When we discussed our post day coverage of Ultra Music Festival, we decided that it would be fair that we narrow it down to the top 5 sets each day, that way we would be able to provide quality coverage on each of the day’s heavy hitters. However, we did not anticipate a day like Sunday to occur where every set was essentially flawless. I have never been in a circumstance like Sunday with each artist delivering perfection and needs to be recognized for their work.
Upon entering the festival on Sunday, we decided to adventure around a bit more during the afternoon than previous days. The first set we settled into was Wave Racer on the Worldwide Stage. Bringing his Future Bass sound to Miami was the perfect tone-setter for the afternoon, providing remixes of records like Porter Robinson’s ‘Sad Machine’ and the ever popular Fetty Wap’s ‘Trap Queen.’ After establishing its roots in Australia, the Future Bass scene is beginning to really take off in the United States and it is easy to see why; with its groovy melodies and bass roots, it creates an incredible environment.
After Wave Racer, we decided to catch San Holo over on the UMF Radio stage. After sitting down with Sander earlier on in the day, we were buzzing with anticipation for his appearance. Opening the appearance with ‘We Rise’ was the perfect way to set the tone for a crowd that could not get enough. To pair along with some of his established hits like ‘New Sky’ and his incredible ‘The Next Episode’ remix, San Holo unveiled a few new records and treated the crowd to some “Future Hardcore” music (yes, it is a crazy as it sounds!) We cannot wait to see what San Holo has for us next, both individually and on his emerging bitbird label (more on that later).
Then we were off to the Ultra Main Stage for the one and only Fedde Le Grand. Fedde has become a staple of festival lineups like Ultra and Tomorrowland and it is easy to understand why; the energy he brings to the stage to pair with his House beats is just remarkable. After the release of his album ‘Something Real’ earlier this year, we were excited to see some of his new tracks played on the biggest stage, and it is safe to say that they lived up to expectations in every way. ‘Give Me Some,’ his collaboration with Merk & Kremont, was the perfect track to open up his set and records like his bootleg of ‘7 Years’ and his numerous mashups continued to bring the fire. If you have not had a chance to listen to Fedde Le Grand‘s album yet, it is absolutely worth your time; he is such a talented producer that continues to drive his own sound.
The anticipated Main Stage debut of Galantis proceded Fedde Le Grande. After a couple of extra minutes to set up their live incorporations of symbols and drum kits behind the decks, the two Swedes brought their moving productions to a packed stage. They hit records like ‘Firebird,’ ‘Gold Dust,’ and ‘Peanut Butter Jelly;’ which have long been our favorites, while mixing some other flavors like the always-classic ‘Sandstorm.’ Those in the crowd and the live stream were lucky enough to witness the world premiere of ‘No Money,’ their new record. The track seems to be destined to become yet another a huge hit for the guys.
Taking a bit of a break after Galantis, we decided to join the #Mellogang at Marshmello back at the Worldwide Stage. There is only one way to describe the masked producer’s set: he threw the hell down. In Marshmello’s sets, he’s got a great ability to mix in his bouncier, upbeat records with some heavy beats. Hearing his ‘Need U %100’ remix with Jauz and his flip of Jack U’s ‘Where Are U Now’ on that system was incredible and really gave me an appreciation of all the subtle notes and developments in the records. I would not be able to talk about his set though without mentioning his closing, which you can all probably guess, was his brilliant reworking of Adele’s ‘Hello.’ It is such a shame that the record got pulled so quickly from the internet because it is a track that everyone should not go without. It provided an intimate moment for everyone there singing along with the lyrics while dancing our hearts out.
Next, we were off to the Megastructure and the ‘A State of Trance’ theme was in full force for the godfather of Progressive House, Mr. Eric Prydz. We entered at the perfect time as he begun his playing of ‘Rebel XX,’ resulting in a coating of the Megastructure with lasers. During his set, Prydz balanced his three monikers: Pryda, Cirez D, and Eric Prydz with ease; all providing their unique stylings you were going from his dark Techno side to his Progressive, showcasing his impeccable talent. To close out his set, the Swedish genius played an incredible ID, affectionately known to his fans as ‘Exchange Finale ID,’ and the now iconic, ‘Opus.’ There is nothing more perfect than hearing those two tracks close; there were a lot of misty eyes as a result of the perfect moment.
After Eric Prydz, the anticipation began for Knife Party and Pendulum reunion to close out the Main Stage and Ultra Music Festival. The crowd was buzzing with anticipation as the setup began; changing the Main Stage’s DJ decks to allow for both Knife Party and Pendulum to perform. Knife Party opened the party up with an ID that is sure to be a hit while also mixing in some of their classics like ‘Rage Valley,’ ‘LRAD,’ and ‘Boss Mode.’ Then, to ease us into the live components, Gareth and Rob brought out guitar icon Tom Morello to perform their new single live. While the track does not have a name or announcement yet, we can confirm that it is absolutely crazy. Following the ‘ID,’ Morello stayed on stage for the dropping of ‘Bonfire,’ riffing along to the record adding even more energy to the Dubstep classic.
With the end of Morello’s performance, it signaled the turnover to Pendulum, the moment it seemed like we had all be waiting for since the announcement of the lineup. The Pendulum performance just illustrates how talented the Knife Party duo of Gareth McGrillen and Rob Swire, along with El Hornet, Ben Mount, Peredur ap Gwynedd, KJ Sawka truly are. Opening with the iconic ‘The Island,’ the entire crowd was singing along to every word and every beat, sending chills down your spine. They continued to provide nonstop energy with records like ‘Propane Nightmares’ and ‘Witchcraft.’
As if the reunion of Pendulum was not enough, we were treated to Deadmau5 joining the group on stage for a live performance of his collaboration with Rob Swire, ‘Ghosts n Stuff.’ To be completely honest, I am still trying to wrap my head around hearing one of the most iconic songs in electronic music, and a song that I have been listening to since I was in high school, played live.
The reunion of Pendulum was chilling, a nonstop party for the 40 minutes that they were on stage. It has us so intrigued to see if there is going to be more music or performances from the five producers. We personally believe that there is something in the works; the closing of their set with ‘Begin Again’ just sends too much of a message for it to be coincidental.
All in all, Ultra Music Festival 2016 was a resounding success. While generally, fans can find something to pick out and worry about too much while at the festival, there were no glaring issues throughout the three days. It was well organized, well produced, and well run. We applaud all of the artists and all of the people at Ultra Music Festival for such an amazing weekend and we look forward to seeing you again next year.