Rocks in Their Heads

"We do music for the people. It's dancey and fun. I hope the audience loves what they hear and really gets to see what we're all about." So wishes Khadir drummer Joe Eshkenazi, whose Latin funk band finally performs at Tobacco Road this Saturday as part of the Miami Rock Festival. Three months ago Khadir was one of two acts forced to cancel an appearance at a "Beast and Baker Rock the Road" music extravaganza.

Only in Miami. Where small live-music venues continue to dwindle. (Rose's Bar & Music Lounge recently ceased presenting in-the-flesh performances.) Where local bands continually expire and resurrect themselves. Where many national groups are loath to venture, lest they spend several hours traveling south to play in front of fourteen people. Where the music scene is more chaotic than any other on the planet. Only in Miami can promoters present a show without their main draws.

Earlier this year when radio personalities/local music crusaders the Beast and Baker (a.k.a. Steve Alvin and Greg Baker) attempted to stage their fest with multiple bands, Khadir and groovemeisters Raw B. Jae dropped out at the last minute. Three days before the gig, Raw B. Jae broke up. To add injury (literally) to insult, Khadir backed out when guitarist Dylan Schiavone got into an accident while sparring in martial arts; the incident left his face in need of reconstructive surgery. The show went on minus the headliners and a good deal of the audience that had hoped to hear its favorites.

This Saturday evening the optimistic organizers give it another try with three stages at the revered watering hole. A reassembled Raw B. Jae and a now-healed Schiavone, along with the rest of Khadir, spearhead the festivities. They'll be joined by just-signed (at last!) local heroes the Goods, Manchild, Maria, Jeff Rollason, and the 18 Wheelers.

Khadir, veterans of big outdoor shows such as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, looks forward to playing for a large hometown crowd. This performance will feature the latest addition to the lineup, back-up singer Atlanta.

Festival rookie Michael Roderick, lead singer for altrockers Maria, has high expectations for the celebration of local sounds: "The energy will definitely be different. We'll play a little bit longer and a little bit looser. When there's a lot more people in front of you and you get the idea on-stage that they're really into it, the vibe is better and it just makes you play with that much more energy."

-- Nina Korman

The Miami Rock Festival begins at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 18, at Tobacco Road, 626 S. Miami Ave. Tickets cost eight dollars. Call 663-3508.

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Nina Korman
Contact: Nina Korman