You can't overstate the enduring influence of Laura of Miami, AKA Laura Sutnick, on the local alternative dance music scene. From her tenure as a WVUM radio DJ to her event promotions company Nightdrive and Klangbox.FM internet radio station, she has championed lesser-heard sounds for more than a decade.
When she launched Vamos a la Playa as both a DJ night and radio show, Wynwood wasn't yet an alternative-nightlife hub. There simply weren't many Miami clubs or DJs catering to non-mainstream commercial dance appetites. It began, she says, at a wine bar in midtown.
"I used to play all sorts of Italo-disco; psych-pop from Southeast Asia, Europe, and South America; Bollywood disco; weird edits; left-field stuff; early house tracks; and other obscure genres," Laura says. "When I started grad school at WVUM, I pitched [Vamos a la Playa] as the disco show, because the station wasn't really playing much of that at the time."
Fast-forward to 2017, and Vamos a la Playa continues on the airwaves via Klangbox.FM every Monday. And listeners still tune in to hear Laura's signature rare grooves. Her work will come full circle this Sunday at the launch of a party series featuring a rotation of internationally renowned headliners and local DJ favorites.
"Patrick Walsh — my longtime business partner and cofounder of Klangbox.FM — had been discussing getting back into producing shows and curating talent. He suggested we do something at Gramps on Sundays... It was a no-brainer," she says.
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"We're really excited about the DJs we're bringing down. They're a perfect reflection of the music I've played on Vamos a la Playa for the last nine years and the stuff that Patrick and I geek out to. We hope to share our eclectic music taste and programming style with people who can appreciate what we're bringing to the music scene — both on- and off-air — with those who complain about not wanting to go out late and those who prefer not to pay a cover."
And with legendary Philadelphia DJ/producer King Britt on the bill for Sunday's first installment, the new Vamos a la Playa party series is off to an auspicious start.
Vamos a la Playa, Featuring King Britt, Presented by Klangbox.FM
5 p.m. Sunday, February 26, at Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-699-2669; gramps.com. Admission is free.