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Go BackMIAMI 2004 REVIEW: DON’T TALK JUST KISS – And the award for best celebrity BJ goes to…

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Like Ibiza, the Miami Winter Music thingummy is so successful it’s even got its own posse of haters. Typically this is a sign a scene is in rude good health. It’s the tension between the underground and the overground that drives all artistic enterprises, in this case very fast.

Some local players, like Danny Dominguez from Infiltrate, do good business by directly stating their opposition to "all the corny, badge-holding type of events and all the cornball acts that come through at WMC".

However it’s the raison d'être of alternative festival M3 and events like Dominguez's to showcase the new and overlooked, while the WMC focuses on the big international brands – the Chemical Brothers and the Audio Bullys headlining at Ultra, Pacha, Circo Loco and Zenith from Ibiza (see below for interview with Roberto), and the Dancestar Awards which this year included celebrity in the form of rockers Perry Farrell (pictured below, with his wife Etty), Tommy Lee canoodling with Naomi Campbell and the poor little rich girl with the artful fellatio technique Paris Hilton.
Top White Isle pr and Ibiza Voice correspondent Sophie Macintosh was right there on the red carpet, and sent back this, her acerbic take on a week of winter warmers:

Sophie: There was a time not so long ago America was seen as Europe’s backwater cousin in terms of dance music. Poor old US of A still stuck out in the back of beyond waving glo-sticks at Oakey and not knowing their Alkan from their Vulcano. We could all feel a little bit superior back east knowing that like a particularly sneaky game of Top Trumps, we’d nicked their David, Frankie and Danny without them realizing and left them with some overused Sasha and a load of commercial trance parties (no offence Godskitchen/Gatecrasher).
Well, like little cousins tend to, this one grew up. Taking one look at Miami last week I’d say that she did more than that. She grew 4 inches ditched the glo sticks for Gucci and is now sporting the music equivalent of a mullet and Chloe shades.

South Beach from Thursday to Thursday was a roadblock. The conference was held 2 weeks early this year and didn’t completely coincide with that wonderful American institution Spring Break which made not a blind bit of difference to the volume of traffic and people. As Ibiza local Dave from Nomad Agency put it “this year is mental – it’s as if every American with a turntable has turned up and decided to do a party!”
The sheer volume of parties, launches, people to see and djs to listen to was enough to make this girl reach for her comfy flip-flops. But with pure determination in the name of research and hedonism we covered as many as we could, so that you don’t have to – aren’t we good?

Every bar, hotel, club and terrace got turned over to promoters and the most encouraging thing was how many of them were American. Ibiza staples Pacha, Made In Italy and Zenith still flew the flag high, and the British labels were doing their thing but a quick look at the majority of flyers showed a thorough championing of all things electronic from the US corner. Websites, magazines, record labels and promoters all staked their claim on South Beach to show us Europeans how they do it over the pond. And even if the artists were British – Chemical Brothers, Audio Bullys - it was the US label – Astralwerks – that threw the party that everyone talked about. A breath of fresh air and optimism for all those scaremongers in the doldrums back home. Classic Records, Godskitchen, Type and even Ibiza’s Circo Loco all hooked up with local connections to produce some real international bashes. And about time too we say.

This year however was definitely the year of the pool party, forget the conference – and believe me many people did – anybody and everybody that you wanted to see was hanging out by a pool somewhere. Tons of bikini babes, overweight music execs and more than a few burnt red noses – Mr Digweed the factor 25’s in the post. Special mention has to go to the Defected Crew who are surely still riding high after their Ibiza season last year. Camping out poolside at the National on the same day and time as the Dancestar Awards wouldn’t be the brightest choice you’d have thought, but with Sandy Riviera, Junior Jack, Kenny Dope, Miguel Migs, Bob Sinclair, Jazzy Jeff, Roger Sanchez and many more all ‘In The House’ they really couldn’t go wrong. We could barely tear ourselves away from the daiquiris and the cute boys in Speedos! It was like Bora Bora without the sand. Good on ya! boys and look forward to seeing back out on the isle this summer.

But tear ourselves away we did for the Dancestar Awards that were also taking place that afternoon. Forget the Oscars. There was no red carpet more glamorous than this baby in 2004. All us clubbers, more used to seeing our djs sweating behind a perspex screen (leave all your filthy minds out if this one please) got a real treat. Paul Van Dyk in Prada, Carl Cox looking dapper, even Tommy Lee made an effort. Truly a night of stars and superstars, all keen to show their support for the industry’s annual pat on its own proverbial back. Unlike a certain headlining young lady whose efforts were a little more selfishly motivated – asked if she were surprised by her winning the ‘Best Celebr(a)ity DJ AwardParis Hilton’s vacuous answer was simply ‘oh no. They told me I’d won last week, otherwise I wouldn’t have come!’
Hmmm. I’d know who I’d be leaving off the guest-list next year. Surely a credible business like this doesn’t need such pandering to the ‘Heat’ magazine massive?

Blips and bimbos aside the after show party saw Dancestar really provide one of 2004’s essential events. A 400 capacity venue with both Frankie Knuckles then Danny Tenaglia playing classic house sets is a surefire recipe for success. The big men threw down wonderful eclectic mixes with Prince, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson all getting a look in and showing us how really old we all are.

In fact the 80s and classic house were a big part of conference this year. Erol Alkan and 2ManyDJs mashed up acid house admirably at Soho Lounge for ‘Revolver’, and DJs Are Not Rockstars flew the electro/retro flag at the Return To New York bash. But if I hear another big US house jock bang together Blondie and a load of mainstream nonsense I swear I’ll poke my eye out with a white stillie. I know these guys have never heard of Ritzy, but there’s a fine line between what’s cool to regurgitate and what’s not. What was Junior Sanchez thinking of playing Phil Collins at Mansion? Move along with the 80s revival please, there should be plenty of new music out there by now.

Having said that there were some blinding sets to be heard and among those should be mentioned Sneak at Mansion, Josh Wink at his own Ovum party, the incredible Masters At Work who blew everyone away at Opium Garden.
Carl Cox said that Danny Howells played the best set of the week at B.E.D. and Pete Tong checked Nic Fancuilli as the one to watch for this coming year.
As for hits to look out for, who knows? We were all too busy/drunk to notice the actual tunes, so we’ve come up with our own 5 Best Records instead.

Best Acceptance SpeechLesley Wright claiming her DJ Mag Best Publication Award at the WMC Awards in the name of Johnny Walker (the whisky not the DJ). Stunned silence from the non-drinking non-Scottish members of the audience.
Best Impersonation of an Ibiza clubBash, for having a perfect replica DC10 terrace (pre extension) although with nicer décor.
Best Taxi Ride – a 45 minute trip with Princess Superstar and crew going back and forth across the causeway after getting the address of a club totally wrong, with a psycho driver playing and singing along to Egyptian folk music piercing loud. Better than any nightclub!
Best Case of Mistaken IdentityMike from the Cuban Brothers backstage at the Dancestar Awards being grabbed by a Spanish speaking TV interviewer who had no idea he was only pretending to be Cuban.

Also in attendance at Miami, were the Zenith boys Roberto and Ernesto, despite telling us earlier they weren't gonna go.

Roberto: I change my mind because I got a very strong relationship with a couple of clubs who have been in touch and they wanted I go down. Actually I did only one, with Mint, who is a club that’s really kicking in Miami, the owner is more of a friend of mine that a person who I work with so I wanna meet these people and also have the chance to see one more time how things going there. In fact I say in the last interview that it’s good to go on holiday, but for business is not really too easy. Everybody is agreed with me. You are not gonna make new contacts you are gonna meet the people that you know, because the place where is the convention, Hotel Radison I think, nobody go there anymore.

But everybody still like Miami because it’s a week where there lots of party happening, very nice party, beautiful girls around. It’s a nice place, the clubs have a big evolution, you don’t get bored in Miami anyway. But what I can say about the party I did at Mynt on Thursday, the closing day of the conference, was very nice, still people had energy, you know. Junior Sanchez play. We go over time till 5.30, we led me fight with the manager, but the people was happy. I’m happy at the end I go, because the people there treat us very good and more than anything we go for them.

The owner of Mynt is Roberto Kahn, he has at the moment the best public of Miami. I’m not the only one say this, everybody agree that this club has the best customer in the beach - Jennifer Lopez, lots of very famous people. For me the best I tell you was Mynt. Mynt all week and Space Miami with Deep Dish.

What I think was that the party of Danny Tenaglia which has been for a few years the party that everybody was speaking about, was really nothing special. And Space open the Monday anyway and make three times more people than Danny Tenaglia. I have nothing against Tenaglia, I am just saying what I saw there. I can say that I love Deep Dish and I am happy they kicking and they are the number one because we know them since many many years. We were the first promoters to bring them in Spain. Everybody say we crazy because we pay 6,000 euro for them, and now everybody’s paying 25,000, 30,000 euro and they fill up the club so I am happy. Go for Deep Dish. Ciao.

Ernesto: I only see the airport.

Words by Sophie MacIntosh & Roberto Zenith Ibiza