Few institutions in the world of underground dance music saw as much success over the past year as did Crosstown Rebels. The label and all around tour-de-force helmed by Damian Lazarus brought forth artists like Maceo Plex, Art Department, and Subb-An, shaping a unique niche in deep house and techno culture.  In many ways, the 7th edition of Crosstown’s Get Lost party at Miami’s Electric Pickle was a celebration of the group’s achievements to-date, as well as a hint of things to come.


Photo Credit: Elena Gorelik


Photo Credit: Elena Gorelik


Photo Credit: Elena Gorelik


Photo Credit: Elena Gorelik

By the time the party began at 5am, a line had already wrapped around the corner of North Miami Avenue and 29nd street. As the door attendants patiently wristbanded each eager fan, we poured one by one into the Pickle’s dark interior. On the entry floor, Robert James began the night in expert fashion with smooth and slow beats for tired ears. Many clubbers and artists retired temporarily to the outdoor terrace area, where the music would not begin for another few hours. The eclectic nature of the Pickle seemed a perfect choice for a party beginning at 5am and ending at midnight – throughout the course of the day, patrons enjoyed the opportunity to play foosball, purchase vintage clothing, and eat a delicious meal of Jamaican jerk chicken and rice. Of course, all of these were only distractions from the real events. At 5:30am, the Pickle’s upstairs room opened up, where Bill Patrick started things off before main man Mr. Lazarus took the reigns. Set times were pasted to a few of the Pickle’s doors, and it seemed everyone had their alarms set to 7am for Damian. When I approached the stairs to head up, the line was as thick as the one outside the venue.


Photo Credit: Elena Gorelik


Photo Credit: Elena Gorelik


Photo Credit: Elena Gorelik


Photo Credit: Elena Gorelik

Upstairs at the Pickle was a perfect fit for Mr. Lazarus and his unique style of dark, twisted, yet accessible dance music. The red lights and cold walls are reminiscent of Berlin’s Tresor nightclub, once a symbol for its burgeoning techno scene. Upon entering the room, we were greeted by a throng of barely visible bodies and heavy cigarette smoke. A single red lamp illuminated the DJ booth and the large sign under it that reads “REVOLT.” Damian delivered a set with haunting vocals and chugging beats, including staples “You and I” by Fur Coat and his own collaboration with James What, “Rise Before Zod.” Art Department’s Kenny Glasgow and Jonny White picked up where Damian left off and carried the crowd further into the depths of naughty deep house.


Photo Credit: Elena Gorelik


Photo Credit: Elena Gorelik


Photo Credit: Elena Gorelik

As the sun came out, the terrace area filled up and played host to special performances all day, among them an excellent tag-team set from Culprit label boss and Droog artist Andrei Osyka with Leftroom’s Matt Tolfrey, and another strong showing from Infinity Ink. Throughout the afternoon and evening, partiers gathered in numbers on the floor, couches, and platforms of the terrace, shielded from the heat by loosely hung mesh netting and trees. The large outdoor area provided just enough nooks and crannies to escape the heat of the dancefloor and take a breather, before plunging back in to the throng of gyrating bodies. As Damian himself says in his Lazpod 23 podcast, “this was the year that girls took control on the dancefloor,” and this party was no exception. As the underground emerges from a period of minimal, “guy” music, we continue to see strong support from the fairer sex. The evening ended with the “Rebel Team” (Jamie Jones, Damian Lazarus, and others) delivering a series of emotional and groovy deep house jams. The music selection traversed techno, house, and more expertly, with one notable song featuring a long, uplifting orchestral melody that would have contented a fan of any sort.


Photo Credit: Amin KO Beydoun


Photo Credit: Amin KO Beydoun


Photo Credit: Amin KO Beydoun


Photo Credit: Amin KO Beydoun


Photo Credit: Amin KO Beydoun


Photo Credit: Amin KO Beydoun


Photo Credit: Amin KO Beydoun

Almost 30 artists from a variety of backgrounds contributed to the day’s festivities, giving the event a thoroughly well-rounded musical selection while reminding clubbers of dance music’s history and continuity. Veterans like Sasha joined the bill alongside newcomers Francesca Lombardo and Danny Daze. Each performer endowed the event with a personal style, exemplified by artists like Mr. C, dressed in flowing white robes, weaving a magic web of esoteric disco on closed-eyed dancers.


Photo Credit: Amin KO Beydoun


Photo Credit: Amin KO Beydoun


Photo Credit: Amin KO Beydoun


Photo Credit: Amin KO Beydoun


Photo Credit: Amin KO Beydoun

Ultimately, Get Lost at the Pickle revealed a feeling that many share: underground dance music is a way of life. Fans from the US and destinations as far as Africa combined forces to create a diverse, educated, and vibrant atmosphere. The Electric Pickle was truly a home for almost 24 hours, where guests were entertained, inspired, and even clothed and fed. With many more exciting releases to come on Crosstown and labels like it, it can be safely said that the hunger for underground dance music in the US and abroad is nothing if not on the rise.

For more information on the Crosstown Rebels click here.

Find out more about our photographers Elena Gorelik and Amin KO Beydoun here and here.

Listen to Damian Lazarus on Pulse Radio.