It’s the first night of Miami Music Week. Miami Beach is pulsing with life as Washington Avenue channels hundreds of music lovers heading to the biggest destination of the night: Mansion Nightclub. The atmosphere in Mansion is a tangible feeling of anticipation and intimacy—the club’s central DJ booth teases us with an all-access view of Tony and Paavo’s soon-to-be three-hour playground. There isn’t a bad view in the whole house; Mansion’s two staircases lead down to the dance floor in a symmetrical focal point centering the crowd’s attention. And even if one’s attention were to wane from the booth, Mansion’s dancers—and the very little they left to the imagination—provide an enchanting choreographic accompaniment.
It’s 1:30 AM. The lights dim. Tony and Paavo emerge to the Tri State classic “Good For Me,” captivating the crowd in an anticipated trance while energetically progressing into Arty’s remix of “Hey Now.” Above & Beyond’s transitions and mixing in the club setting has been one of the most interesting dynamics of live electronic music. Tri State, Group Therapy, and Acoustic are incredibly personal and emotional albums, all of which I can say have given me the most existential and introspective solo listening experiences of any form of music. To translate this to the club setting as masterfully as Above & Beyond is a feat visible through their transitions and reading the crowd. The delicate balance of emotion and energy surfaces with A&B’s newer songs, especially “Walter White.” It’s 2:08 AM, and the anthemic chords of “Walter White” rise and fall through Mansion in a roller coaster of calming inspiration. A brief diminuendo, and then the pulsing synths bring a surge of energy back to the crowd.
Tony and Paavo showcased a number of their club mixed classics, from “Alchemy” to “On My Way To Heaven,” while keeping the club shaking with crowd favorites like “Sun & Moon.” At the end of their set, Above & Beyond went uplifting with “Satellite / Stealing Time,” leading to more arms-around-shoulders than you’ll see in any club setting. We were left with a tangible feeling of unity and serenity, tiding us off for the week until Above & Beyond’s climactic Ultra set in the rain.
Photography by: Doug van Sant Photography