With Panic Bomber, Beings, Lil Daggers, Little Beard, Furious Dudes, and Others
Sweat Records and Churchill's Pub, Miami
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Better Than: Loitering in a Walmart parking lot for 19 hours.
Now despite the fact that the vast majority of America's music consumers prefer to procure lightly edited (read: censored) versions of their favorite hit albums at monolithic merchandisers like Walmart, we here at Crossfade usually choose to score our listenable wares from spots -- such as Little Haiti swag shop Sweat Records -- that don't consider 2 Live Crew and Slayer too obscene for sale to the general public.
Sure, like every natural-born citizen of this great and wild nation, we've queued up in the middle of the night, pitched a tent, lit a campfire, cooked some beans, and wasted 1,140 minutes waiting for Sam Walton's extra-wide automatic doors to slide open on a bright red-white-and-blue morning when something like Toby Keith's Shock'n Y'all Honkytonkiest White Trash Hits boxset-slash-flag-making-kit is all set to hit store shelves.
But man, we really regret those lapses. And we're sure as hell feeling some residual guilt and shame after this past Saturday's second annual edition of Sweatstock. It was a potent reminder that megachains suck and indie record stores kick ass. At one point, we almost lost control of ourselves and started chanting: "Screw big box behemoths! Support your local Sweat Shop!"
Instead, though, we decided to channel that activist impulse into buying stuff. And so, we did our part to offset Sweat's recent burglary-related losses by picking up a few fine collectibles, including a copy of Lil Daggers' limited-edition Record Store Day release and the University of Wynwood's inaugural issue of Jai-Alai Magazine.
As for the outdoor action ... Early in the day, there were rain showers. Later in the day, there were spilled beers. But still, it was a pretty perfect scene. And as dinnertime rolled up, the skies cleared and the sun shot its dying rays on Sweatstock II.
In the meantime, waiting for Lil Daggers to get their shit together aboard the stage mobile, we made random conversation with friendly faces. We drunkenly chased a chicken and her offspring around the block. We sang a few off-key lines from "Beer for My Horses." We guzzled a few reasonably priced Heinekens. And on the advice of Mr. Richard Haig (AKA Panic Bomber), we stuffed our gut with one of Purple People Eatery's decidedly non-vegan Buffalo Burgers.
By 7:15 p.m., though, the Daggers were ripping into a mini-set of sloppy, twisted cuts like "Slave Exchange," "Dada Brown," and "Wasting" as lead screecher Johnny Saraiva stumbled, mumbled, and sporadically screamed like a zombie on some kind of upper-downer cocktail. It was a pretty standard performance from these psyched-out garage punks -- meaning good, grunge-y, and nicely mangled. But the crowd was scattered and sparse. And the people, either scared or sleepy, were keeping their distance, leaving approximately 50 feet of empty space between them and the stage.
It could've also been the daylight. Like Daggers guitar guy Jacob Israel told us after the set: "Dude, when you're really wasted, the sun is no fun. It's like, 'C'mon, why are you so bright?'"
So, rather than sticking it out through another 20-minutes of twilight tuneage, we skipped out on Deaf Poets' slot, took a shortcut through Sweat, and staggered over to Churchill's Pub in search of darkness, privacy, and a cheap 16-ounce can of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
There, the mob was thicker and wilder. Maybe it was the cool air. Maybe it was the artificial midnight of the Churchill's main cave. Maybe it was the closer quarters. Maybe it was the ready availability of hard liquor. Or maybe it was just the natural effect of Furious Dudes' filthy, frantic rock 'n' roll freakout. But these Sweatstockers were shouting and sweaty, just like the Dudes' tatted-up and bearded frontman.
He threw FD-branded stickers at the audience, made a few jokes about being straight edge, and strangled the mike while his red-faced ax-wielding buddy stepped offstage to mingle with the maniac fans.
The riffs raged. Bodies were battered. And flat, tepid bottles of Bud were passed back and forth between strangers. The Dudes called out the last song before getting permission for another quick and dirty one. But soon, it was over and the stage was being cleared, uncluttered, and restocked.
At a 36-act minifest, there's no time for encores ... The schedule must be respected with almost military precision or else the entire operation could fall into total chaos and irreversible tardiness.
There's only one potential scenario better than running on schedule. And that's getting shit underway superearly and finishing as quickly as fucking possible.
But accustomed to Miami time ... We got another PBR and tripped lazily back around the block to the stage mobile. It was only 8:40 p.m., the sky was black, the moon was out, creatures were howling from someplace deep in Little Haiti, and we were all set to kill a half-hour.
However, Beings weren't planning to waste a single second. So a full 20 minutes before its scheduled set time, this three-piece crew crept out through a hellish red glow to the middle of the stage, snatched up its weapons, and cut into a 12-song sprint.
From "The Climb" to "Crowd Clones" to "Social Creep," Beings didn't stall, stop, or even pause -- except to plug its Bandcamp page: "You guys like the internet? It's the shit, right? Well, go to beings.bandcamp.com and download the album. You don't have to pay anything if you don't want to. Cool, huh?"
When the riffage restarted, a small moshpit opened up in front of the stage. Young, skinny dudes wrestled and shoved each other while Out of the Anonymous's Buffalo Brown charged through the center of that human swirl like a happy beast gone crazy on distorted noise. We hung back near the pit's edge and protected our beer. And Beings finished as fast as fucking possible.
After doubling back to Churchill's for another round of booze, checking out a three-song slice of Little Beard's gig, wandering through the Pub's quiet backyard, stopping for a brief existential conversation with Roofless Records' label boss Matt Preira, and laying a $5 bet on a game of billiards ... It was time for Panic Bomber.
Compared with last year's Sweatstock headlining slot by Los Angeles noise-pop duo No Age, the Bomber's closing set was seriously under-attended. There were no crowdsurfers. And there was no pile of bodies at the foot of the stage.
But still, the Bomber and his three-person band (sax and trumpet players in sunglasses, and a lady sidekick with an evil, subtly upturned lipstick smile) skittered and shook ass through "Bang on the Walls," "A Giant Tortoise," and "Getting on My Mind."
Taking requests from a self-described number-one fan, driving some ultra-dedicated dancers into a sweat-dripping frenzy, and pushing one particular clutch of 20-ish chicks into a same-sex makeout session, Panic Bomber ended his night by tossing off a cover of Britney Spears's "Toxic." Even Sam Walton might have approved.
From that point, it was all indoor action. A few songs from Lake Worth fuzz poppers Guy Harvey. Another couple of PBRs. Two trips to the restroom. A short jag of forgotten time. And a sojourn with Slashpine at the Roofless Rex patio stage, halfheartedly headbanging, gassing out, and nodding off into dreams of Sweatstock III.
The Crowd: Punks, cool kids, bikers, record collectors, aging arty types, a billion band members, and maybe a couple dozen curious Little Haiti residents.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Wow, it's sweaty in Sweat!"; "These port-a-potties are the cleanest I've ever seen!"; "Who's got a hotdog?"; "Why's that guy dancing on the roof?"; "Do I look drunk?"; "You know, finally, Miami's got its own Woodstock! And minus the naked hippies!"
-"Scumbag Party, One"
-"Scumbag Party, Two"
Panic Bomber's Setlist:
-"Visit From the Grave"
-"Bang on the Walls"
-"A Giant Tortoise"
-"1, 2, 3, XYZ"
-"Getting on My Mind"
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-"Turn to Glass"
-"Toxic" (Britney Spears cover)