Purdy Lounge
Are you one of those people who love doing their Tony Montana imitation for friends at parties — even though it's essentially butchering an already butchered rendition of a Cuban accent? Perhaps you have or at one point had a poster of Al Pacino's pivotal antihero gracing your walls. Or maybe it's a lifelong dream to seamlessly work into conversation a line such as "Manolo. Choot dis piece of chet!" Well, if any (or heaven forbid, all) of the aforementioned describes you, there's really only one place you should spend your time imbibing. And that's the northwest-of-SoBe institution Purdy Lounge. Head to the backroom and enjoy your tequila shots or Jäger bombs to the vista of Frank Lopez's iconic palm trees and sunset wallpaper while listening to everything from current hip-hop to the B-52s' "Love Shack." Ask for Steve-O, Dan, or Cary, all of whom are the shiznit.
The Fillmore Miami Beach
Photo by Jason Koerner
Three years ago, concert promoting giant Live Nation took over the historic Jackie Gleason Theater, celebrating the opening with a concert by Ricky Martin. Though there was some initial grumbling about the theater's corporate control — and its choice of a first act — most skepticism has fallen away. While the new Fillmore Miami Beach preserved the exterior of the old Gleason Theater, on the inside, it is a distant relative to the old venue. This new version is darker and sexier, a place where you might actually want to hang out rather than suffer through yet another production of The Nutcracker with Grandma. Where some acts would previously have been routed north to Broward County, they have been trickling into the Fillmore instead. In fact, just during the past six months, the venue's booking has really begun to cook, with names such as Wilco, Band of Horses, and the Arctic Monkeys all playing in a spectacular April.But the future of the Fillmore hangs in the balance. Miami Beach commissioners have agreed to hear a proposal that would raze the theater and turn it into yet another hotel. At the same time, Live Nation posted a loss again on the venue — and that might repeat next year. A grassroots campaign is underway on Facebook; search for the group Save the Fillmore at Jackie Gleason Theater. Music and culture fans of all stripes are banding together to sway Beach commissioners. If the hotel plan is approved, it would be a major blow to both historic preservationists and those with hopes for Miami's position as a music hub.
In a splintered local musical climate, Day-Glo duo Afrobeta is beloved by all. The band can credit some of that to its members' varied musical pedigrees. The duo's instrumental mastermind, Tony Smurphio, has tickled the ivories for Latin-scene staples such as Suenalo and Bacilos, and even Pitbull. Frontwoman Cuci Amador has earned major hipster cred with her cartoonish style and has even laced a track for reggaeton group Calle 13. Then add sonic confections that straddle many genres and spin them into something futuristic. Sometimes Smurphio's synth lines squiggle and thud with the best vibrations of Miami bass; other times they head for a sweeter, almost radio-friendly electro lite. Amador goes for sassy, almost-rap spitfire; then lets out a freestyle-esque, lovelorn sob; and then goes for all-out next-wave pop princess. No matter the direction of individual songs, though, it all comes together in a sweet form that goes down easy and makes locals proud that the band continues to rep Miami in ever-widening global circles.
The band's name is short, simple, sun-fried, and sweetly sinister — just like its brand of raucous punk rock 'n' roll. While other local bands trying for memorable names head for puerility and overcomplication, succinctness is often best.
The Down Home Southernaires were rightfully beloved around town, with a truly multiculti blend of sounds that drew in the usual hipsters as well as other curious global sonic tourists. The group tackled swamp-rock, Afrobeat, gospel, soul, and even country with equal aplomb. It boasted the kind of catchy, sing-song vocals that could recall New and No Wave greats such as Talking Heads. Still, nothing gold can stay, and eventually the band, which had become a regular fixture at nearly every show at places including the now-defunct PS14, fizzled. Or so it seemed. What they were really doing was devising a master plan. The band was quietly reborn late last year as Animal Tropical. It's basically the same lineup, but with a new name and a new, sweeping ambition. Animal Tropical is now officially based in both Miami and New York, flying back and forth between cities in the hopes of playing more shows. It seems to be working. They have played local events such as Cinema Sounds and Sweat Records' five-year anniversary party. So consider it not a breakup but a breakthrough.
Sweat Records
Paolo Santosuosso
Sweat Records' five-year anniversary, dubbed Sweatstock, was certainly cause for celebration. In a city that hardly rewards independents, the continued success of the little-record-store-that-could is a symbol of hope for both the music retail business and Miami entrepreneurship. Thanks to the store's constant booster efforts for the local scenes, everyone has only good feelings about it, and every micro-scene converged on Sweat's fifth birthday party, held in the short, closed-off block adjacent to the store. For one day, crust punks, bicycle nuts, dance club hipsters, underground hip-hop lovers, freaks, and squares alike enjoyed a relaxed day of the best in local entertainment, fueled by cheap beer, cheap food, and a peaceful vibe. Things got progressively more rambunctious as the evening wore on, though, capped off by a set by the visiting punkish L.A. duo No Age, which incited dancing so feverish that various wires came unplugged every few minutes. It was a gleeful in-your-face to all the naysayers who write off the city's possibilities for live music and community-building.
Two years ago, jazz aficionados were aghast when WMIA dropped its jazz programming and changed its format. The new slogan: "Move to the Music." But since then, WMIA has turned itself into the Willy Wonka of local radio. It's an unapologetic dispenser of kitschy pop. When that afternoon lull comes around, DJ Sama pulls out enough saccharine to trigger an amphetamine-like rush: Dee-Lite's "Groove is in the Heart" bleeds into Britney Spears's "Toxic," which bleeds into Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff." The jazz snobs might scoff, but who needs jazz when that cheeseball sonata comes on? During the rest of the day, the DJs flit between Gaga and Miley, but they really hit their glorious confectionery stride when they monkey-wrench the expected Top 40 playlist with some weird classic like "Relax." Keep it coming, WMIA. We want candy.
South Florida's airwaves are full of quality Caribbean music and cultural programming. You can catch brand-new choons, hours of reggae classics, Kreyol language broadcasts, and early-morning bashment music across the dial. But the premier station is 96.1 Mixx. This is where you'll find the streets of Miami, a gladiator school for Caribbean music DJs, and the dancehall/soca party circuit's headquarters. It's the very station where a young DJ Khaled made his Miami debut. From Cancer Hi Power's Warbeezy to Jah Stream, to Springer, Fergie, and Walshy Killa, Mixx's roster of daily spinners keeps the air horns blowing.
Run by a tiny rock chick named Nicole Irizarry, this local booking-slash-whatever agency made its debut with last year's first So Raw Festival. It starred peeps such as the Jacuzzi Boys, Melted Sunglasses, and Lil Daggers. Since then, Irizarry and her coconspirators have brought free beer and scuzzy garage punk to the Miami scene on a bimonthly basis. The whole thing culminates June 18 with the So Raw Fest. On the eve of this big moment, New Times spoke with Irizarry about party philosophy, piñatas, and pizza.New Times: What was So Raw created to protect?Irizarry: Fun on the cheap. We wanted to bring attention to the local music scene and show off everything we love and hate about Miami. If we had to protect something, it would probably be fritas and tallboys. NT: Can you recap the So Raw season so far?Irizarry: We've put on seven shows since the first festival. Because every show has been at a different venue, it's been pretty hectic. We've had all the bands cancel 20 minutes before the show. We've had fights. We've also had piñatas and a mummifying contest. All in all, it's been awesome.NT: What will So Raw Festival Part II look like?Irizarry: The truth for the 2010 scene is that we have a temporary store this year for the months of June and July, so we're gonna be able to represent even more music through record sales. We'll also have snacks and coffee. As far as the rest of the year, we've got more shows and more free stuff coming along. If we had to be clairvoyant, we'd say we would have our own venue/gallery space with unlimited free drinks and pizza, a pool table floating on top of a real pool, and one of those giant pianos you play with your feet, like in Big, in front of a light-up mural of Tom Hanks.
Boxwood (AKA Jose Ferrer) says he almost exists as two separate entities. There's the contemplative songwriter, at home in his warehouse space turned loft/studio, laying down each track of each song and penning thoughtful and often poignant lyrics that probe various aspects of the human condition. An examples is "There a Fire," in which he sings, "And I know these things are going to have to wait/By the time you wake up they'll be gone." And there's the artist you see at his captivating performances, where he constructs songs from scratch; the guy is a one-man band relying on an array of instruments and loop pedals as well as his own ingenuity. He's reluctant to become known for the latter, preferring to focus on his content. But to the outside observer, it's just more evidence of an incredibly creative and inventive songwriter and musician.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®