By 12:20, the streets of downtown Miami were all but deserted except for the roving packs of candy kids and ravers fresh out of Ultra Music Festival. It was the final night of electronic debauchery in Miami, but many weren’t ready to call it quits just yet. There was still more raging to do. Those who knew where to find it inevitably landed at one of the many after parties around town.
The lucky ones landed at Grand Central on North Miami Avenue.
The line for entry snaked down the sidewalk to the corner of North Miami Avenue and NE 7 Street. In the small foyer where bouncers issued wristbands to drinkers, the steady thump of the bass bled through the double doors leading into the club. Once those doors opened, the muffled thumps turned into a chest rattling pulse. The room was blanketed in smoke and purple and blue light. The sounds of Terence Tabeau and Edwin Adams behind the turntables kept the indelible beat of Ultra weekend alive and well.
Many of those in attendance had no idea who was running the mixer. They danced and bobbed their heads and shrugged when presented with the question. But everybody knew one thing. Somehow, at some point, Philadelphia jamtronica giants, The Disco Biscuits were going to throw down two epic sets of live electronic madness.
The bars were open, but it they weren’t at all crowded. At $9 for a bottle of Sierra Nevada, that was no surprise. It was probably cheaper to find other means of social lubrication, though water was also an absurd $7 per bottle.
The lights and music cut off at 1:20 a.m., and the masses packed into the dance floor before the stage roared in excitement. It was then the Disco Biscuits switched on. And once they switched on, they plowed forward an onward, not yielding for even a moment between songs.
The lights swirled and spun all around, relentlessly changing color and pattern. Behind the band, a massive wall of LED lights flashed and morphed from one pattern to another. When the strobes went off, you could see smoke rising from the crush of people jumping and dancing and dripping in sweat.
The Disco Biscuits climbed from peak to peak, taking all of us along for the psychedelic ride. They raised us up and up and just when we thought we couldn’t go any higher, they exploded with a new reserve of energy that sent the mob into a frenzy.
The musical mayhem continued without a break until about 2:30 a.m. when they ended the set. Tabeau and Adams picked up where they left off and brought up the heartbeat of the weekend, that steady thump, once more. It was late. People were bound to be at least a little tired from the electronic excesses of the weekend, but nobody left. Why leave then? There was still a whole second set!
That second set got going at around 3:10 a.m. The Disco Biscuits barely gave us a second to reorient ourselves. They went from 0 to max at the flip of a switch. The crowd screamed in delirious bliss as the Biscuits revved that psychotropic engine and blasted off for another hour and a half of straight music.
Glowsticks and light toys bounced around in the ever-changing ambient light. Booties in tiny skin-tight shorts did just the same. By the time the encore after the second set came to a close, it was 4:30 a.m. The floor was littered with bottles. The empty water bottles largely outnumbered the empty beer bottles.
Everybody in the club was herded like a flock of exhausted, tweaked out sheep to a single exit. We were funneled into a line that crawled along like creeping molasses.
“Let my people go!” someone shouted.
At the front, bouncers were collecting wristbands from everybody before allowing them back onto the downtown streets. Some kids didn’t bother waiting. They just jumped a nearby fence.
Before long, the streets were flooded with sweaty, smelly ragers that looked like they got hit by trucks. Five police cars showed up one after another with their lights flashing to bring order, scare kids, and undoubtedly try to screw over folks who, up until then, had made it through Ultra weekend unscathed.
It was over. Miami Music Week was over. The biggest UMF in history was officially over. There are always parties to go to. There are always clubs to hit up. But none of it ever comes close to Ultra weekend. Big ups to the Disco Biscuits as well as Ultra, Def Owl and Grand Central for ringing out the weekend with a chest-rattling, head-splitting BANG.