At the debut of Churchill's Pub's female-oriented "girly" night, the pub's main dance floor was filled with girls dancing under red-green, planetary strobe lights, replacing the usual head-banging dudes circulating through mini-mosh pits. Churchill's made good use of the silver disco ball hanging over the pub's main dance floor as party-goers, many of them lesbian couples, slow-danced under the glittery orb, as if at an LBT prom. In keeping with the feminine mood, before one of Shangri-La's softer songs "Total Embrace," Mango Sterling told the audience, "Here's a slow one, so hold on to your honeys tight."
Sultry songstress Emily Sheila, who has been described as a mix between Fiona Apple and Adele with a folky twist by the Miami Herald, was the first live musical performer of the night. Dressed all in black, she stood alone on stage with nothing but a big shiny red guitar and audience cheers to accompany her. Sheila filled the room with soulful, folky melodies and a soft, sweet vibe. And she engaged the audience with dry comedy throughout her set, at one point stopping to ask, "How many songs have I played, now?"
After Sheila, Shangri-La took the stage. The trio of Mango Sterling on vocals, Felix Ovalle on drums, and Carols (Kike) Sevilla on guitar and synthesizer has garnered a huge following in the local music scene with hits such as "IDK," and "Degenerates." They were first-timers on Churchill's stage, but drummer Felix Ovalle said, "the music sounded great and everyone was really nice." Sterling, who sounds like a cross between Bjork and Etta James, moved the girl-filled audience with her vocals throughout the band's amazing set.
Between live musical acts, as the band set up their instruments, Sofia Luna of Shameless Burlesque kept the audience entertained. With her dark hair up, dressed in a white corset, she bopped back-and-forth about the stage, artfully posing her arms like a mime. She infused the crowd with a sexy, liberating performance, removing her corset to expose black-pasties underneath. Like doll-mimicking, European street-performers who speak at the drop of a coin, she stopped momentarily and said to the audience in a cutesy voice, "You're going to have to stay awake." In a quick performance, she set the stage for everyone to freely let loose, remove their inhibitions, and simply have a good time.
The grungy, dive-bar reputation of Churchill's may have seemed at first like an unlikely match for an event marketed as "girly." But if every Wednesday works out the way last night did, you can count on the pub to be where the girls are.
-- Monica Torres
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