MEOKO goes to Miami

When one thinks of Miami, one does not think underground clubbing hotspot. Those visiting Miami are more likely to be confronted with the ‘super clubs’ such as LIV or Mansion, filled with girls dolled up to the nines, guys dropping tens of thousands of dollars for a table and the ‘Electronic Dance Music’ that is sweeping across the States thanks to acts like David Guetta and the Swedish House Mafia. But there is one club, tucked away Downtown that brings the type of atmosphere and music that the discerning music lover and clubber craves. That club is the Electric Pickle, affectionately referred to as The Pickle, and it’s pretty much the only club in Miami dedicated to bringing underground talent from all over the world to in-the-know underground house and techno aficionados.

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I was lucky enough to be in Miami for New Year’s Eve and headed down to The Pickle for Wolf + Lamb’s New Year bash featuring both Zev and Gadi, Soul Clap, Deniz Kurtel, Tanner Ross and Baba from Voices of Black. My night didn’t start off brilliantly when I get in to a cab and the cab driver shouts, “There’s no way I’m driving downtown.” Unperturbed, I persevered and eventually found a taxi willing to take me to North Miami from South Beach. Arriving in what looked like a sketchy area, I hurried inside and was confronted with nothing. Nothing but music and darkness – good music albeit. Groping my way around, I headed straight for a door at the back of the club, which led to an outside area that made me realise this type of club could never exist in the UK.

All that was hanging between the night sky and myself was some camouflage netting and a large disco ball. There was an outside bar, some seating, an art installation and international graffiti artists, 2Square, who were spray-painting a disused van in beautiful bright colours. 2Square are a couple of young guys that travel the world and paint, I had a quick chat with them and their laid-back attitude truly reflected the vibe of the party. Everything was so chilled - from the music to everyone’s outfits. None of the glitz, mini skirts and suits so prevalent in South Beach, but people dressed comfortably to party the night away. Running from 10PM – 5AM, I arrived just after 1AM to see Deniz Kurtel take over on the decks outside. It was emptier than I thought it would be and the music was flatter than I’ve heard Deniz play before. Plenty of the slo-mo house that the Wolf + Lamb crew are famous for but it was just a little too slow, which combined with the dispersed crowd, doesn’t make for the most electrifying atmosphere. It just never really got going on the patio.

I decided to head upstairs where there was a second dance floor. Wow. What a totally different vibe. It was wall to wall packed with people, with Zev and William, the owner of The Pickle, going back to back and playing deeper than I had expected. It was here that the real party was taking place and everyone seemed to be loving it. With another huge disco ball and an intimate house party vibe, I could see why the Wolf + Lamb crew refer to The Pickle as their new Marcy. Speaking to Zev, he explained that they have been lucky to find Miami’s “middle class, somewhere between the trashy and the flashy” and it’s this crowd along with the perfect venue that keeps Wolf + Lamb coming back to The Pickle at least once a month.

As downstairs remained in the capable hands of Soul Clap and Gadi, upstairs was left to Zev, Tanner Ross, Baba and William. Like with many Wolf + Lamb events, there was no strict set timing and all the DJ’s muscled in on each others sets, playing together and having fun, which made for entertaining viewing. The way the DJ’s interacted and laughed with each other was reflected in the crowd, and as tracks like Michael J Collins’ “I Just Wanna Be Your Disco Bitch” was played out, you couldn’t have wanted for a better atmosphere upstairs at The Electric Pickle. Hands in the air, New Year’s Eve paraphernalia and smiles all round.

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Shutting the doors at a relatively early 5AM, I was quickly in a taxi and heading back to South Beach after an unforgettable New Year’s Eve. Following my time in Miami, I realised that it might not be the greatest spot for underground clubbing in the world, but as long as The Electric Pickle exists, Miami is a city worth visiting.