Swedish House Mafia
Photo: Steve Granitz/Getty Images
Swedish House Mafia Shock Ultra 2018 As Surprise Headliner
The five years since Swedish House Mafia closed out Ultra Music Festival 2013 – capping off the final show date of their "One Last Tour" and closing the chapter on what was ostensibly to be their final show together as SHM – have seen vast changes in the landscape of dance music.
Much of the melodic, up-tempo and trance-inspired sounds of progressive house that once universally dominated festival mainstages have been largely replaced by aggressive breaks, dissonant chopped vocals and hard bass drops more akin to turn-up trap music and American dubstep. "Raging" has fully replaced "raving," as some of us might say about the current state of the scene.
So when rumors of an SHM reunion began to quietly circulate about the industry over the past months, then more fervently throughout Miami over the past week as Miami Music Week and Ultra Music Festival 2018 began to kick into high gear, there were certainly questions of how the group's sound would stack up for a new generation of festival goers in an era when the sound of a scene can evolve dramatically in just five years.
Posters teasing SHM's return on the streets of Miami
Photo: Nate Hertweck/Recording Academy
But as fans walking the streets of Miami this past weekend began to notice sly posters incorporating SHM's trademark three circles artwork interpolated with a variety of major brand logos, it became increasingly clear how much rising excitement there was among the gathered crowds over the possibility of seeing Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Steve Angello once again standing next to each other onstage under the banner of Swedish House Mafia.
Welcome back @swedishousemfia! We all missed you!
— Hardwell (@HARDWELL) March 26, 2018
And on Sunday night, as the lights came up on the mainstage after an extended production break setting up the unbelievable displays of high-definition video, lasers and choreographed pyrotechnics, all doubts were washed away.
In an unbelievably high-energy set weaving through every major hit from SHM's remarkably deep catalogue, alongside key productions from all three members' solo careers, the trio also managed to deliver a lesson in deep-cut big room house that festivalgoers will very rarely see on modern mainstages.
I am officially a #SwedishHouseMafia fanboy, got the sweater and all, fell in love with EDM all over again today
— Afrojack (@afrojack) March 26, 2018
From updated renditions of classic SHM tunes like "Leave The World Behind" to a surprising nod to trap music courtesy of a bombastic new remix of the Knife Party-collab track "Antidote," the boys showed that they may have gone their separate ways over the past years, but they certainly have not gone away. In the hours following their closing set – complete with huge sing-alongs of their GRAMMY-nominated tracks "Save The World" and "Don't You Worry Child" and a final encore of the Pharrell Williams-featuring "One (Your Name)" – social media was afire with tweets and posts from DJs and fans around the world lauding the return of the sound of progressive house, and soon #SwedishHouseMafia was one of the top global trending topics on Twitter.
As Axwell proudly announced during the opening chords of "Save The World": "This is not just about Swedish House Mafia getting back together. This is three friends who have not seen each other in five years! …It's Swedish House Mafia for life this time!"