Rollin' on the River
If you come down to the river/Betcha gonna find some people who live/You don't have to worry/Cause you have no money/People along the river are happy to give
Park at Tobacco Road and walk down the little hill alongside Associated Photo to Café Nostalgia. Or spring for a Nostalgia valet and get a little exercise heading up the hill to Tobacco Road. Either way you're gonna pass the same homeless guy in the parking lot of the utility building; say "What's up!" The whole way, you can hear Yenyere, the hot, young Cuban dance band blaring from Nostalgia's front door to the sidewalk in front of the Road. The goal is never to sit through a band's break or setup. Keep the live music rollin'.
Tobacco Road has been open nearly 90 years; Café Nostalgia moved into a new river space just a few weeks ago. The two clubs in such close proximity make it possible to pack more of the live Miami sound into a single night's experience than ever before -- without risking your life on our deadly expressways. The Road has long offered the best and worst of local rock and blues. With the recent addition of a Latin Rock Night on Wednesdays by Danny Jessup, affable host of the stalwart Thursday rock-night shows upstairs, the rambling roadhouse caters to even broader guitar tastes. Downstairs of late, South Florida hip-hop favorites Hashbrown have been bringing the funk. Just a hop, skip, and a twirl away, Nostalgia's Yenyere throws in the best of South Florida's tropical sounds as well. All we need now is for neighbor Big Fish to start hosting Colombian vallenato shows again, with guest appearances by Carlos Vives. Maybe the old furniture store to the north of Nostalgia could reopen as a Haitian compas or Jamaican dancehall club -- then we would truly have it all.
For the moment, we have more than enough blessings to count. This week Tobacco Road hosts Latinstock, Roadstock, and Rootstock: six nights of local bands of every stripe, from earnest singer-songwriters Jaf, Fulano, Matthew Sabatella, and Alex Diaz to the island styles of the Baboons, Ragamuffin Soldier, and the Monjees to the insane antics of Mr. Entertainment and Rat Bastard.
Take a break from the scruffy stuff on Thursday night to see Tina Turner back-up singer Sol at Nostalgia. The half-French, half-Cuban chanteuse takes an elegant global turn with her first solo show in Miami, called appropriately enough the 'Round the World Concert. Her set list veers from standards such as "Autumn Leaves" (in French!) to an English-language version of French-nouveau-disco duo Modjo's club hit "Lady (Hear Me Tonight)" and an R&B-tinged interpretation of Spanish crooner Alejandro Sanz's power ballad "Corazon Partio" ("Broken Heart") -- all backed by members of Yenyere in a sharp departure from their usual Cuban standards and timba jams. Then trudge back up the hill, say "Hi" to the homeless guy, and get down and dirty with Sheik Al Belly Movement.
Or on Friday night, headbang at the Road along with Guatemalan metal monster Mess Anger, then trip down the hill to hear Yenyere singer Yanelis Cortes launch a vocal improvisation that would make Celia Cruz smile. Or on Saturday night, listen to Yenyere sax man Petaca (Juan A. Silveira) blow a jazz solo that tears down the walls, then trot back up to the Road to swing out with rockabilly kings Rhett & the Pawn Shop Drunks.
Just don't let me hear you complain that there's no place to listen to live music in Miami. Haven't ever lost one minute of sleeping/Worried about the way things might have been
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