Sweatstock 2012: Jesse Jackson, Arboles Libres, and The State Of
If there's a Miami musician who's best suited to accompany early afternoon drinking on a rainy day, it's Jesse Jackson.
Driven inside Churchill's Pub by the rain, Miami's favorite melancholy scruffster played a set pulled from his approximately nine billion songs, accompanied by a bassist, drummer, and a pack of hellhounds on his trail.
Jackson brought with him a giant poster of a waist-up photograph of himself in the same shirt and jean jacket he was wearing on stage. On the poster, however, his leonine hair unfurled over his shoulders and a sexed-up look on his face gave a sense that whatever was happening below the belt was not appropriate for all-ages Sweatstock.
Jackson played a second set in the early evening, on the outdoor stage he had been intended to open. This time, he played with only a harmonica player as accompaniment and seeing him in the sunlight was almost as shocking as not seeing him in head-to-toe denim might have been.
Fortunately, his merch stand was directly to the left of the crowd and more than a few Sweatstockers turned to stare at the poster, entranced, while the real Jackson sang. It was Sweatstock's low-tech answer to the Coachella's Tupac hologram.
Photo by Ronnie Rivera
It's easy to forget that Churchill's is also a soccer bar, something we were reminded of as Arboles Libres took the stage and an Englishman yelled at one of the guitarists, "Eddie, you're fucking useless! Why'd you get your hair cut so short?"
It turns out that Arboles Libres make music perfect for scoring soccer matches. The bar was full of Barca and Real Madrid supporters watching El Clasico. But many of them began bobbing to Arboles Libres and turning to watch during the band's weirdest moments.
Like the play of a soccer match, Arboles Libres chip away at their songs in a steady back-and-forth, punctuated by heated moments of dual-guitar attacks and end-of-the-world drumming.
Eddie's haircut looked great, by the way.
Photo by Ronnie Rivera
The State Of was the first band to play the outdoor stage after the rain stopped. Joining the sun was its vein-ier, cooler, older brother, Iggy Pop, on hand in his duties as Record Store Day Ambassador. Iggy's visit to Sweatstock coincided with both his birthday and what must have been his longest stretch of continuous shirt-wearing since his bar mitzvah.
Though he had a security guard with him, Iggy mixed it up in the crowd, dancing to The State Of's set, the women of the drum-and-synth duo playing a special Iggy Pop birthday song which had either been composed for the occasion or has made very little sense at their previous shows.
The State Of makes it look easy, lounging back behind their instruments as the high-energy keyboard pop pulsed from the PA. At times, they got spacey. And then they incorporated some freestyle party rap.