Ultra Music Festival 2022 day one review: Kygo, Carl Cox, Martin Garrix, Alesso

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After the logistical nightmare that was the 2019 edition on Virginia Key, Ultra Music Festival posted a letter on Twitter apologizing to festival-goers and announcing that he would be leaving Miami and looking for another venue. Thankfully, a few months later, the festival was able to reach an agreement with town and downtown residents, allowing it to return to its longtime venue, Bayfront Park, in 2020.

Then the pandemic descended, thwarting Ultra’s return for two years and leaving people wondering if the festival would ever return. But here we are. On Friday, March 25, the festival returned to Bayfront Park with a dominance, bringing a sense of familiarity between PLUR’s crazy ravers, pyrotechnics, tropical shirts, and fan clickers — all fan clickers.

There were new flavors too – live music featured and the Cove Resistance stage offering a mix of relaxation and deep underground sounds. With perfect weather and fireworks lighting up the sky, the crowd of over 50,000 flocked to each stage to shake off the woes of the pandemic and be exposed to illuminating LEDs and the proverbial bass.

With one day less, the festival reaffirmed that home is where the rave is: at Bayfront Park.

Alesso

Known for his progressive-house-meets-pop sound, Alesso covered the main stage with all of his favorite hits, including “Progresso,” “Again” and his collab with Katy Perry, “When I’m Gone.” The crowd was completely mesmerized and danced through the set, while local celebrities like David Grutman and Dave Portnoy were spotted enjoying the beats backstage. The setlist included Alesso’s latest single, “Only You,” featuring fan-favorite Sentinel that had the crowd singing and rocking to the catchy pop number. Mary Gibson

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Armin van Burren and Reiner Zonneveld

Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Armin van Burren B2B Reiner Zonneveld

Of course, the Dutch DJs/producers could have taken the easy way out. Perhaps the duo could take turns throwing out lovey-dovey lyrics and candy-coated buildups with a few shouts of “Miamiiiiiii” and be back in the artists’ lounge for a beer. But the mix of a live DJ set from the Zonneveld side, Armin tapping into those fast-paced trance days, and the inverted-dish world stage shooting fire and blinding lights created an intense mix old-fashioned trance and fast techno. “We rehearsed, but it was more about checking technical setups,” Zonneveld said. new times before the set. “We hadn’t planned anything. It’s a hybrid set – but maybe less rave and a bit more trance, but we’ll see where it goes.”

Instead, the two took the high road, touching the boundary of trance nostalgia and melting emotions. Synths and other hardware supported Zonneveld as he controlled the humming synth power with a calm hand while van Burren delivered the frantic trance talk that reminded you of what the trance state is: the moment. “When you’re playing live, you can adjust everything depending on the moment,” Zonneveld said. “It’s once in a lifetime, it will never come back.” And you’d be wrong to believe that Zonneveld didn’t perform a synth solo to close the set. Albert-Albert

Click to enlarge Carl Cox - PHOTO BY MICHELE EVE SANDBERG

Carl Cox

Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Carl Cox

It was sound system versus DJ, and sound system won. A usual Cox Ultra set features tooth-shaking bass, blistering pace and endless energy. Still, the audio system faltered somewhere in the middle of Kraviz’s set, forcing contestants to find the right spot to get bass and prevent sound from filtering out. Either way, Cox stuck to his techno-stadium style: stripped-down percussion, thumping bass, and an “oh yeah, oh yeah” thrown in for good measure. Cox can create energy where there shouldn’t be and create atmosphere in even the thickest bass haze. It should be a condition to see Cox set the theme for his scene on his terms before venturing elsewhere. A man behind the decks, becoming relentlessly primal with creeping techno and happy house. Albert-Albert

Click to enlarge Joseph Capriati - PHOTO BY MICHELE EVE SANDBERG

Joseph Capriati

Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Joseph Capriati

The sunset slot gives a DJ diplomatic responsibilities. They must appease the relationship between sunny, festive music and the dark, furious side of techno that shows its face at night. It’s not an easy balance, which is why Ultra continues to recruit Italian DJ/producer Joseph Capriati as lead track selector. “Definitely groove with techno at the end,” said Capriati new times earlier today about his set. Revered for his house and renowned for his techno, Capriati ruled the decks for 90 minutes with muscular bass lines peppered with soul and house vocal samples.

“I never play something without a soul,” he said new times. Capriati began with an a cappella rendition of Blaze’s “My Beat,” while heavy house beats blared from the speakers — a sign of her new music being stockpiled during the pandemic. “I remixed a track from Agent of Times that just came out of Kompakt. I don’t have a style when I produce or perform, but I try to go far for the production,” he said. -he explains. As night fell, Capriati unashamedly switched to techno: hats sizzled and bass boomed through the neck. Still, true to her roots, Capriati has added the house vocals that give perspective to her sets. He looped to Liza’s soulful vocals in “I Need U” shortly before concluding, taking his hard-hitting tenacity skyward as he balanced light and dark. Albert-Albert

Click to enlarge Kygo - PHOTO BY MICHELE EVE SANDBERG

Kygo

Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Kygo

For the first time since 2017, Kygo was set to headline Ultra in 2020. So, in many ways, Kygo’s closing performance Friday on the festival’s main stage lasted five years. After a slight delay, he took the stage with a remix of his song “Stole the Show”, featuring Parson James. Playing a mix of his most famous songs and popular club tunes, he had the crowd hooked with every note. His performance brought together special guests, including 50 Cent, who jumped on stage to perform his 2005 hit “Candy Shop,” and Joe Jonas-led band DNCE, who joined the Norwegian producer for their new collaborative single, “Dancing Feet”. Mary Gibson

Click to enlarge Martin Garrix - PHOTO BY MICHELE EVE SANDBERG

Martin Garrix

Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Martin Garrix

Taking the stage to much cheers and fireworks, Martin Garrix was a highly anticipated highlight of Ultra’s first day. His set included well-known tracks like “Tremor”, “High on Life” and, of course, “Animals”, and some deeper house and electronic beats that turned the main stage into his own personal nightclub. . “We can do anything we dream of, now what? sounded one of his songs, potentially his new single that he allegedly dropped during his set. Mary Gibson

Nina Kraviz

For the first time in years, it was unclear how the crowd would react to Nina Kraviz. What was an unconditional love for Kraviz turned sour in some circles of his fans and colleagues; the Siberian DJ was the subject of criticism for not explicitly calling out the Russian invasion of Ukraine on his social media platforms. It was unclear how Kraviz – who throughout his career has not appeared to express sympathy for the Russian government – ​​would be received by international audiences. But any tension melted away when Kraviz brought her a furious blizzard of techno and acid for her Megastructure debut. The first half of the 90-minute set introduced sour beats, and Kraviz even jumped on the mic for a second (although what she said was inaudible). She bounced between boundless techno and her deeper, vocal-centric productions, including a remix of her single “Skyscrapers” and an unreleased track, “All His Decisions.” What was supposed to be a setting in the middle of a bayside metropolis slipped into an eerie warehouse aesthetic with drip after drop of fast-paced techno anthems while LEDs reigned hellish red. Albert-Albert

Click to enlarge Pendulum - PHOTO BY MICHELE EVE SANDBERG

Pendulum

Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Pendulum

We owe a lot to Pendulum. They are living proof of a prototype live band infusing electronic elements. They formalized a way for a thrush raver and live music lover to dance the night away and dare to venture inside the Ultra doors. The drum patterns are homages to those drum ‘n’ bass beats that every Ultra participant dreams of, while lying on the grassy lawn of the live stage. The four-piece ensemble stormed through their extensive back catalog, playing, say, 2010’s synth-buzzing “The Island” late into the night. “Ultra, let me hear you clap!” shouted lead singer Rob Swire as the Aussie band strummed chunky chord progressions and kept the crowd sitting, lying or standing watching, seeing that a full band and the DJ are more harmonious than one. didn’t believe him. Albert-Albert

Click to enlarge Swedish Death - PHOTO BY MICHELE EVE SANDBERG

Swedish death

Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Svdden Death presents Voyd

In what can only be described as a “nightmarish dreamscape”, Svdden Death provided a narrative of visuals during their Live Stage set. Wearing his signature animal skeleton head, Svdden Death introduced Voyd, a darker story aptly described by his voiceover, in which he proclaimed, “We are all born to die.” Soaring above the crowd, appearing to float in a demonic seance from a horror movie, the DJ played eerie sounds and beats as the crowd sang every unholy beat along with him. Welcome to Hell; the fire is fine. Mary Gibson

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