Unless you plan on attending the craziness of Ultra 2011, stay the hell away from Downtown Miami. You’ve been warned.
I went to Ultra before, twice and a half times actually. That half time was when I finally battled out all the traffic, paid for parking, walked over and then found out my media credentials were rejected despite clearly being approved. So I haven’t been back since.
However, I still like to know how Ultra plays out for the sake of seeing how it progresses year by year. Well, the heads over at Billboard sent their notepad carrying goons to write down and put together a recap list of Ultra DAY ONE. Read below.
1. Duran Duran showing their age by opening their main stage Ultra set with 1985 James Bond soundtrack single “A View To A Kill.”
2. David Guetta announcing the May 2 release of the first single from his forthcoming, as-yet-unnamed album, the follow-up to 2009 multi-platinum breakthrough “One Love.” The one bit of info missing? The name of the song. “You know why? Because I don’t know!,” he says. “I think the album is so good there are so many singles to choose from, but at the same time it’s driving me crazy.” It’s come down to two: “Where Them Girls At,” featuring Flo Rida and Nicki Minaj (“an obvious U.S. record”) or “Little Bad Girl,” featuring Taio Cruz and Ludacris (“an obvious European record”).
3. D.C. DJ Miss Nine making the most of a challenging gig: spinning while roadies hustled between sets at the Ultra Live stage.
4. Ultra partiers sporting what appears to be a new uniform: Snarky Charlie Sheen quote shirts (“Duh, winning!”) and Spirit Hoodies – furry animal heads with ears and tails that made them look like Ben Stiller wearing his murdered panda in “Tropic Thunder.” They were selling for $139 and up from the vendor stalls at the festival.
5. Deadmau5, nee Joel Zimmerman, honoring the terms of his exclusive performance agreement with Ultra – just barely – by joining vocalist Sofi onstage at the Beatport Beach Party during mutual friend Tommy Lee’s DJ set. Sofi sang along to “Sofi Needs A Ladder” — one of two vocal tracks from the mau5’s latest full-length “4×4=12″ (Ultra) — while Zimmerman did a nerdy bump-and-grind and mugged for the throng, even crowd-picking and donning a fan-made mousehead, this one a macabre version of his own cartoonish icon, with a knife stuck in one beady eye.
6. DJ Danny Tenaglia throwing his lip-synching drag queens for a loop, literally, by stuttering and repeating the vocal of Vernessa Mitchell house anthem “Reap” during his down-and-dirty classics party at Lincoln Road gay club Score.
7. Astralwerks GM Glenn Mendlinger beaming over Swedish House Mafia’s new iPad app, which combines the music of album “Until One” and the visuals of documentary film “Take One” into an interactive experience. The biggest point of pride? It was developed and produced in-house by EMI UK.
8. Pioneer Pro DJ demo-ing their new DJM-900nexus club mixer to the pro-sumers at the Beatport party, a long-awaited follow-up to the industry-standard DJM-800, which came out in 2006.
9. A parched raver filling an empty water bottle from the misting spigot at Ultra’s Heineken-branded cool-off booth, rather than pay $6 for a new one.
10. Kaskade stopping by for an unannounced set at DJ Pete Tong’s Surfcomber pool party, celebrating his upcoming Essential Mix for Tong’s BBC radio show, one of dance music’s only international platforms.