Not lacking one ounce of neon decorations, Grand Central was fully clad with colorful piñatas and a backdrop that would make the most sober person feel drug induced – this was the place to be for the first night of HARD Miami. Though feeling like I was at a Mexican fiesta, this sold out event had people feigning to be a part of it. We were thrilled to immediately see Dave Nada, the godfather of Moombahton, jumping around the stage hyping up partygoers and crowd surfing like it was his job. People were bouncing to Buraka Som Sistema who was spinning Azealia Banks’ “212” which then transitioned into The Rapture’s “How Deep Is Your Love.” Later than we expected, Diplo showed up and completely changed the atmosphere in the room. Taking his Gators jacket off, we had no idea what we were in for. Going from Juicy J’s “Who Da Neighbors,” to Tyga’s “Rack City,” and right back to Wale’s “Slight Work,” which he notably produced, fans were jumping out of their skin to his mashups. Not to be forgotten, his latest track, “Express Yourself,” had every girl in the club literally expressing themselves. In true Diplo fashion, front row females were brought on stage to drop it low until security thought the stage might collapse. He closed his set with “Pon de Floor,” and with ease Dillon Francis was simultaneously ushered in and spun a rendition of The Police’s classic “Roxanne.” We caught our breath and let our heart rates drop for a split second. Moments later, he dropped his latest banger I.D.G.A.F.O.S. which had a practically nude fan next to us doing cartwheels in what little space was left in the room. Mad Decent clearly proved to be everything and more we had bargained for.
The first night of HARD Miami gave us high expectations for round two on Thursday night. With more hipsters in one spot than we’ve ever witnessed in Miami, we were interested to see what these Ed Banger DJ’s were going to bring to the table. Around 1 am, Brodinski gave us a taste of this foreign flavor we’d been dreaming about, readily throwing out booty poppin’ jams. Next up, Busy P had us at hello. Speaking into the mic with his heavy French accent and playing tracks by pals Justice and Daft Punk it was impossible not to be charmed by this ultra talented and established DJ. Mid set he played “Pocket Piano” by the late DJ Mehdi, to which the crowd raised their lighters and swayed in remembrance. Before we knew it, Alex Ridha, a.k.a. Boyz Noize was on stage and had all hands on decks, three to be exact. From the moment we laid eyes on him he was dancing, the only time he paused was during a slower track when he bent to the ground and shut his eyes for just a moment. Going from his and Erol Alkan’s song “Lemonade” to Mathieu Bouthier & Muttonheads remix of Arno Cost’s “Souvenir,” no one in the room was able to stand still. Ridha, seemingly passionate and brazen with his usual baseball cap on and sleek red skinny jeans- we had to admit right then that we were loving every second of it. Germany would’ve been proud to say the least.
Both nights brought us music by Snoop Dogg and Jay Z & Kanye West’s insanely popular “Niggas in Paris,” which had fans going H.A.M. These two shows brought another element to Miami Music Week that we hadn’t experienced before. This unpretentious scene drew in partygoers, young and old, who craved not only edgy techno and house, but those who also appreciate old school rap and a hard ass beat. We, along with hundreds of others, happily left drenched in sweat, with our ears ringing all the way home.