Fang and South Florida Friends Destroyed Churchill's Pub, December 22


With No Fraud, Powerhouse, To Be Hated, Out of Sorts, and FWA

Presented by Idle Hands

Churchill's Pub, Miami

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Better Than: An Xmas weekend spent with anything besides loud abrasive music and old friends, reminiscing about those who are no longer here, in a sea of cold suds and an actual wintry evening in South Florida.

The man formerly known as Sam McBride has paid his due to society, spending six years in prison for strangling his girlfriend Dixie Lee Carney to death in August 1989 while high on heroin.

There is such a thing as rehabilitation. And while he'll never escape that dark moment in the past, Sammytown (as he's known to Fang fans) forges along with the one thing that ever made sense to him -- punk rock.

See also:

-Concert Review: Pig Destroyer Laid Siege to Churchill's Pub

-Concert Review: Holly Hunt's Year One Release Show With Torche at Churchill's Pub

-Sam McBride: Between Punk Rock and a Hard Place

This is not a story of his past. This is actually more a tale of our past here in South Florida, and how punk rock does get better with age. The proof: Saturday night at Churchill's Pub.

It is a well-known fact that Fang was formed in 1980. But over the weekend, the real blast from the past was witnessing not one, not two, but three classic South Florida punk bands reuniting on the same stage for perhaps the first time in 20-odd years.

The fine folks behind Idle Hands did everything right this night, from a food drive to assist in feeding the homeless during the holiday season to booking a legendary and pioneering punk band to grace Churchill's stage after fourteen years (and the relatively small hike of $4 on the price of admission), and then the Idle crew went even further by bringing in two old-school hardcore acts, Powerhouse and FWA, to set the mood for Venice Beach's renowned No Fraud, who'd be calibrating the night for Fang.

Still not satisfied, the promoters jumped at the opportunity of hosting a short, completely unpracticed set by Miami's famous 1980s house party/backyard punk band Genetic Mistake in memory and honor of fallen member Eric "Puke" Rivers, who passed away this year in a Minneapolis workplace shooting that claimed four dead victims and four injured. In his honor, a few Misfits' songs were performed as Ren Acosta, Juan Montoya, and Fausto Figueredo did right by their friend.

Powerhouse, helmed by the always charismatic Tim Pryce, opened the night. And at this point, Churchill's audience members were mostly in the low- to mid-40s range, and the few youngins who straggled around were clearly toddlers back when this band's crucial seven-inch was repressed by New Age Records.

Oh well ... Genetic Mistake followed and it should also be noted, for those in the know, that while they did not perform, the first official photograph of Misguided Children, a sister act of sorts, was snapped at the show, 24 years after the group disbanded; another old-timey Juan Montoya venture!

Misguided Children.
Misguided Children.
Photo by Melissa Billingsley

There is a great expression in Cuban slang that goes: (A) Raise your hand; (B) Bring down hard on some fool's head; and (C) Yell fuácata as you land the hit. Make it a little more hardcore by Anglicizing it to "fwá" and make it straight up hardcore by putting it all in caps and dropping the accent: FWA.

These days, Jesse Alvare might look like an accountant. But once his guitar gently kills and his vocals are let loose from the most dismal abysses of Hell, you know you're in for a treat.


Dan Destructo is the King of Venice Beach. That is an easily Google-able fact. The last time I saw these guys they were Hell-bent on destroying downtown St. Petersburg during the memorial concert for Stiff Pole Records label founder

Richard "Big Stiff" Konwinski

. While the Churchill's stage does not offer Mr. Destructo the kind of high-flying pyrotechnics that that poor St. Pete's venue had, one thing is always for sure, call it a "long-running" guarantee if you will: Whenever this outfit takes the stage, shit's gonna get real and it's gonna get really fucking animated.

No Fraud have been, though admittedly intermittent in the last decade, one of Florida's better and most worthwhile bands. They embody everything you'd want stuffed into the dying corpse that is rock "n' roll.

The Kings of Venice Beach

While the atmosphere was decidedly more "intimate" than the last time Fang graced Churchill's stage, an undeniable energy flooded the Pub once Sammytown and Boner Records main man Tom Flynn took to it, ripping through a 17-song set that pretty much represented the band's 1980s output with an awesome mid-show cover of Jim Carroll's "People Who Died" song. If it was stated earlier within this digital codex that Fang has brought redemption, it has also brought some of the most nuanced and eerily gothic songs to punkdom. From "Destroy the Handicapped" to "Landshark," Fang's set was a testament to how punk rock should be -- short with no fucking encores.

But even though they abided by the no "encore" rule -- a welcome rule -- Sammytown and gang did close with their signature tune "The Money Will Roll Right In," transformed into an appropriate medley with "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." And it is to their credit that they did not get cute by bastardizing the lyrics, they just amped it up in speed and closed a glorious evening with a happy tune.

I'll get to fuck Brooke Shields!

Because if anything, the evening did capitalize on the fun and the happiness of aging with friends and loved ones, listening to music and remembering those who are no longer with us. Happy Holidays from us to you and yours!

Critic's Notebook

Overheard in the Crowd: All that was overheard were "Hello!" and a lot of hugging.

Random Detail: Finally a cold night, everybody looks great in winter clothing!

Fang's Setlist:
-"The American Dream"
-"You're Cracked"
-"Skinheads Smoke Dope"
-"Curb Stomp"
-"An Invitation"
-"The Last Resort"
-"Destroy the Handicapped"
-"Diary of a Mad Werrwoulf"
-"People Who Died"
-"Law & Order"
-"I Wanna Be on TV"
-"With Friends Like You"
-"Burn it Down"
-"The Money Will Roll Right In/Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer"

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Churchill's Pub

5501 NE 2nd Ave.
Miami, FL 33137


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