Fest Nest

Miami: III Points Fest Receives Warm Wynwood Welcome

Miami: III Points Fest Receives Warm Wynwood Welcome

It’s safe to say that Wynwood, which sits just west of Downtown Miami, is not your normal Miami neighborhood. And, the first-ever III Points Festival that was held there from Thursday, October 3 through Saturday, October 5, was not your normal Miami festival. There was an eclectic line up of artists and musicians, alike from all over the world, who filled both the streets and venues of Wynwood.

It’s safe to say that Wynwood, which sits just west of Downtown Miami, is not your normal Miami neighborhood. And, the first-ever III Points Festival that was held there from Thursday, October 3 through Saturday, October 5, was not your normal Miami festival. There was an eclectic line up of artists and musicians, alike from all over the world, who filled both the streets and venues of Wynwood.

Just as the neighborhood does on a regular basis, it attracted a diverse, fashion-conscious, art savvy and audiophile-filled fanbase. It was very similar to Miami’s monthly “Art Walk,” held in the neighborhood, but with bigger sponsors and artists, while spread out over a larger portion of Wynwood. The SXSW-style of festival, with different events being scattered about at multiple venues, helped keep the underground vibe of the neighborhood. No venue seemed overwhelmingly packed, and allowed the fans to concentrate on the music or art they wished to experience. It was easy to get around and absorb everything that the streets of Wynwood had to offer, including several local food trucks and some brand new murals, graffiti and street art.

Friday: Bass Bombs + Low & Slow
Friday evening kicked off the first BBQ party of III Points. Young Turks, a record label based in London, welcomed a special guest to the DJ booth for their event at Cefeina. It just so happened to be Brodinski, the Parisian DJ and producer from Bromance Records. Brodinski proceeded to break his normal style of EDM and throw down some classic ‘90s hip-hop and R&B. He even dropped some nostalgic Aalyiah, which had the lovely ladies reminiscing and crooning along. After the event ended around 9 p.m., the crowd dispersed in to Wynwood to enjoy some adult beverages at Gramps, which had an all-vinyl disco dance party raging on full-blast.

The main event of the night, POINT BASS, held at Mana Wynwood – a warehouse-style venue that hosted the festival’s key performers – brought world renowned turntabalist and producer DJ Shadow and young up-and-comer XXYYXX to the Sound Stage. This massive, cavernous space, used for full movie productions, was outfitted with art galleries and art installations that surrounded a stage made up of large projection screens. One of the most entertaining art installations was a cluster of wacky, wavy, inflatable tube men who seemed to be breakdance fighting together.  There was also a mobile room on castor-type wheels that could roll freely around the venue. Every time it passed by, there was dance party happening inside, as people jumped and jammed out as they pleased. 

DJ Shadow took the helm first and proclaimed “No Laptop” as he began his set. With all the projection going on, it seemed feasible to have a DJ booth cam, but, sadly, no such luck. DJ Shadow scratched and blended some new school trap and future breaks-style tunes. Old school DJ Shadow fans seemed stunned at the rebirth style of music he was playing.

Shadow himself even pointed this out near the end of his set, and then proceeded to play a version of his classic track “Organ Donor” to close his set out. Shadow had an electronic drum pad in the DJ booth, and added some energetic kick drum, snare and high hats, that brought a live remix aspect to his set. As the organ riff in his signature track was building to the breakdown, the crowd jumped on queue as Shadow drummed the snare break beat live.

XXYYXX then took the stage soon after. In contrast to Shadow, XXYYXX proclaimed to be using all laptop and no turntables. He launched the music that he produced himself from an Akai APC450 Ableton controller. His music was slow and low, with some grime and dirtiness to it. The 60 to 70 BPM tracks were a good way to close the evening down. XXYYXX played a dubbed out version of his track “About You” that had an extra long build up and breakdown to it, followed by a brand new and un-released track.

Saturday: DFA Takeover
Saturday at III Points welcomed DFA Records to the city, including a memorable afternoon pit-stop by DFA Records co-founder James Murphy at Bardot, where local tastemaker and talent booker David Sinopoli moderated a laid-back chat with the legendary producer-musician. Then, it was back to Cafeina for another exciting BBQ party. The grill was fired up, and burgers were being flipped in true BBQ fashion,  while DJ Matt Cash spun some funky tunes to get the crowd warmed up for YACHT. YACHT took the stage promptly at 8 p.m. with their four-piece live band. There were no laptops in sight, and YACHT delivered some great sounding live versions of their tunes. The set included an enthusiastic version of “Psychic City,” in which the crowd engaged in a loyal call-and-response chorus, and a punked-out rendition of new track “Party at the NSA.” There also was a brief Q&A session initiated by the band to the crowd. The crowd engaged with questions like “ What is you favorite animal?” (The band’s collective answer: domestic housecat.) And, “Do you have a gag reflex, Jona?” (He has a true talent for the art of deep throat, apparently).

Across the street at the Sound Stage of Mana Wynwood, Saturday’s main event, POINT BLANK, was already underway by 9 p.m. Saturday welcomed Jamie xx and James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem. Inside the Sound Stage venue, there was a barber giving out fresh haircuts and a face / body paint booth. We watched an epic Skrillex-style cut, which included some intricate design work on the shaved side of a chick’s head! Other art installations featured Slurpees (Yes the frozen drink), a weird ‘80s mobile manicure van playing porn inside and a chill and vintage ‘70s style living room setup. Both Jamie xx played a funky and groovy DJ set. He rattled off new releases from his record label, Young Turks, that include tracks from John Talabot, The xx, SBTRKT, Chairlift and Wavves. His remixes and selections were danceable and deep.

James Murphy took the stage to close the night (and festival) down, and immediately brought the BPM down to 105 to 115, and played some of the best disco edits we have heard all year long in Miami. His nu-disco style had the crowd shuffling their feet to the grooves. Vinyl was the name of the game for Murphy, and rare records were mixed with perfection as he added simple effects over the beats to help build up the EDM vibe. One standout moment was when he dropped a Todd Terje reedit of Paul Simon’s “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.” The African chants and drums had the crowd moving like a drum circle around a campfire. Murphy’s finale was a grand dance party to close out the debut of a most promising up-and-coming Miami fest.

All in all, it was great to see this type of festival in Miami. It was a major contrast to Ultra and WMC (a lot less neon outfits!), and easier to find parking and walk around than during Art Basel. With more than 25 new liquor licenses and restaurant permits granted recently in the Wynwood neighborhood, we can expect more big things from this area in the near future, and hopefully, the return of III Points in 2014.

Photos by Melodysiac © 2013

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victor

October 11th, 2013

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