5:15 p.m., Main Stage One
He may be a white guy from Melbourne, Australia, but, of all the artists who come to mind when watching Ben Piant perform as Miami Horror, Prince is the foremost among them.
On record, songs like "Soft Light" and "Moon Theory" are pure electropop confection, each a slice of '80s synth cheesecake served cool but not cold. But performed live, stripped down and cranked up, the songs take on a bit of rock 'n' roll energy.
Performing as a four-piece with a drummer, Piant on vocals and guitar and two sidemen swapping keys, bass and percussion -- frequently changing instruments mid-song -- Miami Horror managed to warm the crowd up capably once they themselves got warmed up.
Piant seemed to be in good spirits despite a slightly raspy voice and a
lack of sleep after their set at the Echoplex in L.A. the night before.
By the end of their second song, "Don't Be On With Her," Piant was
posing with one foot on the barricade in front of the stage and jacking
off his guitar.
Throughout the set, he exuded a warm affability at odds with the painfully cool demeanor typical of his chillwave contemporaries; it's hard to imagine his "Holidays" collaborator Alan Palomo making "More cowbell!" cracks, or enthusiastically spouting "Thank you so much -- that was quite a mouthful!" and then repeating an audience member's inevitable "That's what she said!"
The crowd's energy level and numbers grew slowly from about 100 head-nodders to perhaps twice that many people swaying and moving. By set closer "Holidays" (no surprise guest appearance by Palomo, in case you were wondering) Miami Horror proved a perfectly appropriate warm-up act for !!!. Their disposable but fun electropop jams managed to break in the crowd's dancing shoes -- but without once threatening to overshadow the act to follow.