Ultra Music Fest's 25 Best Bass Faces

Note: God bless them, our friends at Miami New Times music blog Crossfade braved the EDM-infested waters of the Ultra Music Festival this past weekend. Follow their entire exploits over here, but we thought we'd give you a little taste. This article was written by Kat Bein.

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All photos by Kat Bein and Gretchen Schroeder
Ultra Music Festival is nothing if not gnarly. The beats are gnarly, the people are gnarly, the portable toilets are gnarly. It's stank-face city, bro.

But even more than the sight of no toilet paper, it's those dirty beats -- dutch, dub, or otherwise -- that make us twist our faces like ancient Japanese samurai paintings.

Because we love a good drop as much as the next fiend, we're paying homage to all of Ultra Music Festival's magical moments with a series of epic bass-face pics. This is exactly what you fools sitting at home missed.


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10 Walking Raver Cliches at Miami's Ultra Music Festival

Note: God bless them, our friends at Miami New Times music blog Crossfade will be braving the EDM-infested waters of the Ultra Music Festival this weekend. Stay tuned here for updates, and follow Crossfade on Twitter at @Crossfade_SFL.

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Photo by George Martinez
Ravers are like snowflakes, right?

Wrong. It's actually not uncommon to find two (or 12) who look and sometimes behave almost exactly alike.

In fact, we've spent a lot of time wandering around EDM fests in a state of perpetual déjà vu, encircled by thousands of party people who seem to be nearly identical human copies of specific stock types.

Here, for instance, are ten walking raver cliches you meet at Ultra Music Festival.


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Miley Cyrus at Toyota Center, 3/16/2014

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Photos by Groovehouse
Miley Cyrus, Icona Pop
Toyota Center
March 16, 2014

Two dozen plus balloons are bouncing above the audience. A group of furries dance onstage. On the screen behind them is a giant digital photo of Miley Cyrus. Then a hole opens in the screen and a giant pink tongue comes out of it. Actual, human-sized Miley climbs onto the tongue and slides down it to the stage.

To answer the question that popped in to your brain when you decided to read this review, yes, the Bangerz Tour is exactly what you'd expect it to be.

As it should be. Miley represents a very specific version of the American experience, real or imagined, in the year 2014. In a sense, she's Buzzfeed made flesh, a human .gif, a walking meme generator. To give the crowd anything less than that would be wrong.

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Lorde at Bayou Music Center, 3/5/2014

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Photos by Jack Gorman
Lorde, Lo-Fang
Bayou Music Center
March 5, 2014

The crowd screams for Lorde like she's a pop star. They roar at the start of every song, from her big singles to her album cuts to her Replacements cover. They cheer when she moves to their side of the stage or when she points out someone in the crowd.

They are not bothered by the fact that she doesn't move like a pop star or dress like a pop star or have the elaborate stage setup of a pop star. They don't even mind that her songs aren't overproduced messes or that she sings about subjects that upper-class artists ignore.

These are good things, because pop music needs someone like Lorde. Yeah, party-rocking and twerking may pack the arenas, but a sold-out crowd singing back more than just the hits makes a good argument that people care about what she has to say, too.


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10 Awesome Hair-Band Videos You Probably Forgot

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Sorry, but we refuse to start spamming the Rocks Off Twitter account with gnarly photos of our '80s mullets and half-shirts. No one needs to see that.

So instead, we're going to take things old-school in another way -- spamming your eyeballs with some of the sweetest hair-band videos known to man. You're going to like it, because everyone likes a little Ratt every now and then. Whip out the hairspray and bandannas, folks -- happy Throwback Thursday!


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Demi Lovato at Toyota Center, 2/19/2014

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Photos by Nicholas Zalud
Demi Lovato
Toyota Center
February 19, 2014

Hey, you know what's important? Eardrums. Too bad I don't have mine anymore, now that the Demi Lovato concert is over.

Wednesday night, Texas' own pop princess graced the city with her presence for the second time in a year, following the 2013 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. That one seemed really loud at the time. This one? It was louder. Luckily, it was also more interesting.

Arriving at the arena, I was a bit surprised at the lack of chaos outside. Lovato is pretty much equivalent to everything tween in my book, so I expected to see massive crowds of shiny, shrieking children all hanging out and, well, shrieking about stuff. But the outside of that place was like a ghost town. I was a bit relieved.


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Holy Ship!!! 2014 in Animated GIF!!!

Note: this article was written by Kat Bein of Rocks Off's Miami New Times sister blog Crossfade.

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Photo by Ian Witlen
Have you ever seen a gingerbread man with no arms do the shimmy? What about two sharks going at it in shallow water? Seriously, who doesn't want to see a drunk dude having the time of his life, only to fall flat on his ass?

It's the simple things in life that bring the greatest joy. And luckily for LOLs, the party people of Holy Ship!!! 2014 had some weird, sexy, messy moves.

We dug through the collective footage of the entire Ship Fam universe to find the best and most hysterical dance moves the festival had to offer. Did you make the cut?

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The 10 Craziest Raver Costumes on Holy Ship!!! 2014

Note: this article was written by Kat Bein of Rocks Off's Miami New Times sister blog Crossfade.

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Photos by Ian Witlen
Crazy costumes have always been a big part of the electronic-music party scene. But these days, you're nobody unless you're pretending to be somebody you're really not.

Perhaps it's the sense of anonymity that comes with a disguise. Or maybe it's because every single one of you is an attention-starved child. Whatever the case, we commend your creativity, your ingenuity, and most importantly, your near-nudity.

Here are our favorite funky fashionistas from Holy Ship!!!


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The 10 Most Epic Moments on the Holy Ship!!! EDM Cruise

Note: this article was written by Kat Bein of Rocks Off's Miami New Times sister blog Crossfade.

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Photos by Ian Witlen
After three years of raging at sea, Hard Events' Holy Ship cruise has proven itself to be the best nautical EDM adventure that money can buy. (Of course we enjoyed press accommodations, so we didn't actually pay.)

It might still be a new-ish phenomenon, but this party boat has the most loyal fans, the edgiest lineups, and the biggest surprise guests. So from the moment that we made it through customs, our Holy Ship!!! 2014 experience was awwweeeesome.

Unfortunately, the MSC Divina's capacity is about 4,000 passengers. And while that's a lot of shippers, there are tons of fans who get left ashore. So just for you, stranded ravers, we're counting down the ten most epic moments.


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High-School Journalists Review Recent Houston Releases

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Does a Houston school boast the next William Miller (or Lester Bangs...or Cameron Crowe?)
Last year, my kids' bands teamed up for an idea to attract younger local followers. They sent sampler CDs to the entertainment editors of about two dozen area high schools and asked them to review the music in their school newspapers.

To prove they weren't entirely self-serving, they included a list of nearly 50 local bands the students might seek out on their own. The pitch: it's fine to write about Lady Gaga or Radiohead, but why not be the innovative and daring writer who introduces readers to the best music acts playing here at home? The kinds the cool kids in movies like Almost Famous and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist follow; the musicians they could enjoy regularly at Houston's abundance all-ages shows.

My kids never heard back from any schools last year. But, I thought I'd shamelessly jack their novel idea for my own purposes here with Rocks Off. So I asked several area high schools if they had music-loving students willing to share their thoughts on some recent albums released by local acts.


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