Churchill's Celebrates 37 Years of Blood, Sweat, and Piss with Over 100 Live Bands

When Dave Daniels opened Churchill's Pub September 1, 1979, he probably didn't think it would still be thriving in Little Haiti 37 years later. But in 2016, the place is still standing. The Soviet Union has broken up, vinyl has died and been revived, and Churchill's is still pouring cold beers over loud music. "We've had so many amazing venues close over the years — we've had no choice but to continue to be Miami's home for live music," says Ian Michael, who handles the booking at Churchill's. Michael wrangled 100 bands to play at Churchill's birthday extravaganza over the course of five nights, this Thursday through Monday. "We work with some of the best people in South Florida who present music. We want to showcase all of them over the weekend," Michael says.

"I've been coming here my whole life."

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Many of the acts that will play at the venue's three stages will be selected by different Miami music luminaries, Michael explains. "Look Alive Fest will be curating a stage. Oski [Gonzalez], who did the music at Tobacco Road, will be curating a stage. Sunday night, from the patio stage, Shake 108 will live-broadcast their Locals Love Show from the event."

Churchill's is also allowing many of the organizers of its popular nights to have some say in the bill. The venue's weekly open-mike night, Words & Wine, will take over the patio stage. Radio Bemba will showcase the best of Latin rock and punk. Churchill's monthly acoustic night will offer a quieter alternative, and, of course, Rat Bastard will present lots and lots of noise.

With an eclectic musical smorgasbord showing off everything from the psychedelic funk of Telekinetic Walrus to the Puerto Rican rock of Message to Venus, Michael is proud of the diversity that Churchill's is representing all these decades later. "I've been coming here my whole life. I remember back in '99, I went to an IDM noise show, and it was the first time I saw Churchill's use multiple stages. Now we’re running most nights with three rooms of entertainment."

A couple of years ago, when Daniels sold Churchill's, there was concern and outright panic in the local music community that the landmark venue would never be the same. Surely the character Churchill's had spent decades cultivating would be swept up by greedy developers, as has happened to so many beloved Miami music venues. But many, Michael included, believe with Churchill's continued support of local music and expansion into out-of-town acts, those worries have been put to rest. "It's been two years since the sale, and we're gaining steam. Thanks to the people who continue to support us, we're able to keep doing what we’ve always been doing."

Churchill's Pub Celebrates 37th Anniversary with Everymen, Askultura, and many others. 8 p.m. Thursday, September 1, to Monday, September 5, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1800; No cover.

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David Rolland is a freelance music writer for Miami New Times. His novels, The End of the Century and Yo-Yo, are available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland