Sometimes the best way to measure the health of your pond is to find out who's dipping their toes into the water. On that basis, Miami's rock scene is robust. Billboard recently visited these shores with a piece that noted that Mary Karlzen, Nil Lara, and several others have signed major-label deals. Those labels are devoting more and more time and humanpower to exploit A er, take advantage of A South Florida resources. And, not insignificantly, both of our commercial rock stations (yeah, they're based here, but they've always seemed like outsiders) are promising to air local-rock shows.
To another way of thinking, this national interest could be the worst that could happen, a flood of attention that could wash away the good stuff and leave us with soggy dregs. I've heard that complaint from people in Seattle, for example. A couple of years ago the grunge thang took off, labels and publishers and such raided the Northwestern city, signed any band that owned a flannel shirt, and took them off to national stardom. The local underground types who'd grown accustomed to seeing their Nirvanas in a small club were suddenly cut off from all but the big-ticket access everyone in America had. So should we root for the bands or the fans? Or should we just wait and see?
Some aren't waiting for anything. In the DIY spirit that has led to some of this area's greatest accomplishments, certain people who do not want to be named have organized Wake Up Miami, taking place this weekend at Churchill's Hideaway, where almost all our best bands got their start as live acts. The reason the folks behind this don't want to be specified is because they view this undertaking as a complete co-op. They don't want the others involved to think they're trying to claim credit or hog the spotlight. Tomorrow (Friday) the Holy Terrors, Sixo, Cell 63, Milk Can, and Gus all play sets. Saturday the stage is taken by I Don't Know, One Eyed Kings, Kreamy 'Lectric Santa, Against All Authority, the Goods, and Arlan Feiles. All money raised by the event will go toward financing the release of a compilation CD featuring tracks recorded during the event. While copies will be available at retail outlets, many others will be sent to radio stations and labels around the nation. Dive in, rock fans.
On Saturday afternoon at Stephen Talkhouse, everyone is invited to test the waters of the local scene -- and to make a few waves. An open forum takes place from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
In a related note, local-band-gone-national Marilyn Manson recently made the High Times Hot 100 at number 61. The magazine's feature is simply a listing (based on reader votes) of cool things, musical or otherwise.
Off the rock track, one of South Florida's brightest musical lights, flute magician Nestor Torres, whose new album Burning Whispers is the first release by the locally based Sony Latin Jazz label, performs at Saturday's Jazz Under the Stars concert at Metrozoo. Next month Torres will be a guest soloist with Peter Nero and the Pops at a series of area shows.
Jennifer Culture plays tonight (Thursday) at Jesse's to celebrate the birthday of the club's bartender Christy.
The new album by PJ Harvey, To Bring You My Love, is due out this week. The band will open R.E.M. dates in Europe before a U.S. tour begins in May.
Hell's still frozen, the Eagles are back, and it's time to take stock. If you call right now (or at least when this went to press), you can get a good seat for the band's upcoming Miami Arena show without paying a broker a hundred bucks. Through your friends at Ticketmaster, tix for the Monday show still were for sale late last week. If you want the best seats available and plan on taking a date, and if you buy your tickets over the phone, the total cost will be only...$168. Throw in a few bucks for Metrorail or parking, maybe a soda, and pretty soon you're talking real money.
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Sunday night at Churchill's is now Caribbean Night, with the band From Creation grooving.
Champeen surfer and serious musician Tom Curren is touring on behalf of Ocean Aid, an alliance of twenty environmental groups. Backed by a rhythm section, multi-instrumentalist Curren performs his own music, with surf and other oceanic cinematography by Sonny Miller adding visual aid. The One Eyed Kings open for Curren tonight (Thursday) at the Cellblock n Pompano Beach.
Let's put the lid on the Veruca Salt "contest" (I should apologize to one caller who's still waiting for her new car to arrive). Dozens of calls came in, which we appreciate. Almost all of them concurred with my view that the band is pointless, but one caller took exception, saying, "I think you're a dipshit for saying that Veruca Salt's is a pointless album. You obviously don't know what the fuck you're talking about. See ya.