A secluded nook, buried between a gas station and some luxurious restaurants and lounges was bounding with activity, as ravenous beat freaks came out of the woodwork, swarming feverishly to experience what has quietly been gaining traction as one of the hottest alternative night spots in the Miami area. Brandishing no form of prominent form of advertisement other than a closed door with event posters on either side and a roped off vestibule leading into the venue itself, it can be rather easy to walk or drive by South Beach’s Treehouse without even paying it any notice. As inconspicuous a locale as though it may be, the caliber of the talent that the venue has booked for its Friday night parties (a collaborative effort between the LINK and MiamiRebels promotional outfits) is staggering to say the least; boasting some of the premier names in underground techno.
This Friday’s party was no exception, as renowned Canadian purveyor of Tech House, Carlo Lio took to the decks, accompanied by the talented collective of resident DJs that regularly play at the LINK/MiamiRebels parties. Thunderpony, a local duo comprised of talented spin doctors, Ricardo Mogollon and Luis Baquero opened things open in the front room, a quaint smoke burnished chamber, set alit by glowing lights that emanate from cracks on the walls; and adorned with assorted vintage trinkets and oddities. Mogollon and Baquero appear to have an excellent rapport on the decks and possess a remarkable ability to play off of each other’s differing musical inclinations, all the while maintaining the cohesiveness of their set. They vacillate effortlessly between moments of smooth and melodic tech beats and faster-paced bangers. In the main room, separated from the front room and the back patio lounge area by way of frosted glass doors, Carlo Lio stepped up to the plate sometime around 2 AM, celebrating his birthday in Miami, the only conceivable way one can really celebrate a birthday in Miami: bringing down the house.
Punishing swathes of bass pummeled down against rapid-fire cymbals and layers of synth in a manner reminiscent of his label boss, Dubfire. This was high energy, relentless techno that played furiously to the convictions of the adoring crowd to dance without cease. There were moments in Lio’s expansive set where the crowded floor appeared to be approaching what can aptly be described as bedlam. The track selections on display in the sets here are completely out of left field, in the sense that one would be hard pressed to be able to readily identify anything being played; and quite frankly, it is probably better that way. You do not see people get down this hard to the music in many of the other venues on South Beach, perhaps a testament to Treehouse’s toned down and laid back aesthetic. With artists of Lio’s caliber headlining at regular intervals, it is also easy to see why the underground techno scene is gaining traction, not only at the smaller, speakeasy-inspired lounges, such as Treehouse, but some of the larger, more exclusive mega clubs, who are gradually beginning to welcome these innovative producers. Their music is as much a form of abstract expressionism as it is a departure from the slew of polished, electro-tinged big room bangers being churned out of the mainstream EDM movement.