Day 2 ~ Thursday
Going into the Groove Cruise Miami we heard a lot of hype about the private island at Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. This promised to be a highlight of the trip and was definitely one of the aspects that we expected to stand out from the Groove Cruise experiences we had in Los Angeles. As we boarded the tender boat that would take us to our exclusive paradise, the sun was high in the sky welcoming us to our party along the beach. Unlike the hectic nature of the Groove Cruise LA where the exuberant and costumed cruisers mix with the unsuspecting locals in Catalina and Ensenada, this was truly our own private pilgrimage. With a stage set on the beautiful white sand beach, and the excitement building for New World Punx (especially after Ferry Corsten and Markus Schulz debuted their new single the night before), there was no doubt that this day was set up for greatness.
Favorite Set: Anthony Attalla and Cocodrills at Incorrect Music Afterhours
The big news for Incorrect Music was that their fan-favorite afterhours party was moving to the main stage for Groove Cruise Miami this year. We have to admit, we were a little worried about the move, as we felt the smaller stage and intimate settings in the past encapsulated the perfect environment for these late night to early morning parties. Of course we shouldn’t have worried a bit, because with Anthony Attalla at the helm there is no doubt what direction the party is going in. Yes, there were a few hiccups in production and sound for this stage throughout the weekend, but nothing could overcome the energy emanating from Anthony Attalla on stage. If you had the chance to catch up with Anthony on the cruise, you felt the love pouring out from him. It’s been a huge year already for Anthony Attalla and Incorrect Music, and the Groove Cruise is his opportunity to perform and also connect with longtime fans and peers in the industry. Once again followed by Cocodrills, just like in LA a few months before, this was a party that could have gone on for seemingly the whole day. Nobody does afterhours like these guys… nobody. If you missed your chance to get a free pair of the Incorrect Music Downbeats sound filters, head over to the Downbeats website now to claim what is left from this collaboration.
Favorite Party: Great Stirrup Cay with New World Punx and Darude
Yes, it’s a New World Punx set, but you’re not going to see what you see at a festival, with the lasers and all this crazy production, you’re just going to see me and Ferry throwing down and making an amazing party. That’s what we’re really aiming for and looking forward to – just being messy and partying with people!
– Markus Schulz
And boy did they deliver. Yes, it was messy, with a few audio glitches coming from the speaker system and buckets of beers being served non-stop, but it was fun. Rarely have we seen these two trance legends smile and grin like this – two friends just having a good time and giving the people what they want. This is how you make a beach party in the Bahamas happen. Yes, we got all of the New World Punx’s hit songs such as “Romper” and “Torque”, but we also got a little bit of everything else under the sun (Sebastian Ingrosso and Tommy Trash’s “Reload” was resurrected on GCXi and ZHU’s “Faded” was a popular remix choice amongst the artists). These two were not afraid to mix in the more popular tracks from the world of dance music, and it created an accessible party atmosphere for everyone in attendance. Followed up by another amazing set from Darude (who was just on fire on this cruise), and the Great Stirrup Cay beach party lived up to lofty expectations.
That Didn’t Just Happen: Mix Masterson stops us in our tracks
There were too many great sets and parties on this day to compete against, but we have to give credit to Mix Masterson, the third place finisher in this year’s DJ contest. He may have finished third in voting for the DJ contest, but he topped our list on Thursday night in the Casino. Yes, he got to open the beach party earlier that day, but his Casino set later that night was the one that really caught our attention. We were literally walking through the Casino on our way to another stage when we got stuck in his web of deep trance vibes. Two hours later, we forgot where we were supposed to be going and ended up gambling away a few hundred dollars – well worth it though. This is why we love the Groove Cruise. For the thirty people or so who caught this set and didn’t leave for a second, you got caught up in it just like we did. Good work Mix Masterson and an even killer mohawk dude. Be sure to check out “The Truth”, one of the original songs that Mix Masterson was spinning in the casino.
Day 3 ~ Friday
Following a beautiful day at the private island at Great Stirrup Cay, the Groove Cruise set sail once again on Friday for a day at sea in the waters surroundings the Bahamas. A day at sea meant that the party aboard the ship was going to be in full force with the center of attention being the Main Pool stage. The previously mentioned Incorrect Music afterhours party started at 2 AM on Friday morning with Anthony Attalla and didn’t end until 11 AM with Cocodrills. This was the Incorrect Music party that everyone was looking forward to and it did not disappoint as it set up a staggering amount of music on Friday- a total of 33 hours of non-stop dancing under the stars and sun of the Bahamas. Following Cocodrills’ set, we found our Thursday night bleeding into Friday afternoon by the time Roger Sanchez took the stage at 3pm on Friday. We had to literally force ourselves to sleep at one point.
Friday night was also the opening of one of our favorite venues on the boat – the Bliss Ultra Lounge. This small room tucked away on the back of the ship on floor 7 was decked out in oversized beds and lounge furniture with a rich Bohemian theme. The dark mahogany and red colors in the room cast a spell over the venue, making it the perfect location for those sets that could touch your soul. Sydney Samson, Scooter and Bynon opened Bliss with an old school hip hop party that provided a very different vibe from the rest of the ship. It was a dance party to the tunes of some of hip hop’s early pioneers, but Friday night was ruled by some of the Groove Cruise’s most loyal performers.
Favorite Set: Darude in the Theatre
It’s a testament to just how good this set was when you figure that ATB played just before Darude took the stage. But the hour set from 4am to 5am thrown down by Darude was the one we couldn’t stop talking about for the rest of the cruise. This was narration and DJing combined, as the dance music pioneer spent a significant amount of time on the microphone introducing classic techno songs to the crowd before mixing them into his set. An abbreviated history of dance music was being served and Darude was the professor. The pinnacle of the set came at the very end when Darude asked the theatre crowd to chant “We Love Groove Cruise”. He then asked for 15 seconds of patience as he turned the live recording of the chant into the chorus of an original mix. The “We Love Groove Cruise” song slowly morphed into the iconic “Sandstorm” to close the set. Everyone who witnessed that set left with their jaws on the floor. This was one of those wow moments that only the Groove Cruise can serve.
Favorite Party: Scotty Boy, Dean Mason, Feenixpawl, Louis Dee & Bam Bam Buddha in the Atrium
The Atrium was another venue that we loved on the Groove Cruise Miami. With a winding staircase that brought you to a second level with seating and a small floor that made the room feel intimate, the Whet Travel team did an excellent job of transforming the guest services area of the ship into an intimate club-like atmosphere. Who rocked the Atrium the best? The combination of Scotty Boy, Dean Mason and Feenixpawl on Friday night was tough to beat. All three acts are long time Groove Cruise performers who can always be found on the boat having a good time and enjoying the cruise. Feenixpawl’s modern classic “In My Mind” captured the audience in it’s huge chorus and breakdown. All three brought out their best sets of the cruise for this party. It wouldn’t be the Groove Cruise without these three doing their thing for their Groove Cruise family. The crowd knew this was special as well, as the Atrium was packed from 7:30 PM until 2:30 AM. Dean Mason put on a particularly great show in the Atrium feeding off of his loyal #TeamAddicted fans and the party people filling the venue. Dean continuously called back to an original deep house beat that made this set distinctly different from his other performances on the cruise. With one hand spinning in circles above his head and the other on the deck mixing, Dean had the crowd in a frenzy.
“I closed my eyes and felt the entire crowd and myself come together as one. The energy in the air was just magical.”
– Dean Mason
We chatted with Groove Cruise veteran Amy who was blown away by the final set of the party provided by Louis Dee and Bam Bam Buddha. They kept the party going until 2:30 AM and left a lasting impression on old and new fans.
Louis and Bam Bam’s atrium set was one of the highlights of the cruise as they brought the same intensity and energy similar to their pool deck set during the sail away party. Both the temperature and energy level was extremely high during their extended set in the pact atrium. The drums were always on point as the duo feed off one another. A true testament of their love for performance.
– Amy, Groove Cruise Miami veteran and attendee
That Didn’t Just Happen: ATB singing live vocals
We have to give credit to ATB for his headlining set in the Theatre. ATB was one of the DJs who really put himself out there on the cruise. He was aboard the ship the whole time, checking out shows with his manager and being readily available to fans. If you didn’t run into ATB in the elevator, at a show, or going up the stairs, you must have been sleeping in your room the whole time. It’s great to see an artist with as much star power as André making himself at home on the Groove Cruise. That is one of the many things that makes this experience so unique compared to other music festivals. But when André decided to pick up the mic to actually sing the vocals (auto-tuned of course) to close his set following his now decade old classic “Ecstasy”, we had to get closer to the stage to make sure we were actually seeing this right. We’ve seen ATB live throughout the years, but we’ve never seen him so accessible and we have definitely never seen him sing vocals live on a track!
Continue to the next page for our Day 4 recap and more…