Ultra 2013: Major Lazer Sets Off a Strip Sesh
Photo by George Martinez Major Lazer's Jillionaire.
When cuts like Ace Hood's "Bugatti" and Kanye West's "Clique" came on, everyone cheered with excitement. It was a far cry from earlier versions of Major Lazer shows, when the setlist was mostly original material or dancehall reworkings of popular songs.
We first saw Diplo's side project live at Ultra 2009. Diplo didn't move from behind the decks, letting Skerrit Bwoy handle the crowds. While Major Lazer 2.0 sees Walshy Fire doing most of the hyping, Diplo helps him plenty. He was shooting confetti into the air, handing out vuvuzelas, pulling his shirt off, and encouraging the entire crowd to join the strip sesh. For the first 15 minutes of their set, it seemed Diplo was everywhere except behind the decks.
Photo by George Martinez Gettin' down with the Lazer.
Still, even if you take away the confetti, the shirt tossing, and the booty dancing, you still have a fine set. But the climax didn't come until Jillionaire and Diplo dropped "Get Free," followed by some hype tracks, both new and old.
"Free," a slow dancehall ballad, is perhaps Major Lazer's finest work to date, and Amber Coffman's vocals are brutally sincere. It calmed the crowd down, until a quick remix took the song into overdrive. From that point, this party was a free-for-all that hit Lazer classics like "Pon De Floor," "Hold the Line," and "Original Don," as well as Diplo originals like "Express Yourself."
But the best moment was a moombahton rework of Elvis Crespo's "Sauvemente," reminding us Miami is a Latin city at heart. And between Walshy's calls to "Overtown, Liberty City, South Miami," this is a show that perhaps could only have worked in Miami.
But one thing was certain: What we witnessed was not an OG Major Lazer show. It was Diplo with Jillionaire and Walshy Fire. Gone are most of the aspects that made the original incarnation of the side project exciting and unique. What we're left with now is fun party music -- not that anyone in the crowd was complaining.