In true Swedish House Mafia fashion, when a venue or an event is not large enough to accommodate their immense fan-base, they create their own – Masquerade Motel. The Swedish trio returned to Miami for a third time to bring back highly acclaimed Masquerade Motel. The demand for Masquerade Motel (or Swedish House Mafia) in general has reached an all-time high in the last couple of years. Their events sell out in less than 20 minutes, sometimes less (I can testify as I failed tremendously at nabbing tickets to their Madison Square Garden show). The demand for this year’s Masquerade Motel was so high that the trio decided to extend the event, this time running for two days instead of one. The line-up was exactly the same both days; it just gave those that missed the opportunity to get tickets for Friday to attend on Saturday.
The crowd, as expected at any Swedish House Mafia function was quite zany. There were women in costumes, from feathers & knee high furry boots to bedazzled faces and body paint. There were hippies, drunks, stoners, muscle heads, young people, old people, little people, foreigners, and a plethora of others that made me feel like I was at Epcot in Disney World. I wasn’t even fully into the venue and several people had already mumbled gibberish to me, so it was safe to assume I arrived just in time. More than half of the attendees had fluorescent/neon wayfarers on, as the sun and Miami heat were not being too kind this past weekend, it was scorching to say the least. There were several bars; all of them overcrowded with ridiculously long lines, but to my surprise guest were being serviced pretty quickly which was impressive considering the demand for beverages.
As I got acquainted with my surroundings, I approached the stage where it seemed to be intermission, but someone made a poor choice to play elevator music in-between DJ sets, which was quite the awkward transition. Nonetheless, everyone kept themselves occupied. Calvin Harris took the stage and opened with his chart topping track “Ready for the Weekend,” and right as the height of the beat dropping, the music cut off – it was an audio malfunction, and the ultimate tease. The crowd screamed “no!” but he recovered quickly and took the beat back to the very beginning. He dropped hit after hit, including “Awooga,” “Flashback,” “Feel So Close,” “Bounce ft. Kelis,” and his recent production for Rihanna, “We Found Love.” The energy in the crowd was amazing and consistent throughout Calvin Harris’ entire set, from start to finish. An intermission followed and a large white curtain rose to the top of the stage, everyone knew what was next.
Visuals began to flash against the curtain, and the crowd immediately went into a frenzy and ran up to the stage – a sea of camera’s and cell phones arose. The curtain dropped, pyrotechnics triggered and Swedish House Mafia began a phenomenal set with their latest “Greyhound.” I think Swedish House Mafia’s goal was to ensure that everyone was deaf after leaving the show, as the music was so loud and the bass was so heavy, you could literally feel it in your body (not complaining however). They dropped track after track, each transition better than the one before it.
One thing I did notice about this year’s Masquerade Motel in comparison to last year was the simplicity of it all. Last year the production was very theatrical, and there was a lot going on which was distracting me from the show (i.e. Dancers, a fashion show, professional cameras hovering over the crowd, etc). While that experience is definitely necessary for everyone’s first Masquerade Motel show, I felt this show took it back to the basics, a stage and the music. The show left me mind blown and it was hard to even keep track of what was being played as the show consumed me. There were enough explosions, steam, fireballs, fireworks, and lasers for a lifetime – Masquerade Motel has to be “the greatest show on earth.” Steve Angello, known for his antics could be seen standing on top of the railing that encompassed the DJs, getting the crowd hype by jumping and clapping his hands. The DJs bobbed simultaneously as the crowd jumped from start to finish. The climax of the show came when the trio asked the crowd to sit down on the ground, the entire park following directions without the slightest hesitation. A climatic beat followed, and at the drop of the track the entire crowd jumped up enthusiastically. Just when everyone thought it was over, Swedish House Mafia closed the show with their monumental private mix of Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Other side,” and gave the audience the perfect ending to an already flawless show.