DJ Jelo, Pendulum, and Sts9
Ultra Music Festival
Bicentennial Park, Miami
Friday, March 25, 2011
Friday at the Ultra Music Festival was a mix of tent action, dubstep and gas masks.
Society Dome: DJ Jelo
electro/house DJ Jelo had one of the earlier sets on Friday at Root Society
Dome tent, which never seemed to fill to capacity. Dancing to techno music in a
mostly-enclosed tent during the hottest hours of the day may not seem ideal but
the few people who were dancing did not seem to mind being soaked in sweat.
Jelo is no first-timer to Ultra and his stage presence suggested he knew
exactly what this crowd needed. During his almost hour-long set he melded a
mix of low-frequency electronic beats that would escalate into full out
fist-pumping measures which made every fist-pump their way to the center of the
Australian/UK electronic drum and bass group Pendulum was one of the better
acts to appear on the massive main stage Friday night, following a short set by
UK sensation Tinie Tempah and a quite lackluster performance by Duran Duran.
The Main Stage area was packed; overflowing into the beer tents on both the
left and right of the stage -- containing the mass of people decked out in every
neon color under the freshly rising moon. Pendulum played several of their more
popular songs like "Blood Sugar" and "Propane Nightmares," which ignited
proverbial body spasms from the crowd. In addition to Pendulum's typical drum
and bass style they infiltrated their set with a little rock and heavy portions
electronic/instrumental jam band Sts9 from Santa Cruz, California, seemed to be one of
the lesser-known Live Stage headliners to play this year at Ultra. Big on the
"hippie" jam-band scene, when this group plays it is always expected
to see fans thrashing around no matter what. I was quite impressed Sts9 still
appeared on the lineup with the recent announcement of front man David Murphy's
battle with cancer -- they cancelled a number of shows on their early 2011 tour.
The band started off with "When the Dust Settles," a seemingly
perfect song for the amount of dust that was visible through their spectacular
light and laser display. Sound Tribe is known for playing songs that usually
last anywhere from six to fifteen minutes so in their hour long set they
managed to play roughly eight songs, including the oldie but goodie
"Evasive" and ending with an encore of "EHM." The theme of
the weekend was to dance and although the Live Stage was not the most packed
stage at the end of the night (Sts9's set overlapped with Tiësto and Carl Cox),
the crowd that was there was definitely in full-out dance mode.
Better than: Trying to hear the music coming from Ultra from 40 blocks away while waiting for a taxi that may or may not show up.
Sts9 drew in all the hippie types. Pendulum's crowd was people with yarn hair, furry boots, pacifiers, gas masks, rave paraphernalia.
Overheard at Sts9: "I've seen these guys 14 times. They're from South Florida." I'm pretty sure this person had no idea what they were talking about.