier electro-pop tunes. In the live setting, the outfit takes fans by the gut and sets out on a visceral trip. The synthed out vocals and eerie costumes create a sense of haunting psychodelia, that they ease away with more easily digestible tracks like the super popular “Remind Me”. Accompanied by vocalist Anneli Drecker, Röyksopp stayed on stage for the one song encore performance of  “Tricky, Tricky”, which originally featured Fever Ray/The Knife’s Karin Andersson. As Drecker delivered the line “I’m about to lose it”, there was a mutual understanding and appreciation across the starry eyed crowd.

Duran Duran – Main Stage – 8:20 p.m.

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Photo by Craig Yunger

Apparently, the promoters of Ultra missed the memo that live guitars and lyrics are now suitable raver repellant, because the Main Stage was empty for Duran Duran. The band opened with “Hungry Like The Wolf”, which predates roughly 70% of those on hand. The energy wasn’t there from the audience side, but Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, and guest vocalist Anna Ross did their damnedest to keep those remaining from the Erasure set energized. Being 25, the set was like a soundtrack of adolescent car rides, with spot-on performances of “Girl Panic”, “Sunrise”, “Girls on Film”, and “Ordinary World”.

Trentemøller - Live Stage – 9:35 p.m.

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Photo by Craig Yunger

Have you ever had a terrible brain freeze, but your beverage was so amazing that you just couldn’t stop drinking? Well, that is the easiest way to describe Trentemøller’s live performance. To define the sound is daunting – it hides in the dark shadows, and builds through both tribal drum beats and more minimal ambience, with added techno/breakbeat textures and live guitar riffs. At times, four of the five live members would all go at the drum kit at once, sending the track and the audience into a dizzying panic. Other times, it is all about the build, stretching four to the floor beats out for minutes. Trentemøller is not for the faint of heart, but have developed a sound that deserves to be explored by fans across musical genres.

Pendulum – Main Stage – 9:30 p.m.

pendulumday1 8 178x260 Festival Review: CoS at Ultra Music Fest 2011If Australians are truly descended from the English penal colonies located there in the 19th century, Pendulum demonstrated that social divide Friday night, finally bringing some energy to the Main Stage following the performances of Erasure and Duran Duran. Pendulum have strayed from their early live drum n’ bass and breakbeat days, into more of a Linkin Park knockoff, but their Ultra set was raw, brutal, and aggressive. In true Ultra style, the visuals brought the spectacle to the next level. With visuals of liquid metal rushing to coat the human skeleton, scorpions killing roaches, and other industrial imagery, Pendulum was striking fans on at least three senses – sight, sound, and due to epic bass, touch. Prior to performing “The Island Part 1”, Rob Swire announced that the track was “made specifically for nights like this.” As Ben Mount delivered the hook, “Left with no reason we come undone”, fans better understood Swire sentiment.

Tiësto

tiestoday1 4 Festival Review: CoS at Ultra Music Fest 2011

Photo by Craig Yunger

There is very little that hasn’t already been said about Tiësto, the man is truly a God in the field. He plays every mega-club, headlines festivals worldwide, and pretty much plays his signature feel-good dance music each and every year at Ultra. So, it’s best just to watch and enjoy.

(Shout out to Miami New Times for Live Stage video features)

Saturday, March 26th

The organizers of Ultra have never seemed too worried about schedule conflicts, with the sheer number of superstar DJs and growing number of must see live bands, creating a conflict free weekend would be a logistical nightmare. These schedule conflicts are often nullified by the ADHD that sets in upon entering the gate; fans perpetually wondering from stage to stage just to witness who is throwing down the dopest set. Even with the added day, schedule conflicts were abundant on Saturday -  Skrillex vs. Goldie, Boys Noize vs. Moby vs. Skream! And Benga, Cut Copy vs. Rusko vs. Underworld.

Don’t you wish all your problems had such guaranteed amazing outcomes?

Goldie – Tower of Ultra – 5:00 p.m.

goldie sat Festival Review: CoS at Ultra Music Fest 2011

Photo by Derek Staples

After hosting the house sound of UMF Korea Friday night, The Tower of Ultra was transformed into the home of Euro bass music Saturday evening. Backed with a pair of emcees/professional hype men, Goldie took to the Tower to construct his signature UK jungle and drum n’ bass beats. The emcee’s vocals added an extra layer for listeners to bite into, but sometimes it’s just better to let the bass in the lead.

Afrojack – Main Stage – 5:10 p.m.

afrojackday2 8 Festival Review: CoS at Ultra Music Fest 2011

Photo by Craig Yunger

At the age of 23, Dutch DJ Afrojack, born Nick van de Wall, has already earned acclaim worldwide as one of the 20 best DJs. Afrojack molds his own productions, but he excels at remixing popular artists across multiple genres. Clocking in at just over an hour, Afrojack sliced and diced tracks by The Black Eyed Peas, Daft Punk, Snoop Dogg, Pitbull, David Guetta, and even Imogen Heap with his razor-sharp tech-house tools.

Simian Mobile Disco – Live Stage – 5:45 p.m.

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Photo by Craig Yunger

James Ford and Jas Shaw of Simian Mobile Disco had one of the more noticeable setups of the festival. Known for their analog productions, Ford and Shaw spent the majority of the show with their backs to the audience maneuvering around two large boxes filled with rows upon rows of various knobs and sliders. The duo utilized the device to deliver a mixture of both their earlier more club/electro-house tracks, “It’s the Beat” and “Hustler”, and their current much darker ambient techno productions of Delicacies. The guys are certainly perfecting their buildup, with fans ready to pounce as the duo break into more aggressive BPM.

Telekinetic Walrus – UMF Radio Stage – 6:00 p.m.

Ultra has always been proud to feature new local talent across the multiple smaller stages. Coming out of the University of Miami, Telekinetic Walrus combine electronic, jazz, and funk to make spectacular house party music. Like an updated Parliament Funkadelic with an oboe and some electronics, Telekinetic Walrus know how to start a party.

Kaskade – Main Stage – 6:10 p.m.

kaskadeday2 4 Festival Review: CoS at Ultra Music Fest 2011

Photo by Craig Yunger

Whether in a club of 500 or headlining a festival of several thousand, Kaskade always delivers. Through his recent work with fellow progressive producer deadmau5, Kaskade has quickly moved up the ranks as one of the most in-demand live DJs. Not only for his style, but for the party atmosphere that he brings to the show. Crazy visuals were ongoing over Ultra weekend, but Kaskade went old school, sending out dozens of massive white balloons into the audience as he spun tracks including “I Remember”, The Ting Ting’s “Hands”, and even up and comer Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites”.

Moby – Carl Cox & Friends – 7:00 p.m.

mobysat1 Festival Review: CoS at Ultra Music Fest 2011

Photo by Derek Staples

Moby’s fans can virtually be broken down into two camps – those who love Play, and those who have listened to Play but prefer to witness Moby set the radio tracks to the side and just deliver something fresh. Saturday’s performance was for the latter. Sporting a Minor Threat tee, Moby worked his set with the energy of a classic Minor Threat hardcore show. Even as electronic music evolves and new breeds of DJs break new ground, Moby remains relevant through continual innovation and cross over hits. Despite the noticeable grey whiskers of middle age setting in, Moby jumped the UFO shaped stage and worked the room. Bottom line: Moby brings the energy, and he expects the same in return.

Skream! + Benga – Tower of Ultra – 7:00 p.m.

Anyone who has listened to the new Britney Spears album understands that dub has made its way into American popular music; a feat probably not possible without the work of UK’s Skream! + Benga. The duo have been perfecting their dub step styles independently since the early 2000s, transitioning from the much darker birthplace of dub into a more melodically driven sound. That is not to say the two still do not possess the energy of their early dub bangers – going at their set so hard Saturday evening that they actually broke the fader button clean off the mixing board. But the guys are pros, and after a short a capella break lead by Benga, Skream! was back on the knobs seamlessly mixing the smooth melodies over the body rockin’ bass.

Afrobeta – UMF Radio Stage – 7:30 p.m.

Managed by the one of the execs of Ultra, Afrobeta have become the darlings of the UMF festival series. Being from Miami, Afrobeta brought several friends on stage during the set to help produce, add additional vocals, beatbox, or just whistle. They may not be headlining amphitheaters or mega clubs any time too soon, but the electro-pop duo have worked hard to create a unique sound, and an even more engaging live experience.

Cut Copy – Live Stage – 8:25 p.m.

cutcopysat1 Festival Review: CoS at Ultra Music Fest 2011

Photo by Derek Staples

Thanks to Rusko setting up at the Tower of Ultra, the Live Stage opened up nicely for the bouncy beats of Cut Copy. Much like their older electro-pop counter parts Duran Duran and Erasure, Cut Copy arrived to Miami a little overdressed, considering Ultra has become nearly clothing optional for females. It is true that the Aussie’s just released the new album, Zonoscope, but the majority of fans remained to catch the more danceable tracks from their sophomore release, In Ghost Colors. New tracks like “Corner of the Sky” were well received, but when the four-piece live beast started playing “Lights and Music” and “Hearts on Fire”, lead singer Dan Whitford’s voice was nearly silenced by the sheer number of fans that knew every word and were more than willing to sing along.

Underworld – Main Stage – 8:45 p.m.

underworldday2 4 Festival Review: CoS at Ultra Music Fest 2011

Photo by Craig Yunger

Deadmau5 may have been the official headliner of the Main Stage Saturday night, but fans of the seminal outfit Underworld traveled from countries around the globe to catch their penultimate performance. It’s understandably difficulty for Underworld to travel; they require an entire custom mobile soundboard for each performance. Underworld may only officially be Karl Hyde and Rick Smith, but it takes an entire team of producers, lurking in the shadows, to complete the band’s alternative dance tracks. Underworld started the night with a spot on performance of “Everything, Everything”, and continued to roll out the hits, including “Always Loved a Film”, “Two Months Off”, and, of course, “Born Slippy”. A stream of colorful, trippy, human-form visualizations synergized with Underworld ambient noise to dig deeper into the minds of the massive crowd. For a band called Underworld, they have an ability to pull lift a crowd about themselves into a communal cloud of electronic bliss.

Empire of the Sun – Live Stage – 9:45 p.m.

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Photo by Craig Yunger

Empire of the Sun are less a band, and more of a musical experience, seemingly produced by Cirque de Soleil. The Australian performers write super catchy songs, too. Just one listen of “We Are the People” and you’ll be humming the hook for the next three days. However, the group also deliver one of the most spectacular live performances today. Multiple costume changes, light guitars, unbelievable backdrops, and Gaga-esque choreography have all become staples of Empire’s live sets. Sometimes amidst all the spectacle of Luke Steele a sense of the duo’s musical abilities can be lost, which is a shame because Nick Littlemore is one hell of a drummer.

Deadmau5 – Main Stage – 10:30 p.m.


Sunday March 27th

Body burned, brain fried, legs numb, keys/phone/wallet missing, friends possibly (and probably arrested), but onto day three.

Just one question: Can you last until the Chems?

Will.I.Am – Main Stage – 6:15 p.m.

will i 6 Festival Review: CoS at Ultra Music Fest 2011

Photo by Craig Yunger

Name alone should not place DJs on the Main Stage during Ultra. Will.I.Am is a decent DJ, especially when he is spinning tracks from the Black Eyed Peas, but the same sounds can probably be found at your local club on a busy Saturday night, even if that’s in the middle of Nebraska. Will.I.Am, you have a decent day job, just stick with it!

Steve Aoki – Live Stage – 6:35 p.m.

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Photo by Craig Yunger

Looking at the draw to the Live Stage for Steve Aoki, and it seems the guy has become the king of the West Coast club banger. Whether working with other electro-heads like the Bloody Beetroots, or just tracking out his own techno remixes, Aoki fires on all cylinders all the time. The dude is perpetually running around the stage hyping the crowd, but always manages to get back to his Mac just as the next beat is about to drop. A note to Ultra: If you get Aoki to return in 2012, can fans see him rolling into dusk just to keep dehydration from all the jumping and dancing to a minimum?

Super Mash Bros. – Tower of Ultra – 6:30 p.m.

With the rise in popularity of Girl Talk, more and more mash-up artists are getting into the spotlight. And as their name implies, the Super Mash Bros. are all about the college-age pleasing mash-ups. Just in the short time spent in the Tower with the Bros., they cycled through Ja Rule, Genesis, Hanson, Lil John, and the East Side Boyz, and most likely a dozen other slightly less recognizable tracks. Unlike Girl Talk, who prefers to have the crowd on stage, the Bros.’ live act more closely resembled 2manyDJs and their video mash-ups montages.

Skrillex – Tower of Ultra – 7:30 p.m.

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Photo by Craig Yunger

LA’s Skrillex was blowing minds all weekend with his own brand of Bass Music. Not grime, dub, dnb, or electro-house, the 23 year-old just does whatever he wants with the low end to keep teeth rattling. Thursday evening, he packed Miami’s Mekka for an afterparty, Saturday saw him packing the Live Stage, and then Sunday gave him a chance to perform a brand new track at the Tower of Ultra.

Crystal Castles – Live Stage – 8:05 p.m.

img 1833 Festival Review: CoS at Ultra Music Fest 2011

Photo by Craig Yunger

Still hobbled with an injured foot, and without the aid of their normal glaring light show, Crystal Castles could not deliver the full impact of their normal live performances. But the 1,200 mile trip was still pretty worth it. The near strobe-less set kept Ethan Kath and Alice Glass in the dark, with Glass seemingly more timid than usual to approach the crowd with her crutch. The crowd exploded as the intro for “XXXZXCUZX Me” filtered through the stage’s incredible sound system, but without the effects to distract audiences from Glass’s odd delivery style, some tracks just didn’t move the audience as anticipated.

The Glitch Mob – Tower of Ultra – 8:45 p.m.

The Glitch Mob have had the most dramatic shift in soundscapes compared to any other repeat performers at this year’s Ultra. Last year, the trio were still glitch-heavy bodyrocking remixers, but after the release of Drink the Sea, they have shifted to a more rhythmic, flowing production technique. On Sunday, a new breed of the Glitch arrived. Even though fans could not see their new live devices, the trio merged their two worlds, hitting “Animus Vox”, “We Swarm”, and “Fistful of Silence”, among others, with their old-school glitch effects. With inclusion of hip-hop vocals and beats, their sound has started to approach the hyphy movement of the late 90’s in San Francisco.

Beardyman – Live Stage – 9:10 p.m.

Beardyman is in a class all his own. Born Danny Foreman, he has mastered the art of beatboxing and uses the Korg Kaoss Pad 3 to live loop and sample his own vocals. The Briton also has a fondness for weed, speaking on the subject quite often, and sampling classic Bob Marley and other dub and stripped-down dancehall into his set.

MSTRKRFT – Live Stage – 9:30 p.m.

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Photo by Craig Yunger

The duo only seemed to grow more ferocious with their time apart. Sharing a single laptop, and probably three packs of cigarettes, the Canadians just annihilated the packed crowd with their punk-fueled electro-house bangers. JFK and Al-P were relentless, pummeling the crowd with bass, tech effect shrills, and unruly drops. The set seemed absent of any mixes from their previous efforts,The Looks and Fist of God, so make sure to keep an ear to the ground for an upcoming third LP.

The Chemical Brothers – Main Stage – 10:30 p.m.

THE TIME HAS COME! No matter how many times you listen to Exit Planet Dust, Dig Your Own Hole, or the more recent Further, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simmons are going to straight up twist, turn, wreck, and turn your brain upside down. The 90 minute set had a slow build, with the massive Main Stage screen kept off to build a maddening level of suspense, until “Horse Power” dropped and all hell broke loose. There was no emotion or sense that was not somehow touched during the set. The Brothers’ visuals were truly beyond description – the massive scale, vivid colors, and total synchronization were a concert triumph on a level that has yet to be popularized on the US festival circuit. “Hey Boy, Hey Girl”, a track everyone at Ultra should know, sent the audience into a frenzy: glowsticks spinning, heads rocking, bodies bouncing, and voices screaming.

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Photo by Craig Yunger

The show just continued to reach new levels of absurdity as each song built on the momentum of the last. Every second of the show seemed perfectly scripted, with seamless transitions for both the audio and the visual aspects of the performance. To separate the two does not seem fitting, as each part was equally important to the show as a whole. The set ended with radio favorites “Brothers Got to Work it Out” and “Block Rockin’ Beats”. Even after almost 30 hours of music, the set pulled every last drop of energy from the crowd, and captured the spirit so well, people would have stayed until the early working hours of Monday morning. Well, enough with the words, just know this…it must be witnessed.
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Gallery by Craig Yunger

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