The premise seemed sound enough. Not once but twice last week the Design District's Brit-Pop-and-then-some night Poplife went extracurricular, presenting Rainer Maria and Rilo Kiley last Tuesday at Churchill's and then a K Records showcase at the Polish American Club's Blue Velvet Lounge (it's not really called that), featuring K Records founder Calvin Johnson along with Colonel Wolf and Little Wings. Earlier this month Life also brought to town electroclash phenoms Peaches and Chicks on Speed (also of K Records); Josh Menendez and the mod squad from Revolver showcased Japanese no-wavers Melt-Banana; and Books-N-Books-N-Harmony promoter J.C. Moya brought down Bright Eyes. Thanks to the blood, sweat, and debt of a few passionate promoters, Miami seems now to be firmly on the map as a destination for indie acts.
As a reality check, Shake e-mailed Poplife's Ray Milian: Is it true that Miami is now a destination for interesting indies thanks to the hard work of you all -- or does it just seem that way? The answer was ambiguous: "Yeah, it seems that way. We've been working hard." Hmmmmm. Yeah, it is an indie destination. Yeah, it just seems that way. Either way Shake is on the guest list +1 for the K Records show (why else would anyone take this job, suckers!).
Sure, Revolver had nasty white novelty rapper and self-declared World's Biggest Retard Cex the same night, but what better show to build a column around than a bunch of acts who have U-Hauled their asses and their amps clear across the country from Olympia, Washington? Plus K Records is really cool. Rather than fix on a specific genre, the label reps whoever's got it going on in Olympia. Acting globally, don'tchaknow. The goal, according to the label's Website kpunk.com, is to "explode the teenage underground into passionate revolt against the corporate ogre world-wide."
That's why no one voted; they were all out buying K Records instead.
So Shake straps on her concert wristband only to find the column FOILED! Other than the opening act, local advanced-math-punk-jazz-prog trio Faller, there is hardly anyone here but Ed Artigas (head of local indie label Spy-fi) and a few of his friends. (Good news: Tribute show-monger Artigas promises he is planning an "indie prom" at the Pole club with local acts covering tunes from John Hughes movies; time to iron the crinoline.)
But for now, the sparkling chandeliers scattering light across the empty dance floor are a little too Disney-haunted-mansion. This is clearly not the time or place to revel in Miami's indie clout. (Shoulda gone to Revolver, but I don't like Cex.)
"The Tuesday-night show was really good," lifer Barbara Basti assures New Times. (Shoulda gone out Tuesday night.) "There were lots of people there for [Rainer Maria and Rilo Kiley]. It's just these [K Records] people are really DYI. Not that many people know who they are. And there's so much going on tonight, so many art events."
The art scene that ate the Miami music scene.
See, as fast as Miami's indie music scene is growing, the art scene is growing faster. Not even Andrew Yeomanson -- the world's most omnipresent DJ -- can spin at an art gallery and a club at the same time. Le Spam is still throwing down in artland when Shake shows up for the reheated Friday Hot Pants Room on the inaugural night of the newest incarnation of the joint formerly known as Two Last Shoes (beneath the blinking Bar Liquor sign on North Miami Avenue at NE 29th Street). But the space, now the Slak Lounge, is already funk-da-fied by the funk 45s of fellow DJs Seamstar and Jelo-pufs. Gone is the jukebox jammed with bachata and Tejano favorites and gone too are all those Central American cowboys who loved 'em. But what the place lacks in slummin' frisson, it makes up for with the cute matching striped tube dresses on the very bright, very young barmaids and the generally boho atmosphere.
"We're trying to keep it very lounge," says Phoenix, one of Slak Lounge's new proprietors. Translation: Don't look for any of your favorite indie acts here, but when the show is over or you're over the show, there's a big overstuffed couch and some kind of blue drink waiting for you. Don't worry, the new kids kept the pool table.
Oops: Hey Aspiring Songwriters, the Master Class in Songwriting featuring Andreas Carlsson (ASCAP Songwriter of the Year 2001) mentioned in last week's music section as starting at 8:00 p.m., is actually starting at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 21, at the University of Miami's Gusman Hall. Call for reservations, 305-284-4614. Don't be late.
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