We returned to Grand Central Miami on Wednesday and Thursday of Miami Music Week for back-to-back nights of HARD Fest Miami. Hard Presents, best known for their summer ‘HARD Summer Festival’ in Los Angeles, as well as the notorious ‘Holyship! Festival’, brought two nights of great music to the venue.
Day 1 of HARD Miami this year featured a house heavy lineup, while Day 2 was dubbed “Rump Shaker” with much heavier, bass music artists on the lineup.
Although each day of HARD Miami featured artists of very different genres, there was one thing consistent across the board: a room filled with people who came to listen and dance to great music. Prepare to get HARD.
The first day of HARD Miami set the bar high right off the bat with two back-to-back sets. The first featured AC Slater B2B Amtrac, and the next set featured Route 94 B2B Secondcity. These first two B2B sets fueled the ever-growing crowd, and it did not take long for us to realize it was going to be yet another hot, sweaty night at Grand Central (our third in as many days).
Shiba San, supported by the Dirtybird and AMINE & Dance Cuff labels, was the next act to grace the stage, as well as the first solo set of the night. Shiba San brought his future house, ghetto funk sound to Grand Central and effortlessly mixed house tracks, hip-hop vocals, and funky sounds together into an eccentric, proverbial pill that would make anyone who took it dance, dance, dance. We particularly loved how he dropped remixes and tweaks of his hit song, “OKAY”, throughout his set.
Following in the steps of Shiba San were Gangsta-House pioneers Amine Edge & Dance, who wasted no time getting the crowd dancing to their groovy house sound that also heavily features hip-hop sounds and vocals. Amine Edge & Dance were a much welcomed edition to the Day 1 Hard Miami lineup, and we are glad to have finally gotten the chance to see these notorious G-House DJs.
We were quickly reminded that we were not in Philadelphia anymore as 2AM came and went on our watch and there were still plenty of artists left to go. While we love our home city of Philadelphia, we couldn’t have been happier to be in Miami with Cajmere, Maya Jane Coles, Destructo & Tchami all left to perform.
If you have ever had the pleasure of seeing Destructo before, you know that he brings the party with him wherever he goes. Fresh off the release of his ‘West Coast’ EP, which featured collaborations with rappers such as YG, Too $hort, Kurupt, Ty Dolla $ign and Warren G, Destruco brought his hip-hop infused house sounds to the South Beach crowd. As one of the coolest characters in the entire EDM industry, as well as the owner of HARD Presents, it is always cool seeing him throw down. You would be hard pressed (pun slightly intended) to find an executive at any other promotion company that can do what Destructo does.
Following Destructo was the house music mainstay, Tchami, who we have to give the honor of best set of the night (Destructo was a close second). Grand Central only got sweatier and hotter as the night went on, becoming almost unbearable at times. The number of shirtless dudes continued to grow.
It was cool to see fellow French national, DJ Snake, show up to support Tchami and hear his set. Seeing someone like DJ Snake, who wasn’t playing at the show but just hanging out backstage, was a prime example of the type of things you see at shows during Miami Music Week (that you would never see at a show in your home city).
While the music was great, and overall we had an awesome time, we had to call Day 1 of Hard Miami early, as the venue had gotten unbearably hot and humid and we had an early morning the next day. Regardless of the early departure, we were eager to get back to Grand Central the next night to see what Night 2 of Hard Miami, Rump Shaker, had in store for us.
We returned (for the 4th night in a row) to Grand Central Miami for Day 2 of HARD Miami, Rump Shaker edition. Night 2 featured veteran heavy-weights Knife Party and Zeds Dead headlining, newcomers such as Jauz, hip-hop producer/DJs such as Salva, and talented artists Crookers, Hunter Siegel, Nina Las Vergas, Carmada, and Wax Motif sprinkled in for good measure.
It took very little time for Grand Central to once again turn into an unbearably hot sweat-box, but with a plethora of good music being dropped, and with both Knife Party and Zeds Dead (amongst others) left to perform, we sucked it up and tried to enjoy ourselves as much as we possibly could in a room that caused instant perspiration. The music really was that good, so we decided to perspire instead of retire.
Salva was one of the first sets of the night that really stood out for us, as the talented producer/DJ (with massive collaborations with artists such as Kanye West, Big Sean and RL Grime) dropped a hip-hop heavy, Rump Shaking set. Following Salva was one of our favorite newcomers to the scene, the Buygore backed artist, Jauz. Jauz is a DJ who effortlessly changes from genre to genre during a set, mixing in everything from his signature wobbly future-house sound to traditional dubstep bangers, hip-hop beats, and even tropical house. Jauz played one our favorite sets of the entire week, and we were left with a strong desire to discover the names of a bunch of unreleased tracks he played, especially the dubstep heavy remix to ‘Feel the Volume’ (a possible Skrillex collaboration).
Zeds Dead, one of the two headliners of the night, were the next artist to hit the stage. Just like every night so far at Grand Central, it was like a tropical jungle inside when Zeds Dead hit the decks. Things only got worse from there, but once again, the music was making the sweat pouring off your face seem worth it.
We have seen Zeds Dead countless times and the Canadian duo has yet to disappoint us. Playing classic songs of theirs such as “By Your Side” and “Rudeboy”, as well as newer work like their Oliver Heldens collaboration “You Know”, their Jack U “Take U There” remix, and “Hadouken”, the bass dons played a set that nicely showed off their extensive catalog of work.
Up next were the second headliners of the night, the one and only Knife Party. With their recent album release ‘Abandon Ship’, Knife Party has solidified themselves as one of the hottest DJ acts around. Although Knife Party was first heavily associated with the dub-step sound, they have expanded their sound remarkably as time as gone on, with electro-heavy and even house tracks on their most recent album.
The electro-heavy set that Knife Party played may not have been what we had assumed we’d get from the bass-heavy artists, but you know what they say about assumptions. It was still a set that we thoroughly enjoyed. We also loved hearing the remix to their hit-song, “Internet Friends”, which they clearly made specifically for their show at Hard Grand Central. The famous machine voice that says “You blocked me on Facebook, and now you are going to die” (just before the drop) was changed up to say something along the lines of, “Omg, its 2015, I can’t believe we still have to play this fucking song, maybe we should get off our ass and make a remix…something that goes like ‘You are at Hard Miami and are about to get fucked up’”. We wish more artists had put in that little bit of work to make some MMW specific remixes.
It had been a long day in Miami once again, so we left HARD Miami Day 2 and called it a night just as Knife Party was finishing their set. Of course, this was only after not one, but two nights of non-stop dancing, a ton of sweating, and some great, great times. We now have a soft spot for HARD Miami and it will definitely be an event we put on our schedule next year for Miami Music Week.
[Photo credit: Steve Garfinkel]
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You can view the full set list and an expanded photo gallery below (click images to enlarge):