With the captive South Beach audience, marketing and branding seemed to be the name of the game. While alcoholic energy drinks and mint-flavored water were being handed out to people on the street, Red Bull moved its party to the former Versace mansion, inviting electro/dance rock artists Felix da Housecat, The Glimmers, Princess Superstar, and Vitalic to entertain the very A-list crowd. Also aiming for the upscale crowd was Zero/Hallburton which launched a $1000 custom case for laptop DJs by seeding superstar DJs Louie Vega, Mark Ronson, and King Britt with product. Sneaker brand Onitsuka Tiger took over the roof of the Townhouse Hotel with a diverse DJ lineup ranging from Trendroid and Stretch Armstrong to the BT-endorsed Prefuse 73. People often talk about lifestyle marketing, and this was a prime of doing it right: no one shoving sneakers in your face, just a fun time to chill with friends and hear good music.
And then there's the music. How can we talk about WMC without mentioning the big tune of the week? "Across sixty parties, you're not going to get everybody playing that one record," Defected Records head Simon Dunmore said accurately, describing the quest for the big tune. With that said there were several big choons that dominated the week. New remixes of 2005 WMC anthem "Most Precious Love" were heard out every night, lining it up nicely for its commercial rerelease.
Bob Sinclar follows up global smash "Love Generation" with "World Hold On," enlisting the vocals of Steve Edwards (Cassius' "The Sound of Violence"). Remixes by Axwell, David Guetta & Joachim Garraud, and Wally Lopez made this an essential white label for DJs to snag. Even dance radio in the US is beginning to discover Bob Sinclar; New York's WKTU added "Love Generation" during the week.
2006 is shaping up to be a great year for Grammy winner Louie Vega. In addition to playing a memorable set at Magic Sessions, he scored two WMC hits: Groove Doctors featuring Duane Harden's "Like Water,"a historical looks at house music, and Mr V featuring Miss Patty's "Da Bump," a pumping party record for the true turntablists. Also scoring a couple of WMC hits was Till West & DJ Delicious with their electro-tinged single "Same Man" and a hot remix of Chocolate Puma's "Always Forever."
Just as a white label of Eddy Grant's "Electric Avenue" broke out of WMC a few years back, multiple tracks sampling 80s record competed for attention this year. Multiple DJs were heard mixing Supermode's "Tell Me Why" (Axwell and Seamus Haji's update of Bronski Beat's "Why") with Deep Dish's update of "Dreams." Paul Van Dyk prodigy Second Sun teamed up with Cedric Gervais for a much sought-after white label of Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust." With just a riff of Michael Jackson's "Beat It," South Beach native Michael M constructed "The Beat," a worthy followup to his filthy underground classic "Dear Diary." Going back to disco, Jen Cunetta's "Take You Away" is quite a catchy reworking of "We Are Family." Under the guise of Dogtooth, Neil Nuff morphed the Steve Miller Band's "Abbacadabra" into "Can't Cool Down" - just add a well-breasted music video and crossover seems inevitable.
Seemingly inspired by one-line wonders like "Call on Me," Jason Nevins took the line "Life is So Strange," from Missing Person's "Destination Unknown," to build a potent tech-house jam. A CD-R credited to Filter Factory chose Electric Light Orchestra's "Do Ya" for similar treatment with even greater success and play from several major DJs during the week.
Music at its best is a very personal experience. Thinking back over the week that was, though the big rooms were massive experiences, it was often more fun to find an event off the beaten path. For this enthusiast, the best set of the week was DJ Rap's explosive and orgasmic techy house set in the second room of the Juicy party at the Opium Garden. Also incredible was Armand Pena's pumping set at the Mixology closing party at Nikki Beach and Stonebridge's aggressive set at the Gryphon. As a lover of live performances, newcomer Ohsha Kai's electrifying performance of "Free Your Mind" was a definite highlight, and Barbara Tucker's performance, with a full band at Madiba, had the best vibe all week with people from all backgrounds coming together. Most Precious Love, indeed.