Is a planet in retrograde? Is this a streak of bad luck? Is this the end of the world? It’s nearing the end of 2016 and shit has hit the fan on all fronts. Clinton and Trump making a fool out of this country, a Hurricane devastating our neighbors, and then there’s Miami IIIPoints. Yeah, shit has hit the fan here too.
Getting word from the PR director that “The show will go on” back on Tuesday filled me with warm enthusiasm, excited to see what the festival had in store for me. Waiting, preparing, getting ready for this shindig I received another email, with a grave message: “LCD Soundsystem forced to cancel” huh, well that’s not going to be received well…
Opening day comes around; it’s a picturesque evening as the clouds are pinked by the setting sun, a nice way to compliment the painted walls on the streets. Sitting in my Tacoma sipping scotch out of my flask and chasing it with a tallboy, I already hear the bass bumping from a distant party, most definitely on the grounds of the festival. It’s already 5 p.m. I’m rushing to finish my beer which I would otherwise just take with me if it weren’t for the outstanding presence of police this weekend.
Approaching the main gate I see a small line has already been formed, walking out to the front to inquire if there was a press entrance I was turned back, no press entrance? It’s already 5 p.m. the show has started, what’s the deal? “The opening is pushed back to 7:30 to 8:00, sorry.” holy shit, two hours of waiting, I would have been more upset if it weren’t for some pals that I ran into suggesting we get tacos, hell, why not.
Walking over to Coyo I listen in on people muttering in disappoint about LCD not being here, how they felt robbed since they only came out for them, I would have similar comments ring in my ear throughout the night. Passing by the festival grounds I spot my pal Raven, he plays in OLY. I rush over to greet him “Hey buddy, ready to play today?” He looks at me for a moment “We already played…” Wait, why the hell would they play if the festival isn’t open to the public? “We played to what it seemed to be staff members and Rat Bastard.” What the fuck? Why would bands be scheduled to play on schedule when everything else is off schedule, this marked the start of my confusion and frustration that would stretch out all night.
I was contemplating this while getting tacos, octopus to be exact, chewy and complimented with pickled jalapenos, a good meal to prepare for the night. Not knowing what the heck to go to since all the set times were fucked up I decide to go check out the NASA Mars 2030 VR experience.
To put it in perspective, you put on a VR headset, and you simulate what it would be like to be an astronaut in Mars, being able to run around and drive in a rover. It was an interesting experience and a cool change of pace to the hectic schedule of music, despite waiting an hour to try it out, and also flipping over the rover in less than five minutes meant that I should take off the sweaty headset and let the next person try it out.
Walking over to the Sunset @ Noon stage I run into Blue Jay’s set. Finally, something that stood out from the generic sounds I’ve heard throughout the day, they’re a three piece, two vocalists, and a cello player, a cello player! Catching my attention, this unconventional three piece is somewhere in between a pop-folky dance party and a mountain tribe ritual.
After Blue Jay’s set I run into my pal and fellow photographer Amadeus, and of course he has his camera with him. Without asking he told me he brought it in without any credentials, are you fucking kidding me? I could have brought my damn camera?? I was told otherwise but fuck it, this place opens two hours late, has bands play before opening and sells $8 Becks, anything goes at this point, right? That being said, I resign for the night to go lie in bed and wait for the next day’s events to unfold.
Saturday afternoon rolls by and I limp to the front gate with my flask stuck in my crotch, hands full of promotional sodas and camera supplies I make my way in unscathed. By chance, walking into the festival grounds I run into my pal from Gainesville, Claudia! Sharing the same taste in memes, I decide to give her a tour through the Sunset@Noon room, which holds up an entirety of vaporwave aesthetics. For readers living under a rock, vaporwave consists of futuristic retro imagery, Japanese typeface, backdrops of tropical waters, and roman statues, dolphins, memes, remixing the Seinfeld theme, etc., etc…
Agreeing that we were both hungry we go on the hunt for food. For a music festival, the food was top notch, pop up’s of local food joints such as Coyo, Harry’s Pizzeria, Shake Shack and more. We decided to split a pizza and trust me; you’ll never get a better pizza at a festival if it’s not from Harry’s! (Wasn’t paid to say this)
I walk into the Mainframe stage and its full of white clad performers, frozen in place while lingering in the shadows in all black is Poorgrrl creeping about as the opening track, Errrrrrrrrrrrrror drones in the background shoving the backup dancers as the song intensifies… following to the next song off the PITIPARTY album is ‘We Trashy’. Her opening line received with agreeing laughter and whistles with praise from the crowd, the hook with double vocals that are lowered down a few octaves producing a deep growling voice, further emphasizing a demonic stage presence. Unfortunately I was not able to finish watching Poorgrrrrl’s set due to more schedule mess ups.
I now take a break from listening to music, to talking to music, with Plastic Pinks.
So, tell me about “El Animal”
Well, El Animal is our new EP, coming out on November 5. It’s a new beast, new sound, new members. With it we aim to work with a new sound, bridging it to the next album to be put out.
The album was also worked on with producer Gordon Raphael, who’s worked with acts such a Regina Spektor and The Strokes.
Who are you looking forward to see the most at iiipoints?
The Oh Sees, Redman, Killmama, Fly-lo
What can you say about Miami’s music for folks that aren’t from around here?
The bands in Miami are like their own melting pot, each band has their own particular sound, no two bands are alike.
Any concerns on the lack of LA Croix at the festival?
I don’t like LA Croix, it’s all hype, and I’d rather drink sweat!
Anything in the near future?
We’ve got a tour for the EP release in Florida, from Nov to Dec, we’ll be playing with Broncho on it as well. Perhaps working on a music video for “My Frenzy State”.
Finishing the interview I let them off as I didn’t want to be a bother any longer, and back into the fray that is iiipoints. I rush back to Sunset@Noon to catch what is left of Virgo’s set, one of the acts that I always look forward to seeing; I nearly missed their set and was able to watch her close off the set with 622514, the opening track off the Water Planet EP.
Wandering around waiting for some pals to get in the festival I get curious and check out this cargo container where I earlier saw a group of people laying down and others standing over them playing instruments seem interesting… I check out what is known as The Chakra Activation where four spiritual types lead us in. laying down in the far end by the gong I get cozy and close my eyes in preparation to take this all in.
Picture this; A sweaty bald man tiptoeing over you with a drum, as they beat it right over your head you feel your brain pulsating jumping around whatever space in your skull you may have, next thing you know the lady next to the gong hits it, it crashes and the vibrations scrape against your bones, another dude creeping around with a didgeridoo, the bass of it making your organs quiver and to top it off another chick burning a bundle of sage, waving it into your nostrils, a total interstellar experience via organic frequencies.
Meeting with my friends I find myself in front of the Mind Melt stage, to Junior Boys playing for a crowd of fans swaying to their vibrant melodies. Mesmerized by the visual display in the back, consisting of surreal cityscapes making it easy to be entranced while gazing at the stage. I end my night here.
Its early in the day, Driving out to Wynwood listening to my radio, 90.5 WVUM is streaming music off stage 3 which I was hoping to be at, I was at least able to tune into Denudes playing the last ten minutes of their set via airwaves.
Rushing to the gate I go through the usual pat down, sheepishly smiling as the guard makes me take my bowl out of my pocket, probably thinking it was some weapon of murder, I go on unbothered and rush over to the action. After a bit of a sprint I’m sitting there in the iiipoints bus that was painted by Miami’s Brian Butler.
Surfs up, time to smoke up. The Mo’Booty Band takes the stage; they’re a surf rock band with a darker twist, surf noir fits the description well. Alex’s guitar chirping and wailing as Monica’s bass shakes the bus accompanied by Cody’s drumming crashing down like a wave. These tunes are heavy, swelling with darkness, disturbing to most but would be lullabies for creatures of the deep.
Next up on that stage is Similar Prisoners, time to take it to the next dimension with these psychedelic tunes. Ever since I first heard them play I can’t help but think they sound like Kevin Parker/Tame Impala, sorry… * Check out their EP False Flags, a few months old now, and also a good listen!*
Walking to Main Frame in anticipation to see Denzel Curry and the place is packed, the air is thick with smoke mixed with carcinogens and marijuana, people are hyped and there is no way to deter the emotion being emitted by them.
Denzel comes on stage to Metallica’s ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ foreshadowing how the energy of the set will play out. “Three, two one, go!” the bass drowns out his voice people jumping around in numb bliss, a mosh pit opens up, more jumping and shoving, I just love seeing this kind of energy being exerted at whatever kind of show. The set was nonstop energy and closing off with ‘Threatz’ leading into ‘Ultimate’ left the crowd absolutely exhausted.
After the set I was waiting for Earl Sweatshirt to on, time goes on and wait a minute, that’s not Earl… What? Trick Daddy is playing? I scramble through my guide to see if the time was wrong, and no… god dammit Trick Daddy is filling in for Earl? Man… to think the festival was slowly getting better as the days passed but they hit us with this shit? Sure Trick Daddy is good but c’mon, I could watch him perform at a strip club nearby if I really wanted to. How often does Earl come around these parts? Fuck. Well that’s that huh. I guess I’ll go home.
All in all, iiipoints had its ups and downs, the first day was a mess, a total turn off having bands play before the concert was open to the public, the second day was alright, although lapalux canceled as well; the day played out much better, third was going well until everything halted at Earl Sweatshirt… The setting was great, the interactive installations from NASA were a fun and somewhat educational way to entertain folks, the vaporwave room was awesome providing an immersive setting for performances.
A vast food selection with both vegetarian and not, which is a pleasant change from typical festival food like fries and chicken tenders, shit beer though. The fest reimbursed folks with giving them a free pass for Sunday if they bought a Friday pass, a good way to make up for the people who came solely for an artist that were ultimately disappointed. Seeing locals play on the same stage as international acts is uplifting and makes me proud to see it happen.