Best of Miami 2014: Music & Clubs Winners
Game On! We did it! The Best of Miami 2014 is complete!
Places to eat, places to meet people, places to go pee in public ... This annual issue's got it all.
Of course, though, we here at Crossfade are most hyped to discuss the 305's top tuneage and party spots.
Just check the cut for Best Band, Best Rock Club, Best Music Festival, Best Dance Club, and the rest of this year's music & clubs winners.
See also: Best of Miami 2014
Best Band: Deaf Poets
In a city dominated by hip-hop and EDM, it's tough for a band to cut through all the noise -- even when it's rocking out at 11 with buzzing guitars and hard-hitting drumming. Truth is, it takes songwriting chops and an engaging live show to snag the Magic City's attention, no matter how loud you crank the amps. Duo Sean Wouters and Nicolas Espinosa have hit on the perfect combination of aggression and craft. Wouters, a Miami Beach native, and Espinosa, an Argentine who moved to Miami as a kid, met in elementary school and have spent years finding a musical groove together. Since 2009, they've played as Deaf Poets, bringing together garage rock and grunge for an oddly '90s yet contemporary sound. The pair just wrapped up a small U.S. tour around the South and parts of the Midwest to celebrate the release of their debut full-length, 4150, an album featuring plenty of indie-rock goodness in cuts such as "Can't Breathe" and "This Pain." And with smaller indie labels always eying South Florida for the next big thing (see Surfer Blood and Jacuzzi Boys), it's only a matter of time before someone picks up these guys. This is exactly the kind of racket that's worth tuning out the DJ.
Best Rock Club: Fillmore Miami Beach
The ghosts of Jackie Gleason and Jerry Garcia roam these halls. Opened in 1950 as the Miami Beach Auditorium, this 3,500-person theater was South Beach's chosen stage for Broadway-style musicals, world-class boxing exhibitions, and cameos by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bob Hope, and other cocktail-set celebrities. By 1964, it had become the official "home," as the façade proclaimed, "of The Jackie Gleason Show." And though the Great One's SoBe run lasted only six years, he earned a new moniker, Mr. Miami Beach, and the auditorium was permanently renamed in his honor. Four decades later, the ex-hippies finally moved into 1700 Washington Ave. and turned it into the southernmost outpost of Live Nation's Fillmore music venue franchise, named after the San Francisco original where Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, and so many classic '60s rock bands became legends. Though almost constantly under threat of demolition as part of Miami Beach's ongoing pursuit of a 21st-century convention center, the Fillmore and all its history remains one of the only reasons that many of the world's biggest rock bands -- from Vampire Weekend to Modest Mouse and Queens of the Stone Age -- even bother visiting our city. And now with the sale of Churchill's Pub, the planned relocation of Tobacco Road, and the surprise closure of the Vagabond, Miami music fans and local opening bands such as Jacuzzi Boys need this storied old joint more than ever. As Jackie (dressed as leather-daddy Elvis) once said: "Noooooow, let's rock it and let's roll it, maaaaaan."
Best Music Festival: III Points
A lot of music festivals have come and gone, but rarely is there one that really tries to surpass Miami's expectations. III Points did exactly that last October with a massive effort to rally Miami's neighborhood du jour, Wynwood, through music, art, and technology. Mana Wynwood Production Village served as the central hub, which featured performances by DJ Shadow, James Murphy, XXYYXX, and Jamie xx. The performances spilled over into nearby venues such as Bardot, Gramps, and Grand Central. A highlight was the Juan MacLean set at Gramps, which turned the perennial indie music venue into a house lover's paradise. But if you really dived headfirst into III Points, you would have discovered a seemingly endless schedule of events and panels that both entertained and educated attendees. The most surprising thing was that founders David Sinopoli and Erica Freshman were able to pull the whole event off with only two months of preparation. It'll be interesting to see what the two can do in 2014 now that they've had a full year to organize.
Photo by Nicole Cussell
Best Dance Club: Space
Last year, Club Space founder Louis Puig sold his stake in the crown jewel of Miami's nightlife scene after 13 years of pushing the dance music mecca into the hearts and minds of booty-shaking people worldwide. How popular is Space? Popular enough that it has to open only once a week, on Saturday nights, to remain profitable. How many other nightclubs can get away with that? Now that new ownership has taken over Space, the best thing they've done so far is leave well enough alone. Except for some minor upgrades here and there, you'll encounter the same ol' familiar venue. This is still the place to go for people who don't want the party to ever end, dancing on the downtown terrace well past sunrise. It has learned to coexist with its new condominium neighbors to the east. But will it survive the encroachment from the planned Miami Worldcenter, the mega-shopping complex due to rise practically next door? Put your money on Space pulling through. In the event of a nuclear fallout, there are two things guaranteed to survive: cockroaches and Club Space.
Want more? See the rest of Best of Miami 2014.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.