Nite Jewel, Tanlines, Million Young ft. Awesome New Republican, Palm Trees and Night Wave
Grand Central, Miami
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Better Than: Still sobbing over the fact Studio A is dead and gone ...and actually a lot better than most of the shows that club put on in its final months.
The Review: After a small party on Tuesday night, Miami's brand new mid-sized venue officially got broken in on Wednesday with a night of artsy electro buzz bands both local and national. Inevitably Grand Central will be compared to the late Studio A. It's not nearly as immediately charming as that club. No gigantic chandelier over the bar. No metal beaded curtains. Not even a disco ball.
It's got more of a warehouse vibe, with concrete floors, white walls, a few columns and space. Lots and lots of space. It's anything but claustrophobic, with two large bars, three rows of cozy seating in the back, and tons of room to take in the show.
And, oh what a show it was.
Last time Crossfade took in a MillionYoung performance, the Coral Springs based producer (AKA Alex Diaz) left a lot to be desired in his live show. Luckily, he recruited two guys you might have hear of, B-Rob and John Hancock of Awesome New Republic (if only a dude from Surfer Blood popped up, you'd have a tri-county cross section of Pitchfork approved South Florida buzz bands). There was still a laptop and sequencer on stage like at the Vagabond, but Diaz took on guitar duties and ANR helped bring out the dance floor potential in MillionYoung's music. We're not sure if the combo will become a regular thing, but if Diaz can put together his own permanent backing band he's well on his way to perfecting a more compelling live show.
The Miami based duo Palm Trees' music could use a bit more subtlety in some places, and complexity in others, but mostly it's just simple, straightforward fun pumping through the speakers. Nothing wrong with that. Joining them on stage where vogueing back-up dancers known as Boy Pose (You know those two dudes you see out at hipster parties that make you think, "Hmm, his attire is pushing the limits of what I usually find appropriate for a man to wear, but you know what, props to him?" Yeah, it was them in black vests and Beyonce ponytails.) Maybe we're a sucker for Top 40 cover, but the finale performance of TI's "Whatever You Like," complete with Brooklyn's balloon headed performance artist Bad Brilliance on stage, was the highlight.
You've got a band called Nite Jewel headlining, put on partially by promoters Night Drive, with a performance by chillwave artist MillionYoung. Yeah, so Night Wave's name seems a little generic. The Los Angeles-based band seems like if they formed ten years ago they'd be playing ska or nu-metal or something, but here they are with synths playing electro. Basically they're a chill bro electro band, which we don't mean as an insult because they're a pretty competent chill bro electro band. With their mix of arena-worthy guitar work it'd be easy to imagine them opening some day for bigger bands like The Killers or something in that vein.
Never was a big fan of mathrock band Don Caballero, but their former members keep popping up in really awesome bands. First Ian Williams with Battles, and now Eric Emm in Tanlines. Emm takes on guitar and vocal duties lives. He's got a voice that could conceivably front any Brooklyn band, but against the vaguely African, hypnotic beats coming out of Jesse Cohen's machines it sounds pretty fresh. This may be a band you've heard countlessly on mp3 bands and MySpace streams, but their songs sound even better live and they definitely got the crowd dancing.
By the time Nite Jewel went on it was well past 3:00 am, and most of the crowd had thinned out. Even the bands main creative force, Ramona Gonzalez, noted how late it was, "In Los Angeles we got to bed, we get up at nine. How do you guys stay up so late?"
Yeah the show definitely went on way too late in the night, considering the crowd was mainly local, though luckily Nite Jewel's music is the perfect comedown. Dubbed "lo-fi disco," it's not the easiest thing to dance to, which was just as well. We plopped down on one of those many coaches in the back and let Nite Jewel put a perfect topper on the night.
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Personal Bias: The DJs were so on point. Any time we walk into a brand new venue and the first complete song we here over the system is Loose Joint's "All Over My Face," it's puts us in a good mood.
Random Detail: We're not technical audiophiles, but the sound system didn't disappoint, and the on stage lighting was impressive.
By the Way: Grand Central is just in "preview" during WMC. It might add a bit more to its spartan atmosphere by the time it officially opens later this Spring. Mirrors in the bathrooms would be nice.