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III Points Festival 2017 Friday pics & review (Gorillaz, Thundercat, more)

Miami’s art-focused music festival III Points began Friday, October 13 with an intense and impressive lineup. The festival’s focus is largely electronic music with a broad appeal and hip-hop influences, with Gorillaz as the evening’s headliner.

III Points offers a sense of hip sophistication through both its lineup and its spaces. Last night was dominated by the endless techno brilliance of Arca, whose Venezuelan influences blend well with Miami vibes. His show was housed in one of two indoor warehouse-style spaces at the festival, and visual artist Jesse Kanda offered montages of cows and goats as an unusual backdrop to Arca’s powerfully danceable set.

This warehouse space simultaneously offered pop-up art displays and even a small thrift shop, but the back-to-back lineup lent little time to stop and look. Abra, an III Points veteran, and Kali Uchis both performed on an intimate outdoor stage where one could get close or stand atop an emptied school bus in the back.

Thundercat offered one of the more laid-back performances at the venue’s largest outdoor stage, with a warm and personable set of songs about Japan and how video games ruined his life. Elsewhere, Danny Brown gave a hugely energetic show with songs like “25 Bucks” and “Smokin & Drinkin.” Brown seems to love jumping around the stage and neither he nor his DJ appear to take themselves too seriously. If only we could’ve gotten more from 2011’s XXX.

The most notable performance of the night came from headliners Gorillaz. As someone who had never seen Gorillaz and had liked but not necessarily loved them, I found their performance exceptional. The interwoven narrative of live performance and digital art was carefully but casually executed, truly bringing the myth of Gorillaz alive. The setlist included an appropriate variety of their new and old work – the show helped bolster newer songs like “Saturnz Barz” and “She’s My Collar” (for which they brought out Kali Uchis) but also offered cathartic performances of “Tomorrow Comes Today,” “Stylo,” and “Clint Eastwood.” They did not, however, play “Feel Good Inc.”

The festival also gave serious space to Miami-based musicians and artists like Atomyard and Kora Noir, both of whom gave passionate warehouse sets. Check out pictures from Friday (including ones of Madlib, The Black Madonna, and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith) in the gallery above, and stay tuned for coverage from III Points Saturday and Sunday.

photos by Adinayev

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