For rock bands of a left-field and perhaps nondanceable bent, it’s still pretty damn hard to get taken seriously in this town. Now, imagine how much harder it would have been 30 years ago, before the artsy Miami renaissance of the past decade or so, and worse, before social media. Yet South Florida’s OG punks and New Wavers persevered — and even thrived — in this bizarre and hostile climate. The old-school scene produced some of the most storied acts still discussed by fans and historians of local music: Jello Biafra-approved the Eat, the rootsy Charlie Pickett and the Eggs, and others.
At the ground level of it all was Gregory McLaughlin, who fronted his own band, the Front. In the ensuing years, McLaughlin branched out from music into visual art and film, and finally combined all of his interests into one extensive labor of love: Invisible Bands. The recently completed documentary traces the rise of all of McLaughlin’s old buddies from that circuit, combining live footage from the period with new interviews. Besides McLaughlin’s own band, the Eat, and Pickett, other bands appearing in the doc include the Reactions, Critical Mass, and the Cichlids.
Some of these vets will appear at the premiere of the movie this Saturday at Cinema Paradiso. After the screening, Pickett himself will headlines and other acts, from Rat Bastard to Mr. Entertainment and the Pookiesmackers, promise both originals and covers of songs by bands in the film. A show of visual works by some of these musicians-turned-artists rounds out the affair, and proceeds from the evening will go to the Stranahan High School music department.
Sat., March 31, 7:30 p.m., 2012
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