While Andi, Lex, and Matt were hobnobbing with some of Dance Music’s elite at the SiriusXM Music Lounge series, I decided to stay on track with our epic party schedule. The sold out Mixmash Records Pool Party featuring Laidback Luke was one of the biggest parties last year, as told to me by almost every person I had encountered once I told them my schedule. As with most day parties that week, the first 2 hours were slow, as sleepy vets and newly arrived ravers were slowly trickling in to what was most likely their first party of WMC 2014.
The National Hotel occasionally competed against its neighbors for control of my ears. Avicii’s SLS Hotel was in full swing just next door, but MixMash would eventually get rowdy just as expected. The party had what many other parties lacked: Diversity. For the multi-faceted dance music fans, MixMash was one of very few events with a wide array of styles represented in their lineup. That’s not to say I wasn’t curious to check out events like Drumcode or Pure Trance, but if I was going to only be in Miami for a week, I needed to make sure that I chose parties that would satisfy all my preferences.
Another great selling point about Mixmash was the fact that many of the acts performing earlier in the day were acts I had never seen before. I was most blown away by Chocolate Puma. With a career spanning 20+ years, these two guys were not only still in the game, but it could even be argued that they were back on the rise with the growing popularity of old school house music. With a completely different style than the artists that surrounded them, Chocolate Puma was easily the best-kept secret of the day. Second runner up: Will Sparks. This youthful Australian has a quality that’s lost on many DJs: He actually looks like he’s having fun. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been bored by a DJ or felt the slight disconnect between the DJ and the crowd. Will broke those barriers by singing each track at the top of his lungs, soaking through his baggy white shirt because he danced so hard to his tracks.
But when it comes to connecting to every member of the crowd, few can do it better than Laidback Luke. In what would be his last performance of WMC (wife Gina Turner would go into labor a few hours later), LBL had a nice treat for anyone who had taken refuge under the shady dance floor at the National: He was filming a music video for his new track with Dmitri Vegas & Like Mike and D12. Yes, that D12. The pack took to the stage and did two takes of their new track “More”, with an infectious chorus the crowd immediately bounced to. There were two takes to the track for filming purposes, and with the first take down, the crowd was unbelievably rowdier for the second. While I assumed Like Mike stood with D12 as just a hype man of sorts, my jaw DROPPED when he actually started rapping! Now, the man’s no Kanye, but shit, it was pretty decent!
The surprises would only get bigger and bigger from there as Dmitri Vegas & Like Mike stayed on stage to play..with not just Laidback Luke, but Steve Aoki as well! By this point, my brain had all but melted, as I had a front row spot for all of this...Once Sander van Doorn appeared, I couldn’t take it anymore. It was only then that my friends informed me that Carnage was going to play a set right after. Of course he was. Of course.
MixMash has the formula down when it comes to a great party. Year after year, Laidback Luke and friends up the ante, ushering in the start of Ultra with turns left and right. It is my hope that next year I’ll be one of the lucky few to get a ticket to the sold out show months before WMC even starts, as I’ll be anticipating whatever new surprises Mixmash 2015 will have in store for us. Predictions:
I’m just spit-balling here, Luke. Let’s sit down and discuss over cheesesteaks next week when you’re in Philly?
Check out LBL’s set at Mixmash featuring the new track “More” here: