By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
By Karli Evans
By Jose D. Duran
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
Axe-wielding marauders from the City of Progress take charge of Churchill's stage on Saturday.
With all the punk and metal bands in and around Miami, it's amazing that Dave Daniels and his Churchill's crew are still still carrying the scene around here almost single-handedly. That fact isn't lost on this weekend's visiting team of Hialeah-based bands. "We think there's a lot of talent and heart in this city," says Doug Mac-Kinnon, drummer for Latin hardcore vets Guajiro. "It's just a bit dormant at this time."
Whatever grind-metal/punk scene may have existed in the area before now, the bands are basically starting from scratch. "It's tough for the younger kids to get the ball rolling," MacKinnon explains. "The bands from the old scene have mostly either broken up or moved to other cities." And there's not much help forthcoming from the media. "There isn't one radio station that plays punk rock, or even new, generic rock for that matter," he says.
In spite of the myriad challenges it faced at the local level, Guajiro roped itself a decent record deal last year, signing with Belgium-based I Scream Records. MacKinnon is outwardly excited about finding a home for the band's music, which breaks down as a Spanish Dropkick Murphys doing its damnedest to sound like the Ramones in a smackdown with Korpiklaani. The band's first record is due out May 15. "After that, we're planning to get to Puerto Rico and the West Coast," MacKinnon says. "The label is planning to put us on the European festival circuit this summer, which would get us out to Holland, Germany, France, and Scandinavia. We're also talking to the promoter from Rock El Parque in Bogota, Colombia, and hopefully we'll get down there for that show this fall."
All Life Ends, one of Hialeah's best-drawing grindcore bands, could also use a shot of local love, or at least peace and understanding. "We've noticed that slowly but surely different venues are starting to have 'metal nights'," notes drummer Luke Hooper, who will also be playing for Hatchetface on Saturday. "That's good to see, but if we truly want a metal scene back in Miami, both bands and fans alike need to stop taking themselves so seriously." He lodges a complaint that's commonly heard all over the country. "The scene shouldn't be about competition," he says, "but discovering new bands, forming new friendships, supporting each other, and building a sense of community. This cannot be accomplished if everybody leaves the second their friends are finished playing onstage."
Amen to that. How about a ground rule for Saturday's show? Everybody shows up at 8:00 p.m. and stays for last call. It's up to you, fans, if you want the scene to happen.