Best Concert Series 1999 | Sacred Grounds Coffeehouse | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
A coffeehouse without a screeching espresso machine? Sans cigarette smoke and incessant chatter? Could it be? It is, in a suburban Kendall neighborhood where a house doubles as Temple Beth Or, the main sanctuary of which is transformed every other month into the concert venue Sacred Grounds Coffeehouse. Launched in the fall of 1997 by graphic designer and musician Ellen Bukstel Segal, friend Gerald Weissfeld, and Rabbi Rami Shapiro, the Coffeehouse has staged a who's who of folkies (Rod MacDonald, Magda Hiller, Marianne Flemming, Grant Livingston, Amy Carol Webb, Mindy Simmons, Marie Nofsinger, Ron and Bari, James London) picking and crooning in front of appreciative crowds numbering close to 150. An evening at Sacred Grounds opens with a one-hour open-mike segment followed by two acts performing brief sets before the crowd breaks for refreshments and mingling. The finale features artists and musical audience members engaging in a good-natured song swap. The ten-dollar door charge is divided between the featured entertainers and a different charity each show, a spiritual gesture suited to a relaxed night of entertainment in an atmosphere of warmth, joy, and contemplation.

Best Band To Leave Miami In The Past Twelve Months

The Psychonauts

With their tape-loop, sound bite effects, pro-wrestling masks, endless Elvis iconization, and wall-rattling sonic attack (armed by all-'abilly influences), the 'Nauts amazed locals by bringing to the stage a slew of visual distractions without sacrificing any of their musical power. That's entertainment, sure, but their sound was on the cusp of the whole surfabilly/punkabilly/rockabilly trend that's either about to catch on in a big way or fade into obscurity. If these serious but still winking rockers don't elevate interest in rootsy sounds, they'll likely move beyond categorization and make a niche for themselves apart from any trends. Sadly it looks as if they'll be doing it from their new home base, New York City.

We like 'em young. Especially when a gang of whippersnappers exudes so much raw talent that within months of their band's formation, they are being booked to record at Criteria under the aegis of local supermanager Rich Ulloa, releasing a subsequent EP produced by Rose Guilot, playing showcases at top area clubs, and opening for Orgy at the Chili Pepper. Led by way-serious singer/pianist Evan Rowe (age 21), the bleach boys have been together since August, creating a rich sound reminiscent of R.E.M., the Smiths, and other serious bands that were making music while these guys were still facing the prospect of elementary school. Pianist, guitarist, and vocalist Chris Horgan checks in at age 20; bassist and vocalist Kevin Brauss is 21 years old; lead guitarist Mark Fudge is the old man at age 24; and drummer Mike Goetz is age 22. Many talented bands languish for years before achieving what Chlorine has in a matter of months. Ulloa negotiated major-label deals for most of his previous clients. None of those popped the box as quickly as these kids have.
Angela Patua was not born to sing background music. When she performs her regular Sunday gig at Big Fish Mayaimi, she commands attention with rousing chants and deep ballads accompanied by guitar, dancing, and sometimes indecipherable patter. Her spirit moves, her music transcends. A country girl from southeast Brazil, Patua sings in African Yoruba and native Brazilian dialects, as well as in Portuguese and English. Creating her own fusion of Afro-Brazilian folkloric music and blues, she croons about the community of man and the preservation of nature with a sincerity rarely heard these days. "I want to sing for a better world," she says with conviction. At age 38 Patua recently recorded her first CD, Brazil Bantu, for Miami's Out There label. She sings frequently at area clubs and festivals, and says she wants to promote a sense of community among Miami's musicians. It takes plenty of talent to back up such unabashed idealism. Patua has plenty.
While her drummer Derek Murphy remained in New York working on other (read: well-paying) gigs, and bassist Matthew Sabatella concentrated on his own impressive musical projects, everybody's favorite silly little girl-genius kept a hand in by performing solo. During one such highly charged sho, in April at Power Studios in the Design District, it wasn't just Green who was electrifying. Some sort of glitch caused her microphone to send jolts of current through her each time she and it made contact. Although she admitted later that it was painful and distracting, it didn't short-circuit her scintillating performance.
While other Latin bands come and go on the infamously thankless local live-music scene, trailblazer Carlos Oliva salsas on. And on. Godfather of the Miami Sound (he was the Miami Sound Machine's first producer), Oliva formed Los Sobrinos del Juez as a trio in 1967. Today his eight-man band features top players with diverse Latin and jazz backgrounds: saxman Camilo Valencia; bassist Omar Hernandez; congueros Richard Bravo and Manuel Torres; pianist and vocalist Jackson King; trumpeter Jason Carter; and percussionist Charlie Santiago. The group specializes in bilingual salsa with rock, pop, and jazz influences. Because of the dearth of live venues for Latin music, Oliva has sought to make his living by playing private celebrations and corporate events, making Los Sobrinos del Juez the most popular party band in town. With his new CD Yayabo, on the Max Music label, the venerable band leader continues striving to reach wider audiences.
Only months ago Al's Not Well was on top of the local rock hill. The exotically coiffed and coutured crew's blend of pulsing rhythms, psychedelic meanderings, and solid New Wave sounds had landed them a deal with Tommy Boy's Beyond Music imprint, touring gigs, recording sessions. The queen goddess of New Wave, Deborah Harry, even guested on their reworking of Blondie's classic "One Way or Another." The area faves were about to become a national rage. But then Joce Leyva, the group's singer-guitarist and primary songwriter, left town. And didn't return. The remaining members are climbing back up, having added a new guitarist and assigned singing duties to back-up vocalist/percussionist Bleu. There's nothing rarer than a band continuing after losing its front person, but if anyone can pull it off, it's this seasoned crew. They've changed their name to Al Is Well, reflective of their sense of fun, buoyant optimism, and underlying determination. Oh, and their music rules, too.

In these black days it's mighty difficult to find music that will piss off parents. If anything should make mom or dad cringe, it's heavy metal. But bust out some Black Sabbath and there's a good chance Pops will turn it up to eleven and tell you how he saw 'em in '77 at a San Francisco show where he tripped on Mr. Natural blotter. Fortunately for the young and angst-ridden, Cavity goes one step beyond metal. Heavy and sonically unearthly, their feedback alone will shatter the eardrums of anyone over age 35. This year, in an homage to one of the bands that started it all, Cavity laid down a searing version of "Into the Void" for Hydra Head Records' In These Black Days, a double seven-inch tribute to Sabbath. See what Dad thinks of that.
Willy Chirino's feel-good nostalgia album showcases the chops of local Latin talents such as Arturo Sandoval, Albita Rodriguez, Jon Secada, and Roberto Torres. With a little help from his friends, Chirino departs from his formulaic pop-salsa format to shine on a merry mix of Cuban classics, including "Guantanamera," "Son de la Loma," and "El Manisero," celebrating along the way a bygone Cuba. Even Chirino's wife Lissette and his daughters join in. Aggressive playing, influenced by contemporary Cuban bands, and giddy singing make this an infectious and fun listen.

In their debut performance, dubbed "a tribute to Sun Ra," the Afro Polyphonic Space Orchestra displayed why the approach of their oddball jazz-pioneer hero still sounds not just out of time, but out of this world. Playing as part of the first annual Afro Roots World Music Festival at Tobacco Road, the A.P.S.O. filled an entire outdoor stage with members from a broad spectrum of Miami's music scene -- from straight-ahead horn players to an R&B bassist, from a rock guitarist to an electronica keyboard maven. Decked out in glittery blouses that looked as if they'd just been stolen off the back of a truck at Mardi Gras, the A.P.S.O. proceeded to jam out on a variety of Sun Ra's Arkestral standards. Hopscotching from wiggy Dixieland to mind-melting fusion, it wasn't long before the ensemble stepped off into the void, chanting "we travel the spaceways" as disembodied saxophones dueled with eerie blasts from a Moog. Theirs was a freaky musical ride like no other on Earth.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®