EDM trio kick off explosive two-day fest at Miami Music Week with help from heavy-hitting openers like Thomas Gold and Calvin Harris.
By Akshay Bhansali
MIAMI — On Friday, Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello — the trio also known as Swedish House Mafia — gave fans at Miami Music Week an event to remember. Their two-hour-plus spectacle at Grand Central Park featured stadium-style house music with a backdrop of pyrotechnics and fireworks.
Add to that the dazzling graphics bouncing off five enormous LED screens, and it was clear that SHM had accomplished an impressive high mark that won’t be easy match on Saturday night (March 24), when the event kicks off its second day. MTV News caught up with the Swedes just before their set and they talked to us about the long road to their massively successful Masquerade Motel mini-festival.
“We’ve done it again,” Angello raved. “For [us], to go out there and enjoy our own party, which is something like this [in scale], it’s amazing to be here.” Last year’s tented, single-day Masquerade party on South Beach “was amazing,” Angello added, “And the year before that was amazing; we’ve come a very long way.”
Lined with palm trees, tall office buildings and residential apartments, Grand Central Park had the vibe of being isolated from the rest of Miami, and that made a party filled with 10,000 SHM fans feel intimate. But before the trio even took the stage, a spectacular lineup of opening acts did more than warm up the crowd. Asked about the all-stars preceding them, Seb, Ax and Steve beamed with pride.
“We have NO_ID,” Axwell said of the Dutch duo newly signed to his Axtone Records imprint. “We just think that they have a really interesting sound, which is kind of like chunky-groovy-sexy house, so it complements what we are doing very well. Otto Knows is also here.”
“[Otto is] a young kid from Sweden, one of my really close friends,” Ingrosso chimed in. “He’s like my little brother. We are starting to make music and he just released his first single ever.”
“Thomas Gold is here,” Axwell added. “Alesso, a guy called Calvin Harris.”
“Yeah, I don’t know if you know him,” Ingrosso chuckled with a knowing nod to Harris’ accolades on the EDM scene and, most recently, for his work with Rihanna.
“Yeah, he’s another guy we found,” Angello joked.
“No, Rihanna found him!” Axwell laughed. “He’s always been very interesting and doing creative stuff.”
By the time the Swedes took their positions behind the decks, it was clear 10,000 screaming fans were ready to take the party to the next level. Just as they’ve done on their last two Stateside Masquerades, they launched into the organ-laden edit of Ax & Sebastian’s “Together”; they followed that with their latest hit single, “Greyhound,” marking the song’s drop with a fireworks display.
What followed was a clever series of mixes of some of the most popular anthems of the past six months. Among them were Axwell’s edit of Michael Calfan’s “Resurrection” mixed into Fedde Le Grand’s remix of “Paradise,” and “Antidote,” which was given a pyro burst. The crowd went mental when Dirty South and Usual Suspects’ “Walking Alone” was blended perfectly with SHM’s “Miami 2 Ibiza.”
“That’s right, Miami, it is straight appreciation for ‘Miami 2 Ibiza,’ ” Ax told the crowd. “We realize there are a lot of parties this week and we definitely feel honored that you’ve come to us this week!”
SHM also treated fans to set staples, including “Troll”; Nari & Milani’s “Atom”; Ingrosso, Alesso and Ryan Tedder’s “Calling (Lose My Mind)”; Deniz Koyu’s remix of “Dangerous”; and SHM’s remix of Coldplay’s “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall.”
“Are you making new friends?” Axwell asked the partygoers. “Maybe some from the opposite gender? Maybe falling in love? For sure, we are falling in love. The Swedish House Mafia loves you guys. Thank you for coming down!”
But one of the most unexpected gems of the night came at the very end, when fans got to hear a cook-up Axwell told MTV News in our pre-set chat that he couldn’t wait to play: The SHM/Laidback Luke collabo “Leave the World Behind” (featuring Deborah Cox) was merged with Knife Party’s remix of Porter Robinson’s “Unison.” That mashup was received with a roar from the crowd as the high-energy dance party became another one for the books.
NO_ID, Third Party and AN21 join Alesso and Calvin Harris as openers for Swedish House Mafia on the second (and final) day of the Masquerade Motel on Saturday (March 24).
Miami Music Week is going down, and MTV News is on the ground! Check back all week as we report from EDM’s biggest parties, bringing the latest news from your favorite electronic dance music stars!