Ranking The Top Ten Sets From This Past Weekend at Ultra Miami 2023
Last week in Miami was "Music Week". It started out as a pre-SXSW week long event that saw music industry people from all walks and genres coming together to network, conference, and seminar. And there were awesome parties at night.
That was like 20 years ago.
Somehow that evolved into what it is today which is a week long shit show in all neighborhoods in Miami. Capped off with the Ultra Music Festival which takes place in Biscayne Park in the middle of fucking downtown and is one of the craziest festivals you've ever seen in terms of visuals, fireworks, pyro, lasers, and sound volume. It's pretty insane.
I sadly was not able to attend Ultra this year. I was in and out on Friday accepting an award I am still shocked and humbled that we actually won. I caught some of Friday's sets at the fest but I just didn't have it in me to stay out late (aka I can't and don't do drugs. and I'm getting old), it was just too crazy for me being sober, and I had an early flight to catch Saturday morning.
Luckily though being the team player he is, Dave held it down as Barstool Backstage correspondent, boots on the ground -
And our faithful intern Caleb was also there holding it down. Here is a combination of his up-close-and-personal rankings of the sets and mine watching on youtube and listening on SoundCloud including the sets themselves.
Debate in the comments.
The start of the festival season has begun once again around the world with the firing of the starting gun that is Ultra. While this year's lineup was full of some of the biggest GOATs in modern electronic music, some sets seemed to fall short while other artists shocked the mainstage with new and improved sounds and mixes contrary to their historical style.
Here's Barstool Backstage's top ten from the weekend.
10. Tchami & Oliver Heldens
This one is for the deep house fans. While this set to a lot of people could be seen as lackluster for a lot of mainstage style fans, these two deep house legends playing B2B is perfect for anyone looking for a funkier laid back mix.
9. Swedish House Mafia
While legends in their own right in dance music history (which frankly is what earns them a spot on this list) their set was… same old SHM. While the same old works for SHM, it doesn’t push them higher up the list at a festival that ends Miami music week, a place to try new sounds and expand the electronic music horizons. Regardless, the set was seamless and the production magnificent. Somehow something still just felt missing. Not to mention they went on 20 minutes late and then blamed them getting cut off early on other DJ’s sets going over lol.
The current king of Bass and Riddim put on a hell of a show. Nothing unexpected but plenty of fun mixes and headbangers. Overall a phenomenal hour of screeching dubstep and stage-crushing bass.
Afrojack is back, and this set seems to have taken a dive off the deep end from his usual mainstage performances and sound. Afrojack leaned into a harder tech/bass house-infused electro set that has a huge payoff. Not to mention he saved almost all of his pyro and fireworks for the end of his set which made the entire stage look like a flashbang went off. Fantastic.
Always a killer set from this goon. Great mixes of House, Future Bass, and everything you expect to hear at a mainstage set. Always nice to see a real instrument or two appear in sets.
(Sidebar - check out our interview with Gryffin if you missed it before.)
5. Nicky Romero
One of the OGs of progressive house has come back once again but this time he’s leaning heavy into his tech roots. A lot of great edits in this one too, but what would you expect from one of Europe’s greatest EDM mainstays.
One of EDMs fastest growing acts, Alok did not disappoint. A smash set of insane edits and new IDs, Alok blew up his set. Deep, groovy, and hard it’s a solid listen for the car or afters.
(This link got taken down, if anybody has can you send please? I can't find anywhere.)
3. Jonas Blue & Sam Feldt B2B (Endless Summer)
Wow, just the best version of what you would want from a summer set/playlist. Great vibe all around. Some B2B sets can feel forced but this set felt naturally, perfect flow start to finish.
2. Martin Garrix
Yes it’s Martin Garrix but man does he never cease to impress. With a fat catalog of electro bangers from his personal label and armed to the teeth with his own hits and edits, this set will not disappoint fans of all edm genres.
1. Eric Prydz (Holo)
Nothing short but stellar. While there may be a lack of top 40 mashups that could bore some more casual festival goers this one is for EDM fanatics. Eric Prydz gave nothing short of one of the best electronic sets to date. Coupled with the stunning visuals of his Holo tour and all of its effects. This was the one, the big set that made me mad I wasn’t there to experience insane heat and sweaty frat bros. 10/10
1.B. - Dante has Alesso at #1 based on him playing some of the greatest EDM tracks of all time basically for an hour straight and closing out with his greatest contribution to the genre ever, "The Calling".