By Kat Bein
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Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Pitchfork. Sasquatch, Coachella, Summerfest. Aside from the hundreds of rocking performances and the crowds of thousands, the one thing all of these festivals have in common is that they won't be in your back yard this summer. Sucks. Miami is a hot spot, sure, but not for massive musical events. Getting sweaty, sunburned, and stoned at a summer festival is mostly reserved for places renowned for their camping, not for their heat. Whether it's because of global warming or Tom Tancredo, Miami seems to be the nation's black sheep when it comes to epic outdoor concerts.
Yet what the Magic City lacks in quantity during the summer it makes up for in diversity. Upcoming performances include the Police, Morrissey, and Ozzy Osbourne, as well as jazz and experimental hip-hop.
Nearly a month after headlining Bonnaroo in Tennessee, the recently reunited Police will perform July 10 at Dolphin Stadium (2269 Dan Marino Blvd., Miami Gardens; 305-623-6100, www.dolphinstadium.com). This 30-year-old three-piece ruled rock music in the Eighties by combining reggae and punk with the mystique that comes with a lead singer named Sting. Ticket prices range from $50 to $225, but chances are if you simply show up the day of the show, there will be more than a few elderly couples you can mug instead.
If you're looking for a musician just as old but more melancholy, wait a week and catch Morrissey July 14 at Mizner Park's Centre for the Arts Amphitheater (433 Plaza Real, Boca Raton; 561-362-0606, www.miznerpark.com). After lending his vocals to the English rock band the Smiths (before they broke up in 1986, a year after the Police split), Morrissey has spent the past twenty years crooning woefully and dramatically about love and death with such affect that whether he means to be taken seriously remains unknown. But with melodies as obviously catchy as the lyrics are just plain obvious, Morrissey is not an act to be missed.
For performances that are equally sad but with less style, there's always the Vans Warped Tour. Now in its thirteenth year, this annual traveling pop-punk parade gathers roughly a hundred bands and delivers them to a crowd of mostly high school kids who, nearing the end of adolescence, have yet to realize that wearing black jeans and T-shirts outdoors in Miami is never, ever a good idea. The tour will stop here July 21 at Bicentennial Park (1075 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-358-7550), and will feature bands like New Found Glory, Bad Religion, and the Starting Line. For $31 a ticket, it's almost worth it to see what the death of punk looks like.
A few small indie rap groups you might have heard of -- the Wu-Tang Clan, the Roots, Public Enemy -- will perform August 4 at the annual Rock the Bells festival at Bayfront Park Amphitheater (301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-358-7550, www.bayfrontparkmiami.com). Cypress Hill, Nas, and Erykah Badu are also on the bill.
Ozzfest, the final concert event to hit South Florida, will arrive at the Sound Advice Amphitheatre (601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach; 561-795-8883, www.soundadviceamp.com) August 30, because nothing makes for a better season closer than a band with a name like Hatebreed. Playing alongside other heavy-metal and death bands like Lamb of God, 3 Inches of Blood, and, of course, Ozzy, Hatebreed will offer one of many opportunities for spectators to hear the sound of anger incarnate. The fest has taken place annually since 1996, and this year there's a new twist: Tickets are free. Perhaps the Osbournes were worried about losing too many audience members to Kelly Clarkson, who was to have performed at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise the same night -- until her tour was abruptly canceled earlier this month.
If massive crowds or expensive admission prices don't fit your patience or budget, there are always more affordable yet equally fun ways to get your musical fix. Take Studio A (60 NE Eleventh St., Miami; 305-358-ROCK, www.studioamiami.com): Though barely a year old, the New York club-style spot has already hosted local hip-hop icons such as Mayday! and indie rock stalwarts like the Walkmen and Yo La Tengo. Few venues in Miami have endured as musical havens, and even fewer have done so while teetering between dance club and rock club, while satisfying the needs of both. Fiction Plane, the rock band touring with the Police, will perform there July 12.
And, of course, there's always Churchill's (5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807, www.churchillspub.com). The legendary pub that has been welcoming South Florida musical acts for years will continue to do the same through a barrage of interesting shows. Events like July 13's Indie Rock Showcase, featuring Miami's own indie hotshot Humbert, are scattered throughout the summer, offering opportunities for locals to see and hear locals. Jazz Monday, an indispensable Churchill's routine in which a few Miami jazz bands jam for hours while artists perform spoken-word poetry on the stage outside, will take place every Monday night.
If the jazz at Churchill's seems too pedestrian, go to the Arturo Sandoval Jazz Club (Deauville Beach Resort, 6701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-403-7565, www.arturosandovaljazzclub.com), which will host multiple performances every week, including one by Kool and the Gang drummer Skip Martin on July 26.
Last there's the little-known Wallflower Gallery (10 NE Third St., Miami; 305-579-0069, www.wallflowergallery.com), an art venue that houses local musicians plus visual displays and open-mike poetry nights. Upcoming performances are a mixed batch that includes acoustic rocker Teri Catlin on July 7 and hip-hop artist Zeero the Lyrical Messiah on July 27.
It's true that Miami lacks enough musical steam to power seasonal concerts as epic as Coachella and Bonnaroo. But saying goodbye to summer with Hatebreed? We must be doing something right.