“Look at the dots! There’s three dots on the table!”
This is all I can manage to say. I gaze up in awe, past the large LED display cheekily programmed to read “No Photos” as a table made entirely of glass is elevated high into the air above the Ultra Music Festival Mainstage. Barely visible from the front row are three black dots embedded in the center: the Swedish House Mafia logo. The rumors were confirmed. This was it.
As the first bass hit explodes throughout the stadium, millions of LED’s engulf the sea of ravers in blinding white light.
“From Miami to Ibiza, from Miami to Ibiza, from Miami to Ibiza, from Miami to Ibiza…”
Tinnie Tempah’s vocal loops, starting low pitched but building in tempo as the cinematic blasts grow closer and closer together.
The crowd roars.
Three men in leather emerge as the LED’s behind the table explode once more, taking their place at the glass DJ booth as drop kicks in.
“Wassup Miami! My name is Axwell, this is Sebastian Ingrosso, and this is Steve Angello and Miami…you know what we are”.
The most anticipated performance in electronic music history had begun.
Last weekend, Ultra Music Festival celebrated its 20th Anniversary in epic fashion, with sets featuring top tier artists such as The Chainsmokers, Afrojack, and Kaskade, and over 165,000 people in attendance. Initially started as a small, single day festival on the beach in Miami, over the past two decades the festival has become a weekend long affair and expanded internationally with events in nearly 25 countries from Bali to Beijing. Generally thought to be the premiere electronic music experience in existence, this set was about to remind the world why.
Over the course of the next hour, the three Swedes played all of the Swedish House Mafia classics from ‘Leave The World Behind’ to ‘Greyhound’, mashing them seamlessly with many of the other tracks they had each produced since their last set together. Hearing a number of new ID’s (including two darker tracks premiered off of Steve’s upcoming HUMAN album), as well as mashups such as ‘More Than You Know’ vs ‘Payback’ drove home the monumental nature of the occasion, and reminded the dance community just what it had been missing.
Swedish House Mafia, a group best known for their pop crossover hit ‘Don’t You Worry Child’ with John Martin, are widely considered the kings of progressive house music, and are credited with facilitating EDM’s crossover into mainstream culture. Consisting of three Swedes: Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Steve Angello, they were the most in-demand dance music act in the world when they declared they were embarking on One Last Tour and disbanded with their final show closing the Ultra Music Festival in 2013.
Since then, Axwell and Ingrosso formed the Axwell /\ Ingrosso project in 2014, and have continued their path towards conquering the radio with tracks like “Sun Is Shining,” “More Than You Know,” and most recently “Dreamer.” Culminating in the release of the “More Than You Know” LP in July of last year, the project was the spiritual successor to Swedish House Mafia but failed to achieve the same level of notoriety.
Angello, on the other hand, chose to return to his underground roots, releasing his “Wild Youth” LP in 2016 on his label SIZE, as well as a number of EP’s collectively dubbed ALMOST HUMAN over the past year. Similarly (and particularly due to his insistence on using his own independent label) Angello was unable to surpass Swedish House Mafia on his own.
As the hour drew to a close, Steve pressed the beat loop on his CDJ.
“I want to know your name, name, name, name…”
“Thank you for having us Miami, it’s Swedish House Mafia for life this time!” announced Axwell as the trio embraced. A triumphant roar emerged from the crowd as the arena was once again flooded in white and fireworks exploded over the stage.
While some will consider this statement to be an Axwell-esque hyperbole, there are a number of reasons to believe the claim such as the return of their old manager Amy Thompson, a new Swedish House Mafia inspired clothing line with high fashion brand Palm Angels, and an update to the Swedish House Mafia website that now offers a booking email address. Whether this show marks the start of a Swedish House Mafia world tour, or if Swedish House Mafia will remain a rare treat for occasions such as Ultra, Creamfields, and Tomorrowland will remain to be seen. Regardless, it is safe to say that the kings of progressive house are back.
Check out the video from Ultra Music Festival 2018
Live vicariously through one of our own 20 Watts staff members and check out his video from Ultra Music Festival
Posted by 20 Watts Magazine on Friday, March 30, 2018