Mutant Makeover: Maceo Plex Delivers Rare Central Florida Set in Orlando [Event Review]

What comes to your mind when you picture Orlando? Packed theme parks? Tourists lining up for hours to see Mickey Mouse? Traffic on highways as far as the eye can see? If you’re a techno or house fan, a Maceo Plex concert is likely the last thing you’d think of in Orlando. Yet, on January 25, Orlando hosted a rare, intimate set from the man himself.

Maceo Plex kicked off his current Mutant Tour in Orlando, a surprise central Florida show for a man who rarely visits the state outside of Miami. The booking marked a huge victory for house and techno fans in the upper half of Florida; outside of a few bookings, Orlando and its neighboring cities have much fewer house and techno shows compared to Miami.

The show took place at Celine, a venue generating a lot of buzz in the Orlando scene. Celine has a wide variety of shows on its calendar, and Maceo Plex’s booking stands out as an intriguing experiment. A very open venue, Celine outfits its stage with impressive LED displays. Well-tuned sound emanates from all its corners, washing attendees with all the highs, mids and lows they crave from the music. Having a bottom floor dance area and an upstairs lounge also add variety to the venue’s space.

Credit: Enmanuel Zabala/Team Market Group

For an experiment into the deeper side of Orlando, the show succeeded in almost all aspects. A healthy, engaged crowd drew to the stage, enjoying a stellar opening set from Miami DJ and producer Jason Rault. Maceo followed with a set that delivered the high energy techno his fans come to expect. Instead of playing the hits, Maceo showcased his DJing skills by playing deep but intense tracks. He sneaked in some bits from a few favorites, but kept it more of his usual DJ set.

Celine’s LED fixtures provided the perfect background for the show’s Mutant-inspired visuals, taking clear inspiration from the art on Maceo’s various Mutant EP releases. While the sound, visuals and crowd exceeded expectations, one big drawback collided with the techno theme of the night: the bottle crowd. VIP areas and blatant bottle services contradicted the darker music, but it’s not all that surprising: house and techno are becoming mainstream. Still, it’s a bit sad to see the bottle crowd theatrics sneak their way into a deeper, more underground scene.

Credit: Enmanuel Zabala/Team Market Group

Overall, the show proved a deeper, techno event can do well in Orlando. Maceo played a great set, Celine proved to be a compatible venue and a packed but respectful crowd visibly enjoyed the show. We hope to see more events like this both at Celine and in Orlando in the future; this could mark the start of a great era for Orlando nightlife.

Cover Photo: Enmanuel Zabala/Team Market Group

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