This year was a stellar one for Ultra. I can remember years back as youngin, travelling down to the first one, not realizing what the hubbub about WMC really was. Years later Ultra still manages to rock the house. This year the spirit of techno and house were alive and well to a sold out crowd of over 100,000. Even the scalpers where having a hard time getting a ticket. There truly was cornucopia of electronic sounds as we roamed the massive Bicentennial park. Some early rain on Friday was a little worrisome but that didn’t stop the likes of Josh Wink as he proceeded to decimate masses with a tip back to his Higher State of Consciousness days. We also got a special treat at the Carl Cox tent as Cadenza label head Luciano treated us to his Latin infused deep techno and house rhythms steeped in r&b samples and the like. Saturday was a real banger with reunion of Faithless Sound System with MC MaxiJazz and Sister Bliss. They had a great live show with their hit Insomnia and a few new tracks. I really was wishing to hear God is a dj, but I assume that had something to do with the absence of Rollo. The new kids on the scene Steve Aoki and the Bloody Beetroots had the Bayfront stage in full riot status as there hardcore meets rave styles slammed into the scene. We also got a great taste of Miami locals Afrobeta whose mix of Latin flavor, 80s synth pop sensibilities and acid bass lines made for an unexpected crowd pleaser.
After seeing Underworld and Prodigy rock out Ultra years past I had often wished that Orbital would be invited to play. Of course when I heard they disbanded my heart sunk and the fact that I might not relive what is the moment of an Orbital live show held heavy in my mind. When I heard they were back together I put my hands together and prayed that they would make it to Florida. So when my prayers were answered, not only could I believe that the brothers Hartnoll were here, but that there new live show was absolutely phenomenal. A trip down memory lane, there new show focused on the classics from the Green and Brown album, but with slamming new versions. Fully armed to teeth with synthesizers Paul and Phil sported there trademark flashlight specs as they crafted remarkable reworks of Chime, Rewind and Halcyon. There visuals gave party goers a good dose of reality of the world we live in and prove that not only is Orbital still comfortable on the dance floor but also in our minds as well. My only regret was that there set was only an hour and far too short a time to spend with a good friend.
Ego Killer TV ran into Orbital backstage before the show and recorded a short interview about there live show and some upcoming studio work: