Entertaining and experimental, handsome and talented, Roberto Poveda has always been a musical Miami gem, but he hasn't always been easy to hear. Gigs come and go in this dismal live-music town. But now Poveda can be heard pretty regularly at One Ninety, the funk-hip joint just north of the Design District. Really, it's Poveda's voice that pulls in the quality-starved crowd, crooning out his own particular styling of Cuban music called son or nueva trova that washes over you like our warm turquoise waves. The Cuban-born singer with a famous brother plays his Saturday-night stand with a band, so you can dance, sway, hum, or simply listen. Welcome back to the live scene.

Beginning his love affair with percussion at the seemingly late age of eighteen didn't set Sammy Figueroa back one bit. His unshakable sense of tempo and astounding ability to improvise clearly indicated that playing percussive instruments was his destiny. He would go on to perform with an eclectic roster of musical superstars including Miles Davis, Chet Baker, David Bowie, Marc Anthony, Mariah Carey, and Celine Dion. With partner Rachel Faro, he'd produce records for Cuban a cappella group Vocal Sampling and Puerto Rican cuatro player Yomo Toro. A onetime resident of California and New York, Figueroa packed up his congas and his stellar credentials to live in South Florida two years ago. He's been making his rhythmic presence known ever since, sitting in with the occasional jazz combo, showing up from time to time alongside young hipsters like DJ Le Spam and the Spam Allstars, and accompanying gal vocalists such as Nicole Henry and Rose Max. Recently the combustible conguero formed the appropriately named Latin Jazz Explosion featuring Carlos Averhoff, Grammy Award winner and nineteen-year veteran of Cuban fusion band Irakere, on saxophone along with Mike Orta on piano, Nick Orta on bass, and Goetz "Santiago" Kujack on drums. The Explosion may just blast itself right out of South Florida, so enjoy the beat master while he's still ours.

Readers Choice: Mumbo Jumbo

Those who forget the Eighties are doomed to repeat them: How else to explain the surge of local interest in electroclash, that much-hyped remodeling of European New Wave music and its accompanying oh-so-kitschy fashions? Shoulder pads and leg warmers have yet to be spotted, but just about every other once-maligned Eighties fashion marker has returned with a vengeance as a growing number of Miami venues hop on a national trend, shunting aside their traditional beats for the stiffer grooves of electroclash. A mass of studded wristbands and belts, sleeveless T-shirts, skinny ties, and even skinnier sunglasses have all hit the dance floor to the tune of Fischerspooner and Peaches's updating of the chilly synthesized shuffles once pioneered by the likes of Kraftwerk, the Normal, and the Human League. It may have been introduced in these parts by mainland Miami's Revolver, but now even crobar's Back Door Bamby, once a bastion of eminently slinky house, has made room for this genre -- and its fans -- in its opening hours. You could scratch your head over electroclash's appeal -- how can its barely twentysomething adherents be so nostalgic for an era they're too young to actually recall? And just how do you properly dance to a style better suited to a spasm than the funky chicken? But perhaps it's best to just enjoy this new sonic option and its burst of fresh energy while it lasts. After all, like drum and bass before it, the first law of clubland thermodynamics means electroclash's days in the spotlight are already numbered.

Rekindling indie-pop fun is what Bling Bling is all about. The four members of this group, formed in the summer of 2001, threaten to have fun and take the whole world with them. Ivan Choo Baby is electricity on the mike, Kiki La Rocca slaps the bass silly, Jonathan Sensitivity trumps zigzagging melodies, and Black Angus handles drum beats and background vocals. They sound along the lines of indie acts like the Pixies, Pavement, and Archers of Loaf. The past few years have been spent dominating clubs and one-nighters like Poplife and Revolver. Recording and releasing their six-song debut EP, Always Give Candy to Strangers, was a shot in the arm for the local indie-rock scene, but don't worry, the syringe was clean.

BEST BAND TO BREAK UP IN THE PAST TWELVE MONTHS

Machete

At Machete's final gig last June at Churchill's Hideaway, Spy-fi Records founder Ed Artigas quickly sold out 100 CDs of its Untitled Music before the band had even finished its second set. Machete had grown a significant following in the local indie-rock scene. Its engaging brand of folk-pop slit a niche in the band landscape only it could occupy. Many thought its run would continue till South Florida rock had a bigger slice of the limelight. But alas, all great things must come to an end, some sooner than others. When the frontman face of the group, Justin Gracer, decided the billboard-blazoned Big Apple was more suited to his solo dream, the rest of the group split. Watch out for fame -- sometimes it bites a good thing in the ass.

Entertaining and experimental, handsome and talented, Roberto Poveda has always been a musical Miami gem, but he hasn't always been easy to hear. Gigs come and go in this dismal live-music town. But now Poveda can be heard pretty regularly at One Ninety, the funk-hip joint just north of the Design District. Really, it's Poveda's voice that pulls in the quality-starved crowd, crooning out his own particular styling of Cuban music called son or nueva trova that washes over you like our warm turquoise waves. The Cuban-born singer with a famous brother plays his Saturday-night stand with a band, so you can dance, sway, hum, or simply listen. Welcome back to the live scene.

Like an unstoned Buffett or maybe Leon Redbone by way of Sesame Street, long-time Miami performer Grant Livingston mixes country and ragtime shuffle with Florida history and tale-telling. Armed with an acoustic guitar and an incisive wit that lends an edge to his kid-friendly material, Livingston pops up at festivals all over Miami, and is a regular at Homestead's Main Street Cafe. For the latest gigs, check out www.grantlivingston.com.

Beginning his love affair with percussion at the seemingly late age of eighteen didn't set Sammy Figueroa back one bit. His unshakable sense of tempo and astounding ability to improvise clearly indicated that playing percussive instruments was his destiny. He would go on to perform with an eclectic roster of musical superstars including Miles Davis, Chet Baker, David Bowie, Marc Anthony, Mariah Carey, and Celine Dion. With partner Rachel Faro, he'd produce records for Cuban a cappella group Vocal Sampling and Puerto Rican cuatro player Yomo Toro. A onetime resident of California and New York, Figueroa packed up his congas and his stellar credentials to live in South Florida two years ago. He's been making his rhythmic presence known ever since, sitting in with the occasional jazz combo, showing up from time to time alongside young hipsters like DJ Le Spam and the Spam Allstars, and accompanying gal vocalists such as Nicole Henry and Rose Max. Recently the combustible conguero formed the appropriately named Latin Jazz Explosion featuring Carlos Averhoff, Grammy Award winner and nineteen-year veteran of Cuban fusion band Irakere, on saxophone along with Mike Orta on piano, Nick Orta on bass, and Goetz "Santiago" Kujack on drums. The Explosion may just blast itself right out of South Florida, so enjoy the beat master while he's still ours.

Readers Choice: Mumbo Jumbo

There had to be a way to get these guys in Best of Miami without committing overkill. And their band name is the only thing they haven't been lauded for yet. They've got to have the best name because everyone's heard of them. Miami's own Latin/funk/jazz infusion is never mistaken for any other troupe of All Stars. The band's name has the same lovable Seventies kitsch that radiates from its maestro, DJ Le Spam a.k.a. Andrew Yeomanson, who's always seen in his habitual plaid thrift-shop pants, fun-themed T-shirt (like Fat Albert) and Converse sneakers. The "Spam" was inspired by old Spam ham ads, not Internet lingo like so many modern kiddies like to think. The "Allstars" portion is well deserved. The jazz ensemble featuring Mercedes Abal on the flute, AJ Hill on the sax, John Speck on the trombone, and Tomas Diaz on the timbales is as formidable a band as the X-Men are superheroes.

Rekindling indie-pop fun is what Bling Bling is all about. The four members of this group, formed in the summer of 2001, threaten to have fun and take the whole world with them. Ivan Choo Baby is electricity on the mike, Kiki La Rocca slaps the bass silly, Jonathan Sensitivity trumps zigzagging melodies, and Black Angus handles drum beats and background vocals. They sound along the lines of indie acts like the Pixies, Pavement, and Archers of Loaf. The past few years have been spent dominating clubs and one-nighters like Poplife and Revolver. Recording and releasing their six-song debut EP, Always Give Candy to Strangers, was a shot in the arm for the local indie-rock scene, but don't worry, the syringe was clean.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®