On day two of the Ultra Music Festival, festival-goers enjoyed cooler temperatures as the musical offerings heated things up. The crowds were in high spirits, rocking hard to all the beats emanating from the PA systems.
A thing new times I couldn’t help but notice how quieter the sound coming from each of the stages was. Maybe better soundproofing or a compromise with city and downtown dwellers was in play, but even with the perceived lower sound volume, the volume was loud enough to hear every detail crisp. (A downtown resident said new times he agreed noise was less of an issue this year.)
Here are some highlights from day two of Ultra Music Festival 2022.
Before going on stage, Afrojack told new times his set would include “good vibes and lots of new music. It’s Ultra,” he said. “All the fans are here from all over the world, everyone is watching. There are a lot more rolling sets than just jumping. In my set, there will be jumping, but there will also definitely be rolling beats.” True to his word, Afrojack put together a memorable set that blended hip-hop, dubstep and EDM into a collaborative journey that audiences took with them. Songs from his set included fan favorites such as “No Beef” featuring Steve Aoki; “Give Me Everything” featuring Pitbull, Nayer and Ne-Yo; and “Ten Feet Tall”, with Steven Wrabel. Mary Gibson
With a quick fix, the Megastructure’s audio system was back in a jaw-dropping full display. That left Carl Cox, who debuted his hybrid live set on Saturday, on his own to deliver the techno that captivated a generation. Cox bulldozed the speakers in seemingly impossible ways. The bass boomed, the hats flickered and an atmosphere of driving rain fell on the crowd. The hybrid setup gave Cox the luxury of adding new drum patterns and experimenting more with effects. A sample of Saint-Germain’s “Rose Rouge” – “I want you to get together, I want you to get together” – paired with sticky bass at your side for one of the many memorable moments from his three-hour set. When the knees tightened in exhaustion, Cox blew a ship’s horn before kicking the bass back up – and we all left feeling refreshed. Albert-Albert
Although he started as a house DJ in Paris, DJ Snake opened this year with a new sound, which included much more brutal dubstep and electronic sounds to rock the crowd. He skimmed through classics such as “Turn Down For What” and “Get Low,” but one of the most talked about songs from his set was an unknown number that featured an Algerian melody as a nod to his heritage. As the new song played, the DJ filmed the crowd holding Algerian flags and vibrating to his new sound. Mary Gibson
Fresh off his set on the World Stage on Friday, Emery took a break from the thrilling trance music to unveil his emotionally driven live analog set on the live stage. Equipped with synths, a grand piano, a drummer and a host of vocalists, Emery brought honeysuckle melodies with each song that sometimes sounded like a list of slow dance ballroom tracks. Emery’s analog set featured classic trance-laden synth hits and loaded build-ups, but also incorporated an appropriate number of live instruments. He played a guitar solo at one point and hit the piano keys at another – although there may have been some technical difficulties. “Oh my God, that fucking mic. Is it finally working?” he seized towards the end of the set. He started to talk a bit about the inspiration for the project and the anxiety that came with it as he lazily played the piano. Emery featured guest vocalist Emma Hewitt for their joint track “Take Everything”, demonstrating the meaning behind each song. “I’m really grateful for [Emma]. She gave me an incredible amount of encouragement, and that led to this song as well.” Albert-Albert
It’s been nine years since the French DJ last stepped on the Ultra stage, and the seats on the live stage were packed. Described as “euphoric” by one mega-fan, Madeon’s set took her audience to new heights. He literally hung above the stage for his final songs as the screens beamed his silhouette and the crowd sang along with every word. Songs included “Shelter” featuring Porter Robinson and the closest, “All My Friends”. Mary Gibson
The Dutch DJ/producer has managed to inject tech-house elements into the EDM fortress that is Ultra’s main stage. During his set, Helden stayed true to his Rotterdam roots and blew the crowd away with technical elements and familiar vocals, including Indeep’s classic “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life”. The crowd picked up what Heldens was dropping and replaced the fist pumps with snake hips. “Are you ready for a good time, Miami?” he shouted, entering the masses with a solid bass as he explored the different avenues of house music. At one point, he dropped a deep remix of a Billie Eilish song that could have played well anywhere on the festival grounds. The 27-year-old Heldeep Record label boss has proven his musical bona fides time and time again with an uncanny knack for moving the main stage to a different beat. Albert-Albert
Hailing from West Palm Beach and New York, the duo that is Sofi Tukker have taken the stage live in the foothills of their upcoming album, Wet tennis, which is slated for release on April 29. It has become apparent that the two take a live set seriously. “When we play a live set, we take out all the stages,” said Sophie Hawley-Weld new times earlier. “We have amazing dancers who will inject a lot of joy.” His counterpart, Tucker Halpern, added that he thought their set would “just be fun, good vibes.” And it was fun. The stage was designed in lush tropical landscapes that gave some color to the otherwise concrete foundation. Hawley-Weld, equipped with a Gibson Flying V, performed brilliantly while singing the discography. Halpern, behind his gear and in front of the crowd, got everyone excited. “We debuted this setup live at last Coachella,” Halpern said. “We have a big sculpture – we call it ‘the book tree’. There are screens all around it, and when you hit it with drumsticks it plays different samples.”
Many performers are joined by special guests, but the duo enlisted the help of a spontaneous friendship. “These guys did a flash mob on our show once,” Halpern recalled. “We didn’t understand what was going on. It was like we were watching a show.” Throughout the set, the duo dropped their discography with songs like “Original Sin” and “Drinkee” before ending with the gritty but luscious track “Purple Hats” accompanied by the dancers. Halpern thrust her hips, Hawley-Weld shredded, and everyone on stage ended with a synchronized dance. “I feel like everything we did was because we accidentally surprised ourselves with something really delicious,” Hawley-Weld said beforehand. “We’re intentional, but we’re open to things that inspire us that we had no idea existed.” Albert-Albert
Tale of us
Every second of sound is precious to the Megastructure. A set of just 90 minutes can get an automatic veto from the crowd if silence usurps the high-octane techno. But when Italian duo Tale of Us take to the decks, letting the noise dissipate might be their most powerful weapon. The Life & Death label bosses created a sonic mysticism throughout their set with long extended breaks, grinding synth crescendos and guillotine-style drops. The hats shattered like shattered glass, and at times the duo introduced melting vocals to accompany the lilac-colored LEDs and punchy bass. Echoes and ambient textures gave a chilling effect, demonstrating that a melodic techno set doesn’t need to put you to sleep – and, hey, it can even exceed 125 BPM. There is travel involved; it’s just a matter of what you want to do with it. Albert-Albert
“Let’s go, let’s get down to business,” began the set of Ultra king Tiësto himself. He’s scoured many fan-favorite DJs over the years, including “Levels” by the late Avicii, “More Than You Know” by Axwell & Ingresso, and even a fun remix of M83’s 2011 hit “Midnight City.” Known as “Mr. Ultra”, Tiësto used stunning visuals, pyrotechnic effects and fireworks to put on a show that live and virtual fans have rightly considered one of the best ever. This year. Mary Gibson