It seems as though there is a constant ebb and flow within any club scene over the title of the hottest venue in a given city. I am always hesitant of being hyperbolic and using terms like this, but over the past few weeks I have become convinced that Steam deserves it and is my new favorite club in Miami.
Located in Downtown Miami, local clubbers don’t have to cross the bridge to South Beach to get to the party – actually it’s quite the opposite, they have to get precociously close to one of the more undesirable neighborhoods in Downtown Miami. But what the surrounding location lacks in glitz and glamour is made up for by an abundance of parking and an industrial area creating a nice buffer around the club, separating it from the rest of the city and turning it into it’s own little world.
Called the Vagabond up until a few months ago, this venue is a known nightlife destination in the city, but the similarities between the Vagabond and Steam end at the address. By busting down walls, adding some serious power to the sound-system, and taking full advantage of the patio area, the new management created a magnificent venue of which the promoters have taken full advantage. The party is always jumping at Steam, and a lot of it has to do with the relentless hard work of Humans Alike and Electric Love Productions.
Travis, the talent buyer for Humans Alike, put it best “the goal is simple, the bring the fun back to the party”, and they certainly have, although throughout my conversation with them, another key facet to the plan came to light: they wanted to push the new sounds so they could keep every aspect of the party fresh. In order to get people off of their Instagrams and in to the moment, the crew set up some amenities unique to Steam in South Florida. They have: a BBQ that, according to Giancarlo (Operations Manager), has one of the dankest Churrasco Steak Sandwiches you can get a party; A bar that has consistently strong and fairly priced drinks -- you can trust me on that one; and a sound system that pumps out some of the most relevant and cutting edge sounds of this clubbing season. You can count on Steam for good eats, good drinks, and good beats; talk about a winning combo.
I’ve been there for DJ Sneak on a Saturday and had a great night. The club was packed, the vibe was right, and DJ Sneak was throwing down some classic, banging Tech-House. It’s one of the most fun nights I had in Miami, I would go into more detail of the party but I was having way too much fun to bother making memories.
But don’t get it twisted; Steam isn’t only popping on Friday and Saturday nights! They make full use of their newly renovated patio that they have dubbed ‘Lot 14’ for some killer day parties every Sunday, while their Wednesday nights are reserved for the deeper sounds of the underground. I went to a Dirtybird BBQ party that was on a Wednesday and went from 1PM to 4AM, it was the Shipfam Decompression Party. Totally different vibes than any other time I’ve been to steam, but still, undeniably awesome. I felt like I was back in San Francisco, with the Dirtybird beats, the BBQ wafting outside, the questionable rave attire, and an inordinate amount of man-buns.
So what about Thursdays? Good question! I was thinking the same thing, so I went and checked it out. It was the 18+ night and the headliners for the first month of the weekly were all from the bass/trap end of the EDM spectrum, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect. An underground Techno/Tech-House club hosting 18+ bass parties? We will just have to see.
Turns out, you shouldn’t doubt a promotion crew that has thrown over 1200 parties across 17 States. Electric Love Productions started out as a charity event at the University of Miami, and now is one of the biggest 18+ event promotion groups in the nation – and one of the only ones with a philanthropic background. Their work fighting cancer is deserving of an article on its own, so for those of you who are interested in learning a bit more about their history head on over to their website.
University of Miami Alumni and Electric Love Founder Jason Shaw remembers his company’s roots and so he stayed dedicated to their fan-base, keeping their focus on 18+ parties, pursuing their goal of “introducing a new generation to dance music and philanthropy”, a laudable goal that, from my perspective, is being consistently reached.
They are one of the few carryovers from the Vagabond promo crews when the management switched and it is easy to see why: both groups’ mentalities run completely parallel. While most 18 + parties focus on what sells, Electric Love focus on what’s good. They work on educating the young clubbers by bringing in new sounds and using the opening slots as clinics on Dance.
When they had EtcEtc! Come through to spin a couple weeks ago, they had a House & Bass opener throw down some gully tracks for the 11-12:30 set. I loved it, I was shuffling in the corner enjoying a surprisingly highly technical mix. Meanwhile, the club was filling out, and the youngsters were hesitantly getting into the mix. In classic, junior prom fashion, it took two girls – dressed in school girl outfits coincidentally – to go to the middle of the dance floor and start grinding on each other for everyone to know that it’s ok to enjoy the music. All of a sudden, people started shuffling, a dude jumped into a handstand and bounced around the dance floor while some new-age kandi-kids even broke out some Jump-style! They might take a little egging on, but the 18+ crowd at Steam are certainly receptive to new sounds and styles.
It is easy to see that Steam consistently kills it across the board and it is hard to believe that they came this far in just a couple of months. Whether it’s an 18+ Trap party or a 21+ bbq with DJ Sneak, the club pops off; and it is all thanks to the hard work of Humans Alike, Electric Love Productions, the other promo crews and everyone else involved in making every night better than the last. Be sure to keep an eye on Steam's calendar for WMC to see what's popping off at this killer venue! I'm going to be there on Sunday,Monday, and Wednesday.