Saturday, July 31, 2011
Better Than: An electric pickle.
Afrobeta brought back the rave days, minus the creepy dilated pupils and begging to be blown up. The stage was decorated with old toys, cracked-out dolls, a trippy pigeon, and a token My Little Pony staring silently at the crowd.
Singer Cuci Amador even brought her television from home to screen some cartoons. Lazer lights and a smoke machine spoke of the '90s party days. But instead of a warehouse or old club, we were outside in the 3,000 degree Miami nighttime summer heat.
The two main things that weren't all raved out was Amador in a beautiful flowing white dress and Y-3 sneakers and Tony Smurphio's perfectly shaped afro. Joining them onstage to complete the sound were drummer Nabedi Osorio from State of and JJ Freire of Suenalo.
They kicked off the set with a song, "Jealousy," off their upcoming album Under the Streets, featuring a guest performance by Suenalo MC Amin de Jesus who rapped enthusiastically onstage. Next was "That Thing" which Amador noted they couldn't play at the Identity Festival. The tour is how the duo will be spending the next few weeks.
The next surprise was an appearance by Ben Shahoulian, disguised in spooky mask spitting poetry about sex and drugs, among other things. "Land of Lost Lovers" got everybody dancing. The smoke pumped and Amador asked if the crowd would sing with her. They complied.
All of a sudden it was like '90s, what? Afrobeta was covering Nirvana's "Lithium." It was a pretty heavy, sexy interpretation of the grunge classic. Amador announced this was the last time they would be playing Miami for awhile and encouraged everyone to make friends. Certainly, there were more than a few strangers caught up in half-drunken dancing.
This may have been the last time Cuci and Tony play their hometown for a bit. But Afrobeta will be doing the kind of missionary work that Miami needs, bringing 305 party sensibilities to the rest of the nation. Bon Voyage!
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Personal bias: Raves were fun.
Overheard in the crowd: "This is the last time we'll see them play at a small venue."
The crowd: 100-percent Miami.