- By Joe Vela
- Published on March 31, 2011
|The Glitch Mob - Photo Credit: Julia Rickert|
After Van Buuren, I caught Cut Copy, one of my favorite acts of the day. Being one of the more alternative acts at Ultra, they were a breathe of fresh air amidst the heavy electro. The highlight was “Hearts on Fire” which I had the pleasure of experiencing only a few feet from the stage.
The music kept rolling along as Empire of the Sun was next on the list. At Ultra, it was nearly impossible to find time to chill and relax as so many amazing acts were on the bill.
They put on a mind-blowing visual show decked out in Indian headdresses with girls dressed in sparkling attire dancing on stage. Their video show was my favorite of the weekend. They played high-quality clips of planes and boats flying through the universe to far away planets, taking you on a journey both aurally and visually.
But before Empire of the Sun ended I headed to Main Stage for Deadmau5, one of the most anticipated acts of the weekend.
|Cut Copy - Photo Credit: Julia Rickert|
[Find tour dates, downloads and news on Deadmau5's official website.]
He played most of his mainstream tracks, including “Raise Your Weapon,” “Ghosts N Stuff” and “Some Chords.” He also blew my mind with a seamless transition from “FML” into “Right This Second.” During “Sofi Needs a Ladder” singer Sofia Toufa came out, followed by an underwhelming Tommy Lee on drums, elevated above the DJ booth.
The mau5 also sampled some Windows computing sounds and acted as if his set was interrupted, a joking allusion to some technical problems he experienced at Ultra in 2010.
As midnight rolled around again, I headed to the beach to collect myself and prepare for the final day.
Day 3 – Sunday, March 28
I got to the park at 4:00 p.m., just in time for The Disco Biscuits. I wasn’t expecting much since their set last year disappointed, but they were surprisingly solid.
Dedicated Bisco fans made it out early, draped in Dead shirts and flat brims for the one-hour set, but knew this was just a warm-up for the Grand Central Official After-Party.
[READ Headstash Magazine's interview with Bisco bassist Marc Brownstein from last year.]
|Steve Aoki - Photo Credit: Julia Rickert|
Next, I caught some house music by Laidback Luke at the Main Stage. Even though 99 percent of his stuff is sampled from other artists, it still strikes the listener as unique and his ear for music is undeniable. His remix of Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name” and Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction” was superb.
I headed back to the Live Stage for Steve Aoki. I was really impressed with the energy of this 6:30 p.m. set, since it was still light out and the park was nowhere near capacity.
Crystal Castles delivered one of the most enthusiastic sets of the day. Despite having broken her foot several weeks ago, Alice Glass jumped into the crowd during ”Courtship Dating,” barely managing to scream the lyrics as she surfed over hands that ripped her clothes in adoration and eventually brought her to the floor.
[Find tour dates, downloads and news on Crystal Castle's official website.]
The band didn’t miss a beat as Alice was angelically lifted back to the stage. Everyone was having fun – even a wheelchair-bound individual was lifted through the crowd for several minutes until he realized he no longer trusted the shirtless bros holding him.
|Photo Credit: Julia Rickert|
As I headed to The Glitch Mob, I stopped to hear David Guetta spin his popular tracks “Love Is Gone” and “Memories.” I demanded my friends to follow me to the Tower of Ultra to see The Mob, but we ended up separating because I could hear “Drive It Like You Stole It” drop in the distance and couldn’t help but run to the front of the tent.
I watched wide-eyed as song after song caused my jaw to drop. The Glitch Mob was enclosed above the crowd within the huge LED wall that burst with confetti colors at each peak.
[NEWS NUG - The Glitch Mob Announces Massive Summer Tour.]
Back at the Live Stage, MSTRKRFT vroomed into an awesome set. My legs were getting tired and I wanted to harness some energy for the after-party, so we grabbed a spot on the dirt near the back of the stage to watch the madness in front of us. Everyone was raging as I gazed into the clouds though blue and green laser lights, though I jumped back in the pit just in time for “Heartbreaker.”
The Chemical Brothers closed out the weekend with audio and visual overload. The visual show combined with patiently timed peaks enhanced the crowd’s experience immensely. Using clips of geometric shapes and shadows, the band messed with the audience’s perception.
[Find tour dates, downloads and news on The Chemical Brother's official website.]
The whole set was solid from the start of fast-paced “Galvanize” opener through a patient groove to pleasant highs and lows.
Ultra was an amazing, one-of-a-kind experience. It was a festival based on the concept of excess. Thousands of people, dozens of performers and non-stop music from the time the gates opened to the time they shuffled you out.
If and when the celebration commences in 2012, I will see you there.
|Ultra from downtown Miami - Photo Credit: Julia Rickert|
[Julia Rickert contributed to this article.]
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