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III Points 2015 Festival Review: From Worst to Best

The future of Miami, Florida is bright and alive in Wynwood

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    Miami is obsessed with expansion. In fact, the city is number one in population growth for all of the United States. Pretty cool, right? So, what is the 305 doing right now to address this trend? It’s building: multiple skyscrapers and condominiums, the Perez Art Museum along with next summer’s Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, hell, there’s even a tunnel.

    Still, there’s a real nostalgic burden to seeing what used to make this city so great being replaced with something that’ll make the city even greater. Granted, that feeling is very counterproductive, but as the old neighborhoods make way for the new condominiums, it’s easy to weep. Case in point: Miami’s goldmine of a district, Wynwood.

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    Photo by Carlo Cavaluzzi

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    “Our vision is simple,” the developers of the area have previously insisted, “as one of the largest land owners in the district, we see it as our responsibility to continue the renaissance started by our predecessors and peers, creating a neighborhood catered to the creative class and cultivating Miami’s future as a cultural capital for Latin America.”

    Currently, there are plans to construct a 24-story condominium and a convention center around the area. And while the intention is to capitalize on the ensuing culture, there are those that fear it might squash it — enter III Points. Founded by David Sinopoli, the three-day festival thrives in Mana Wynwood and explores the intersections between art, music, and technology.

    intro gif III Points 2015 Festival Review: From Worst to Best

    Photo by Carlo Cavaluzzi

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    Over its three years of existence, the festival has accepted any and all obstacles Miami has thrown at it, from weather to relocation to budgeting — it doesn’t matter. This past weekend, however, III Points proved that Sinopoli and his community of cultural enthusiasts are hungry — starved even — at growing Miami, but only if the city on the sea can keep its soul and spirit.

    So, read on ahead and experience the weekend for yourself.

    –Phillip Roffman
    Staff Writer

    We’re Doomed

    Ghostface Killah + Doom

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    Photo by Carlo Cavaluzzi

    Remember that problem Doom had where he didn’t show up to his shows? Where he hired actors to sing into dead mics? Well, Doom found a solution to that problem: All he has to do is press play and have a large projector and a decent sized screen—trademark Best Buy shit.

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    Leading up to the festival, III Points presented Doom’s appearance as “a one-of-a-kind, interactive performance, where DOOM will appear from the other side of time, on a live screen.” What Miami received was a pre-recorded 40-minute video of Doom piecing a “mix” together, which was followed by a distorted Doom mask that may or may not be your next screensaver.

    doomstarks 0786 III Points 2015 Festival Review: From Worst to Best

    Photo by Carlo Cavaluzzi

    Interactive? Well, Doom did smoke a blunt, and hey, Ghostface Killah appeared. With fleeting minutes ahead of him, the Wu-Tang rapper introduced himself — “I just flew in to hang out with y’all real quick” — only to rush through a couple of hits like Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”.

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    Strangely enough, he didn’t say a word about his Doomstarks collaboration, but instead reminded us about the lawsuits surrounding his use of the “Iron Man Theme”, which felt unnecessary and wasted. But hey, he at least told us to say peace a few times. Isn’t that great?

    Needless to say, thank god for Bedside’s set. –Phillip Roffman

    Get This Guy a Director’s Chair

    Neon Indian

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    Photo by Kaela Chancey

    Early Friday afternoon, I spoke with Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo and how he interprets his albums. We were namely speaking about his latest release, Vega Intl. Night School, to which Palomo insisted that every song he adds to his catalogue isn’t just a song, but a piece of a larger film. They collectively create a natural progression from start to finish — a satisfying credit’s roll.

    Naturally, Palomo thinks of himself as a director of his own narratives, and he undoubtedly is. He’s well aware of where his sound needs to be and refuses to let up despite any nagging hiccups. Unfortunately, this methodology plagued his Friday night set at III Points, during which he continually walked off to the side of the stage to consult with the soundboard.

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    “We care way too much abut this show — so just give us a minute guys!” The patient Miami crowd gave him a handful, maybe more, and while he wound up unpacking a good portion of the new LP (though, he closed the set with “Deadbeat Summer” off 2009’s Psychic Chasms), Palomo would have been better off leaving the director’s chair backstage. –Phillip Roffman

    The Sweatiest and Stickiest

    Toro y Moi

    toroymoi 0879 III Points 2015 Festival Review: From Worst to Best

    Photo by Carlo Cavaluzzi

    As a Florida resident, we’re accustomed to the torture of heat and humidity in our everyday lives. This is because Florida really only has one season … summer. Having said that, Floridians tend to lower their standards for every activity because, frankly, nobody enjoys being sweaty or sticky. Yet, not even these nasty conditions could thwart Chazwick Bundick and co. — Toro y Moi rose to the occasion and crushed it, belting out nearly the entirety of their new album, What For?, with precision, grace, and a focus unlike most artists found at the Mind Melt stage. Fortunately, Florida’s also insanely bi-polar with its weather conditions, and so a surprising breeze soothed the crowd midway through the set. Unfortunately, the whole thing had to come to an end, despite the crowd’s demands for more. This prompted Bundick to announce: “I won’t be playing an encore, for real, thank you.” Ouch. –Carlo Cavaluzzi

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    My Body’s Tellin’ Me Yes

    Deaf Poets

    iiipoints deafpoets5 III Points 2015 Festival Review: From Worst to Best

    Photo by Kaela Chancey

    Deaf Poets are in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5. They aren’t actual players in the game — even though Lil Wayne is for some reason — but they’re on the soundtrack. Remember rocking out to Goldfinger’s “Superman” or Millencolin’s “No Cigar”— come on Rage Against the Machine’s “Guerrilla Radio”?! Well, Floridians can now rock out to their local Miami Beach heroes while collecting S-K-A-T-E or unlocking Area 51. Sorry, I’m getting a bit distracted. Anyways, as R. Kelly’s introduction to “Bump N’ Grind” warmed up the P.A., guitarist Sean Wouters and Nico Espinosa turned the key on their 2013 album, 4150, taking out one gem at a time for a little over 30 minutes. It was rocking, it was rolling, and it was a nice reprieve from the electronics. Needless to say, thank god I have a PS4. –Phillip Roffman

    Spot of Hope

    Unknown Mortal Orchestra

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    Photo by Carlo Cavaluzzi

    When you’re at a festival where the main focus is electronic music, a live band can sometimes be a spot of hope. Concluding the Mind Melt stage Sunday night was Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Although they aren’t an EDM group, the crowd still danced their asses off throughout the whole set. Nobody truly gave a shit how they looked while they danced; everyone was in a groovy comedown trance. From the syncopating drum patterns of “Multi-Love” to the hypnotizing hums of “FFunny Ffriends”, everybody was sweaty and nothing hurt. –Carlo Cavuluzzi

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    Turnt Up

    AlunaGeorge

    alunageorge 0354 III Points 2015 Festival Review: From Worst to Best

    Photo by Carlo Cavaluzzi

    “Let’s play rough,” vocalist Aluna Francis said with a smile from behind her wired microphone. This is, of course, the same microphone that had the luckiest dance partner. For a little under an hour, Francis antagonized the Main Frame crowd with her aspiring catalogue of crowd pleasers. Yes, “You Know You Like It”, “Attracting Flies”, and “Your Drums Your Love” were played to perfection, but this melee of hit singles wasn’t the only form of attack. With extreme confidence at the boards, producer George Reid laid down ZHU’s track for “Automatic”, amplifying the excitement that coursed through the dancing masses. The term “turnt up” certainly applied during this early nighttime set, especially when Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It” erupted somewhere within the fiesta. AlunaGeorge, you know how to have a good time. –Phillip Roffman

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    Let’s Get It On

    Bedside

    bedside jason koerner III Points 2015 Festival Review: From Worst to Best

    Photo by Jason Koerner

    When it comes to writing about local artists, sometimes it’s easy to say, “Hey, they’re great, but they’re just missing that one thing.” Bedside was the exception to the rule. This Miami duo brought the Sector 3 stage to life with its incorporation of house, conga, and soul music. It was like listening to a perfect story of a DJ making love to a live band. Everyone from all walks of life made their way over, and no one was still. Hips swayed, hands held, and lips touched, all synchronized to the pull of the sax and beat of the drum. With such passion and appreciation, it makes me wonder why the sound hasn’t been more successful. But I can confidently say that everyone, including those dancing on top of a bus because there just wasn’t any more room on the floor, ended up wanting to take these guys home. Now I know why they call themselves Bedside. –Kaela Chancey

    Most Harrowing Set

    XXYYXX

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    Photo by Carlo Cavaluzzi

    “I think I got time for seven minutes and 20 … 19 … 18,” said Marcel Everett, dubbed XXYYXX. “Should I play a new song or an old one?” The crowd roared for an old one as Everett wished everyone a good night and closed down shop with “DMT”.

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    Earlier on, Everett noted that he had recently moved to Los Angeles and that this show was his first in Florida since his move. As such, he came out relentlessly with the song that started it all, “About You”.

    Fans against the barrier immediately screamed and started thrashing relentlessly to the R&B slow burner, causing the security guards to have the crowd step back and move the barrier back.

    Bottom line: XXYYXX’s sets are harrowing. The Florida native transports his fans to a hazy heaven with muddy beats, dimmed lights, and etheric rap samples. There’s a reason why fans fight to keep it going. –Carlo Cavaluzzi

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    A Mildly Abusive TED Talk

    Jay Electronica

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    Photo by Carlo Cavaluzzi

    On paper, a 45-minute set doesn’t make much sense for a rapper with only a handful of songs, a couple of features, and a lack of an album. That fact wasn’t exactly lost on the Miami crowd for Jay Electronica, who started putting them to sleep with song resets and long monologues. But then, something magical happened.

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    He started bringing people on stage. One person was invited up because he shouted, “Eternal Sunshine!”, another came up because he was just a “handsome dude.” Shortly after that, he invited all the photographers to come up, saying: “Fuck that, everyone come up here! If you aren’t scared, I want you up here.”

    To summarize, Jay Electronica’s set essentially became the perfect harmony between a rap show, punk ethics, and a mildly abusive TED talk. Later on, he eventually roamed the crowd, taking photos with fans, and even bounced his head to the later Corbin/Bobby Raps set. Okay, but really, where’s the album? –Carlo Cavaluzzi

    Sonic Fidelity

    Warpaint

    iiipoints warpaint2 III Points 2015 Festival Review: From Worst to Best

    Photo by Kaela Chancey

    In recent years, Warpaint has managed to play at just about every festival in the North American circuit. (That won’t stop anytime soon as they’re slated next to play Beach Goth Festival on October 25th.) However, this shouldn’t be a surprise. The Los Angeles quartet works with a unique, expansive sound that allows them to pop up anywhere, somewhat akin to Tame Impala. It’s equal parts psychedelic, dreamy, and abrasive, and watching the four — Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee Lindberg, and Stella Mozgawa — come together to animate this economical sound was both hypnotizing and reassuring. Few at III Points offered such chemistry or sonic fidelity. –Phillip Roffman

    Learning About Life

    Nick Leon

    iiipoints nickleon III Points 2015 Festival Review: From Worst to Best

    Photo by Kaela Chancey

    Nick Leon was the first act to ignite the Main Frame stage. Without delay, he played to a quiet and empty room and the proceedings felt euphoric. Imagine listening to nothing but birds and running water, or nature fading into heavy bass and symphonic vibes, the likes of which fill every bone in your body. During the set, a backdrop fell, displaying DNA and molecules that transitioned in and out to his perfectly rich tones. The energy was mellow yet alive and a part of me thought this could be how an out of body experience might feel — or simply, a lesson on how life began. As the set progressed, I looked around to see more and more people entering this enticing abyss. Albeit a local to the area, Leon knew exactly how to pull in the crowd as more and more individuals piled in through the doors. With a smile on his face, the set ended and I just wanted more. –Kaela Chancey

    The Loudest Whispers

    Austin Paul

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    Photo by Kaela Chancey

    “Why is the Sector 3 stage right in front of the Mind Melt stage? And, why are bands playing at the same time?” This is all I could think about as I walked over to catch Austin Paul’s set. The close proximity between the two stages presented a problem for anyone, like me, who wanted their sensual whispers, piano keys, and thumping bass beats with the utmost intimacy. To his credit, Paul is a champ and one hell of a local hero to Miami — he’s played the festival three times in a row. The rising singer-producer was well aware of the situation, and oozed right through the madness, delivering his brand of SoFla R&B that moved his diehard fans who likely see him as a much sexier version of Mr. Rogers. There were many huddled around the stage who wanted to see more than a cardigan taken off. We’ll leave it at that. –Phillip Roffman

    Welcome to Miami

    King Krule

    kingkrule 1315 III Points 2015 Festival Review: From Worst to Best

    Photo by Carlo Cavaluzzi

    London singer-songwriter King Krule rarely, if ever, plays a show anywhere in the southern region of the United States. So, fans were super excited, packing the Main Frame stage tighter than I saw all weekend, as Archy Marshall conjured up his hybrid brand of punk jazz and trip-hop. (Ever see the beginning of Blade? That was this show, only sans the blood.) Eventually, Jay Electronica gave Marshall his chain to wear during the set, and it was the most confusing and hilarious thing to happen in III Points history. Not many words were spoken, but every highlight track from Krule was played, including a new and unreleased ditty (if anyone knows the name please leave in comments below?) hinting at new music in the near future. Perhaps another return to SoFla? One can only hope. –Carlo Cavaluzzi

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    The Best Use of Face-Painted Girls Vomiting

    Panda Bear

    iiipoints pandabear III Points 2015 Festival Review: From Worst to Best

    Photo by Kaela Chancey

    Look, I’m going to be completely frank: I hate Animal Collective. However, Noah Benjamin Lennox, aka Panda Bear, took everything I hated about them, and turned it against me. What a bastard, right? Heading into his set, I arrived with preconceived notions of odd time signatures, irritating beats, and Tinkerbell voices yelling at high octaves. These are elements of every Panda Bear song, at least that’s how I hear them on tape, and yet at III Points, something felt different. I felt tricked.

    Beyond the fact that the A/C was clearly broken at Main Frame, and I could feel sweat pouring out of my body in places I didn’t even know possible, I loved every moment of it. Dancing and spinning around with my girlfriend to the epileptic lights and the on-screen visuals that would give Aphex Twin a hard-on, it was simply pure bliss. Also, anyone who can successfully marry the THX hum to images of demon face-painted girls vomiting, well, that person wins in my book. It’s time to give AnCo another listen. –Phillip Roffman

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