Get on your dancing shoes. It's Labor Day weekend.EXPAND
Get on your dancing shoes. It's Labor Day weekend.
Photo by Monica McGivern

The Ten Best Bands Playing Labor Day Weekend in Miami

Labor Day in Miami is a welcome respite from the daily grind of traffic and work, but it's also an extra day of the week to spend the cash you worked so hard to earn. It's also the beginning of the end of summer, which means that — finally — the music scene is starting to pick up a bit in the 305.

In a destination entertainment capital like Miami, the long weekend is packed with invitations to overpriced clubs with overpriced bottles and rooftop parties full of girls wearing the same makeup to the pool that they wear to the office. But For those who aren't club kids, want to skip the money drain, or just want something new to try this Labor Day weekend, we offer another option: live music. The holiday weekend is jam packed with festivals and opportunities to catch some of Miami’s best musicians, and most have a cheap cover or no cover at all — so you can save your money for the beer. Here's a rundown of the best bands to catch this weekend, including both up-and-comers and Grammy nominees alike.

10. Peyote Coyote. 37 Years of Churchill’s 5 Day Music Festival. 6 p.m. Saturday, September 3, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE 2nd Ave., Miami; (305) 757-1807. churchillspub.com. Admission is free.

With a name like Peyote Coyote, perhaps you'd expect a chilled out psychedelic rock band, and while the group's reverb-laden vocals offer elements of the latter, Peyote Coyote are anything but “chill.” The band's high energy sets, led by drummer Cari Gee’s relentless kit-bruising, have earned them a spot not only at this weekend’s Churchill’s anniversary celebration (playing the main room on Saturday, around 10:30 p.m.), but a spot on the bill with Stargazer Lilies at this month’s Bumblefest.

9. Magic City Hippies. Ball & Chain Music Festival. 12 p.m. Friday, September 2, at Ball & Chain, 1513 SW 8th St., Miami; ballandchainmiami.com. Admission is free.

Would a weekend music guide be complete without Magic City Hippies? These guys love our city so much they made it their namesake, and lately have been seen at venues all over Miami on the regular. While Ball & Chain’s Music Festival lineup skews mostly toward Latin music and jazz, the venue couldn't pass up the chance to add the indie funk Hippies to their Sunday lineup. The band recently released their slightly NSFW music video for “Fanfare.” Here's hoping they bring some half naked tennis to the stage this weekend.

8. Slow Coast. 7 p.m. Sunday, September 4, at Open Stage Club, 2325 Galiano St., Coral Gables; (305)-441-7902; openstageclub.com. Tickets cost $5 at the door.

Sometimes you just need to sit at the bar and listen to some good ol’ rock n’ roll. Slow Coast’s got you covered with their blues and classic rock inspired sounds at the Open Stage Club in Coral Gables, which is quickly becoming an incubator of sorts for Miami’s next great bands.

7. 18th Annual Afro Roots World Music Festival with Uma Galera. 5 p.m. Saturday, September 3, at North Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; (305) 672-5202; NorthBeachBandshell.com. Tickets cost $15 via brownpapertickets.com.

Uma Galera is an eclectic band that embodies the melting pot of cultures and sounds Miami is all about. The group's music runs the gamut from ska and funk to a more Latin-flavored sound, often within the same song. It's the perfect fit for a festival that celebrates the music and sounds from Africa to the new world and back.

6. Spam Allstars. Ball & Chain Music Festival. 12 p.m. Friday, September 2, at Ball & Chain, 1513 SW 8th St., Miami; ballandchainmiami.com. Admission is free.

If you live in Miami, chances are you've seen Spam Allstars play whether you realize it or not. The band is known for their never-ending touring schedule and jumps at the chance to play any festival in South Florida. Still, another chance to see this Latin and hip-hop hybrid is always welcome. Spam Allstars play so often that it wouldn't be totally surprising if the lot of them jumped off one of the stages at Ball & Chain and onto the other.

5. Cashmere Cat. 3 Days in Miami Music Series. 9 p.m. Friday, Sept 2, at The Hangar, 60 NE 11th St., Miami; thehangar305.com. Tickets cost $15 via 3days.redbullsoundselect.com/miami.

Norwegian DJ, musician, and producer Cashmere Cat was already on the come-up in recent years, having collaborated with the likes of Ariana Grande and Kanye West, but he got a major endorsement this summer when Malia Obama was seen twerking in the crowd during his Lollapalooza set. This week he released the first single off his debut studio album, Wild Love, featuring The Weeknd,. Perhaps he'll consider premiering some more music when he comes to the Hangar as part of Red Bull's action-packed 3 Days in Miami. 

4. Jahfé. Reggae Family Fun Day at the Wynwood Yard. 12 p.m. Sunday, Sept 4, at Wynwood Yard, 56 Northwest 29th St., Miami; 305-771-4810; thewynwoodyard.com. Tickets cost $5 to $20 via eventbrite.com.

Jahfé can be seen and heard at many of Miami’s weekly reggae nights, including the Labor Day edition of Kulcha Shock’s Reggae Family Fun Day. "A rebel without cause is a major fool,” the band sings on its 2012 song “Rebel On,” but this is a group of rebels with many causes, whose music is filled with conscious lyrics about empowering society’s most disenfranchised people.

3. Astari Nite. 10 p.m. Sunday, September 4, at The Bar at 1306, 1306 N Miami Ave., Miami; 1306miami.com. Tickets cost $15 at the door.

Astari Nite is a band from another time and place. The group released its latest album, Until the End of the Moon, in May, and it would have fit right in between the Cure and the Smiths on your '80s cassette playlist. You might be a little sad while you listen to them, but it's the good kind of sad you can still dance to. You can't wear white after Labor Day so wear all black and attend the Labor Day edition of MASS at downtown's 1306, a night billed as “a night of alternative sounds for alternative minds.”

2. PALO! Ball & Chain Music Festival. 12 p.m. Friday, Sept 2, at Ball & Chain, 1513 SW 8th St., Miami; ballandchainmiami.com. Admission is free.

PALO!’s Afro Cuban and salsa sounds will be right at home at Little Havana’s Ball & Chain Music Festival, celebrating the iconic lounge’s 81st anniversary. PALO!’s onstage talents were recently recognized with Grammy and Latin Grammy nominations for their album PALO! Live. How often do you get to see a Grammy nominated band for free in Miami? Let's answer that together: Like, never. 

1. Aurelio. 18th Annual Afro Roots World Music Festival. 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept 3, at North Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; (305) 672-5202; NorthBeachBandshell.com. Tickets cost $15 via brownpapertickets.com.

Aurelio Martinez, also known simply as Aurelio, is a Garifuna singer, songwriter, and musician. The Garifuna people are descendants of the West African, Central African, and Arawak people, and Aurelio is seen as one of his culture's foremost representatives. He travels the world playing Garifuna music and his appearance in Miami for the Afro Roots World Music Festival will be his first in about a decade. Get a history lesson while you drink a beer this Labor Day Weekend.

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