iii Points: a Weekend in Review
iii Points weekend is one of the most coveted times for music lovers in the Miami area. Many beloved and iconic artists passed through the doors of Mana Wynwood this past weekend, and we’re here to tell you about a few of our favorites.
SZA, R&B performing artist, headlined Saturday night at the festival performing songs mostly from her debut album, Ctrl. After publicly straining her vocal cords, many questions were up in the air regarding her ability to perform, but once the show began the audience was quickly swept up into the world and warmth of her discography. There would be no vocal cords to worry about. Instead, she sounded angelic and studio-ready. SZA, or Solana Rowe, was assisted by a live band that redefined her live performance from its studio counterpart, opening with an almost rock-like version of her slow-ballad “Supermodel.”
As the first headliners to play at iii Points, Beach House was greeted by a sea of eager faces in anticipation of a mesmerizing set, but the members of Beach House have a clear message when it comes to performance - the music is one and the whole. Dimly lit visuals throughout the set complemented Victoria's chilling vocals, almost never allowing for a glimpse of the performers' expressions. Although they were and are currently touring for their last project "7," Beach House surprised us with a blend of flavors from their full discography, playing the timeless "10 Mile Stereo" and arguably their most widely-renowned track, "Space Song." The most captivating moment was in "Wishes," when flashes of red, orange, and white lights emerged from the dark as Victoria Legrand belted about the precious nature of life itself and planted a seed for the rest of the festival - be present in the moment.
“My name is JPEG mother f***ing MAFIA, and I plan to do some dirty shit tonight.” Immediately after Tyler, the Creator’s set, hordes of people flocked to iii Points’ Main Frame stage to see JPEGMAFIA heat up the night. His first time on a Miami stage proved to be one filled with electric engagements and rowdy moshing. “Peggy’s” punk rap blend seamlessly appealed to the hordes of longtime fans who knew every word as well as intriguing awestruck festival-goers. Consisting mostly of songs from his latest album, “Veteran,” the set flew by. The sublime simplicity of his stage set up mixed with the artist’s genuine enjoyment cultivated an intimate yet thrilling performance. He began the set by scoping the stage, corner to corner, getting down low with the fans and bopping along with them. As his relationship with the crowd grew, Peggy got even more in on the action to the point where he literally moshed with the swarm of fans. The climax of the night had to have been his performance of his latest single, “Puff Daddy,” an ode to Sean Combs. After giving his all on stage for about an hour, JPEGMAFIA not only hinted at some new work coming soon, but promised to return to Miami one day in the future. “Damn, Peggy!”
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Among one of the most striking names on the iii Points undercard, Canadian post-rock and drone ambient outfit Godspeed You! Black Emperor drew a crowd of equal parts cult fans and curious newcomers for a set of curiously short length in a city they’ve not previously visited. Concerns regarding whether the group could meet the restraints of a sixty minute span were assuaged by a sampling of their best material new and old, proceeding from the Balkan modality of “Mladic” through to the triumphant “Bosses Hang” movement; and ending with discographic touchstone “BBF3.” With neither shows nor an album rollout planned, Godspeed’s direction from Miami is unclear; irrespective of their future plans, the energy displayed on Sunday night indicates our nine favorite subversives may not yet be finished.
The culture of today requires musicians to also be skilled performers that can engage and hold the attention of a crowd; Tama Gucci, an R&B singer and Miami native, fulfills both requirements to a T. As I walked into his set, I was immediately captivated by his stage presence and fierce yet coy demeanor. He lured me in with his saunter, eye contact, and minimalistic yet daring fashion. This, along with his soulful voice and lyrics today’s younger generation can relate to, created a contemporarily progressive atmosphere that added a unique flare to iii Points that other artists may not have necessarily brought.
After dashing from SZA’s set to the Main Frame, I was ecstatic to see Yaeji glowing amidst the flashing lights. The whole room immediately lit up with joy during “One More” and “Raingurl,” and her stage presence during those songs (and the whole set) made everyone in the room smile and dance in bliss. Unlike most house music performances, Yaeji didn’t just sit down behind her computer— she was dancing around and singing, which in turn, translated into an unforgettable experience that I can’t wait to have again.