Gainesville, Florida used to be a hub for EDM. Paul van Dyk played his first U.S. show in the college town, and a club called Simon’s brought the likes of Carl Cox, John Digweed & Sasha, and more on a weekly basis. The city eventually enacted “rave laws” that forced clubs to close at 2 a.m., effectively killing the scene. In years since, many promoters and clubs have attempted to reinvigorate the scene of the city. This year may go down as one of Gainesville’s most dismal concert years, but a year-end show from a rising EDM rookie gave hope for the city’s concert future.
On December 10, Alliance Events & Nightlife, in collaboration with Lucid Nightlife and Over Easy Events, brought Mija to the new Simon’s for her sick.af world tour. Mija came to prominence after playing an impromptu b2b set with Skrillex at Bonnaroo in 2014, and has since signed with OWSLA, released a remix for Major Lazer, and toured everywhere from the United States to Japan. After great opening sets from local Florida DJs Les Voss and Alex Wood, Mija took to the stage with a huge smile on her face.
Mija’s mantra rejects traditional genre labels, so much that she lists “fk a genre” as her genre tag on her Facebook page. This became especially clear during her eclectic set, which switched gears faster than a Formula One car. Mija deftly maneuvered genres such as trap, future bass, bass house, house, and dubstep. Mija strongly represented OWSLA throughout her set, playing tracks like Skrillex’s remix of G.T.A.’s “Red Lips,” and took some time to showcase her Major Lazer remix of “b2tegether” and her Ghastly and Lil Jon collaboration “Crank It.” Closing with Big Wild’s remix of “Show Me Love” by Hundred Waters, Mija fittingly brought the night to a bass-heavy end.
Gainesville has struggled with packing out clubs in recent years, especially around midterm and finals periods. With finals looming for many students, it was a pleasant surprise to see Mija bring so many attendees to the show. Gainesville concerts also grapple with low turnouts on non-weekend days, but this Thursday show packed out Simon’s as well as any weekend show in recent memory.
Simon’s still lacks nuanced sound design, with the mids of most songs getting drowned out by poorly managed bass. Despite the sound issues, the show’s attendees jumped and hollered during every drop. The lighting proved to be the production highlight, showering attendees in shades of red, blue, green, and everything in between. The club desperately needs improvements, but it did a sufficient job in hosting Mija’s first-ever Gainesville show. Here’s hoping for more Gainesville concerts from Alliance in the future.