Still reeling from the success of August's Super Open House, Stone Promotions did it again this past Saturday with a varied bill that rocked the house, brought back memories,and emphasized the spirit of community in time for the holiday season. Keeping in the tradition of the Open Houses from back in the day, the German-American Social Club in west Miami-Dade was chosen as the venue and there was something surreal about the Teutonic scenery pulsating to Latin beats.
Opening up the event were a pair of songs performed by young bilingual singer Elizabeth Elias. And the twelve year old's got some pipes in her.
The Queen's Kids are originally from New York City, formed in 1969. Citizens of South Florida since 1975, they provided a cool counterpoint to the DJ's disco sounds. Doing a set of choice '70s covers, this nine-piece got rocking quickly, even taking on Santana's "Black Magic Woman."
After the Queen's Kids finished up, Coke took the stage to enthusiastic applause and the band hit the ground running with its signature funk-infused Latin jam. After the first song, the band paused for a moment to present Rafael Armenteros' mom with some flowers. Wafy, as he was called back in the Open House days, got his feet wet by attending the parties and fronting the band Heaven.
He passed away in 1979 at the age of 24 from cancer. His mother took the microphone and thanked the musicians, telling a story about busting a 16-year-old Wafy in true Cuban, dragged-out-by-the-ears fashion after he had borrowed the car to go to the "movies."
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Offering a crowd-pleasing revue of songs from the two Coke/Opus albums (plus some cover tunes like "Black Sedan"), the real stingers were "Te Amo Mas," "Sabor a Mi," and "Na Na." Saving "Bang Bang" for last, keyboardist and vocalist Joe Rubio feigned a power outage and got the crowd riled up for a searing conclusion.
Another part of the action was a pair of Marines representing the Toys for Tots campaign. It mirrored the spirit of the Open House scene and the feeling of unity that this generation of musicians and party-goers embodies. It certainly isn't the '70s anymore but the 2000s are rolling along with some righteous tunes and the reemergence of a wonderful musical part of this city's history.