By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
The best thing that happened to me last week was getting to see my dad. Trust me, you don't want to hear about the worst.
That Natural Causes thing's pretty cool, they won some money and support from Tanqueray, good for them, they deserve it. Just one little payback is all. Winning that contest -- even if it meant "beating" 1000 other bands from around the nation -- doesn't validate Miami's music scene and it doesn't validate the Causes. Neither one needs any validation.
And Greg Brown at the Talkhouse? I might exaggerate but I don't lie. Playing the most accessible and smooth show I've ever seen him play, Brown clearly satisfied a packed 'House. Later he told me he was going deep-sea fishing the next day, that he and his family were not directly affected by the floods in the Midwest, and other stuff I can't remember because I was still blown away by the show. Then Nil Lara and his posse smoked the joint for the next several hours. What a party.
It took a death in the family, but my father, George, spent Thursday night in Miami, at my brother Doug's house, where all four Baker boys sat around munching grilled steak and corn, drinking some brews, and reminiscing with the only man on this planet I truly respect. (People from the 'hood dropped by to say hello, including JB, who my dad still calls "Wink," a blast from the past that. JB irritated my dad by calling him "Mr. Baker, sir." What my dad might not know is that people call him "sir" even behind his back.) Dad recalled the time my brother Roger was told by a teacher that he could never learn civics. After some time and a transfer to another school, ol' Rog won a trophy A as civics student of the year. My dad took the trophy to Roger's old school, looking for the pessimistic teacher, or, rather, a particular orifice on that teacher's body into which Pa was inclined to forcibly insert said trophy. And the time some school official confiscated brother Chuck's baseball cap. My dad used to practice golf in the schoolyard when school was closed, which it was when he walked over to a gate, holding the nine iron with a firm yet flexible grip, had the school opened and the cap returned posthaste. And the time...yeah, that's what we need more of -- time.
Correction, yes, but for once, like I used to say when I was a little kid, it wasn't my fault. I told them to pull this item and hold it for this week, but they got distracted and forgot. To anyone who went to Reunion Room last week to see arena-worthy rockers Voidville -- whose guitarist, Sturgis Nikides, I should note, is, in my opinion, more talented than Bob Dylan -- and Falling Corpses, sorry. That show's tomorrow, Thursday, November 4. For sure.
Velvet Taxi is looking for a new guitarist, call 672-8062 and leave your contact info. Their next show is November 30 at the Talkhouse.
Miami band Anger is recording with Tom Bowker after signing to Germany's Steamhammer label.
Shows up: Zen Dog learns new tricks tomorrow (Thursday) at Coyote. The Dark creeps into Rockandy on Sunday. The band with the biggest street buzz in town, Day by the River, plays Churchill's Hideaway on Friday. Broken Spectacles are slated for Button South tomorrow (Thursday). Big Love plays Friday at Reunion and Saturday at a church in Lakeland (813-859-1465). The Lakeland show will be filmed by Z-TV, and Big Love might get a video out of it A "We'll try to get it on Latin MTV." Tonight (Wednesday) the Talkhouse smokes again with Live Bait, Rich Lyles, and Foreign Affairs. Also tonight, Johnny Tonite plays the Plus 5, where the Goods are slated this Friday. Also on Friday (getting dizzy yet?) Tuen plays the Rathskeller at the University of Miami, a wonderful place threatened by budgetary problems. Over the past twenty years the Rat has hosted some amazing shows -- Meat Puppets and the Chant come to mind -- and deserves support. The beer's cold, the food's great (especially their burgers and spicy fries), the service exemplary.
Butthorn of the week: Monster Magnet, who played at the Edge last Wednesday and, our complainant says, decided the crowd wasn't large enough for them. So they played only three songs. "They're this awesome psychedelic band I waited three years to see live and they pull this rock star bullshit."
The media circus: Back in the mid-Eighties, when I worked at the Miami News (you remember the Miami News, don'tcha?) there were some really cool people there. The legendary Billie O'Day, my partner/mentor Tom Jicha, my boss Daisy Harris (who once partied with the Replacements and who helped me get the job I now have), too many others to name. Chris "Johnny Punk Rock" Potash was my main homey there, then he went to Paris to study art and ended up in New York and the book biz. Another cool guy at the News was Serge Kovaleski. Serge used to send these cryptic wordgroups through the computer system. Many of those have been compiled, with accompanying illustrations by Philadelphia artist Andy Ferrence, in a chapbook called Jack-hammered Genesis. Samples: "I think therefore I am somewhere where I should not be alone" and "Soup children frolic in the Danish dew." You can get a copy by sending six bucks to Jack-hammered Genesis, 416 E. 9th St., #14A, New York,