When New Times wrote about the acts it would like to perform in Miami in 2017, news quickly followed that Lorde and Björk would finally make their way down to the tip of Florida. The city's music lovers were also close to finally seeing Omar Souleyman onstage at the North Beach Bandshell last year until visa issues forced the show's cancellation. And Godspeed You! Black Emperor is finally scheduled to make its Magic City debut when the band takes the stage at III Points next month.
It goes to show if you put it out there, the universe will listen. So in that spirit, let's choose another round of artists who need to perform in Miami — preferably in 2019, but we can wait till 2020.
Aphex Twin. After Aphex Twin emerged from hibernation in 2014 with his sixth studio album, Syro, many fans hoped they could finally catch the reclusive artist live. However, Richard D. James has concentrated mainly on releasing a handful of EPs and playing a festival here and there. So what are the odds he'll ever make it to Miami? Pretty slim. Ultra Music Festival and III Points seem to have the highest chance of making this dream come true.
Björk. You won't find a bigger defender of Björk's controversially received DJ set during Miami Art Week 2017 than this publication. Most people who were unhappy about the show had delusionally expected a live performance even though it was clearly advertised as a DJ set. Still, that set, in which she mixed samples from her last release, Utopia, with Top 40 fare such as Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow," felt like an appetizer. The Icelandic musician/producer should make it a point to finally give Miami a full serving of her decades-long catalogue in the form of a live show.
Photo by Louise Enhörning
Fever Ray. The chances you'll ever catch Swedish duo the Knife live are slim to none. Siblings Karin and Olof Dreijer played their final show in 2014 after confirming they would part ways after touring in support of their challenging yet rewarding album Shaking the Habitual. However, after sunsetting the Knife, Karin Dreijer went back to her solo project, Fever Ray, and finally gave fans the followup to her universally adored self-titled debut. Plunge, released at the end of 2017, was nothing like the dark synthpop sounds of her debut, instead feeling more like a continuation of the queer identity and politics explored on Shaking the Habitual. Dreijer has pretty much wrapped up the tour in support of Plunge — she canceled the remaining fall dates in 2018 due to anxiety and panic disorder. Hatsune Miku. Similar to Gorillaz, Hatsune Miku is a Japanese pop star who exists only in the mind of her creator, Crypton Future Media. However, unlike the Gorillaz, she's a Vocaloid, a singing voice synthesizer application, which means anyone in the world can create music using her vocals. However, Miku does have a set of songs considered canon, including her English-language track with Anamanaguchi — "Miku" — and the Sophie-produced "Be Who I Want 2 Be" with Namie Amuro. Numerous Vocaloid acts have seen success in Eastern Asia, particularly in Japan, but Miku is perhaps the best known. Her concerts, in which she appears as a hologram, are filled with crowd interaction that includes everyone waving LED lights in unison. Miku has toured in the States before, but unfortunately, she has yet to come to Florida.
Grimes. Actually, Grimes has performed in Miami before — in 2012 at Bardot. However, that was before her profile seemed to explode overnight. Then came 2015's Art Angels, and she became indie electronica's queen even as she took her music in a more pop direction. Finally, her relationship with Elon Musk, for better or worse, brought her to the attention of the mainstream. She hasn't released an album since dating the Tesla multibillionaire, but she has dropped "We Appreciate Power," a sort of propaganda piece for our inevitable artificial-intelligence-laden future. Will her tabloid romance translate to pop superstardom? Who knows, but the only piece of the Art Angels era that the Sunshine State got was an opening slot for Lana Del Rey at Coral Sky Amphitheater, so if Grimes goes arena-size on her next tour, there better be a South Florida stop.
Kero Kero Bonito. Somewhat connected to the whole PC Music phenomenon that swept the internet a couple of years ago, Kero Kero Bonito started out by making cavity-inducing electropop such as "Homework" and "Flamingo." When the group's debut album, Bonito Generation, featuring the stellar lazy person's anthem "Break," came around, it seemed the bandmates had found a sound that really worked for them. But just when listeners were getting used to the bubblegum-pop infectiousness, the group's sophomore effort, Time 'n' Place, takes the trio in a different direction, including indie rock and noise. Will KKB ever take Miami on a ride of crisscrossing styles? One can only hope.
The National. Despite releasing 2017's Sleep Well Beast, the National has continued to give Miami the middle finger. The band did visit Florida last year, with a sole date at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. It's hard to believe the band couldn't hit Florida's population centers — Orlando, Tampa, and Miami — and not sell out every show. So what gives? Last time New Times included the band on this list, the lack of a rock festival was cited, but there are plenty of venues in Miami alone the band could fill, including the Fillmore, James L. Knight Center, and Bayfront Park Amphitheater.
Omar Souleyman. Syrian electronic musician Omar Souleyman was so close to performing in Miami last year. However, at the last minute, the Rhythm Foundation, the promoter of the show, announced the concert had been canceled due to Souleyman's visa issues. It was unfortunate because the Mad Decent-signed performer is mesmerizing to watch. Western listeners are quick to classify Souleyman's music as world, but his sound melds traditional Arabic folk with electronic flourishes. His 2017 album, To Syria, With Love, is the perfect primer for Souleyman's aesthetic, and perhaps it'll lead you down a rabbit hole of his deep cuts. No word if the Rhythm Foundation plans to schedule another show with him in the future.
Rosalía. The Spanish singer-songwriter has played a few invite-only events in Miami, including a Latin Grammy acoustic showcase with Juanes and a Sony Music party during Art Basel at the Faena. However, when it comes to a public ticketed event — except for an appearance during FUNDarte's Flamenco Rave event last March — Miami has been left in the dark. However, the chances that Rosalía is mounting a global tour for her massively successful sophomore effort, El Mal Querer, in 2019 are good. Miami will surely be on the shortlist of U.S. cities considering its large Spanish-speaking population. Plus, this writer is still jamming to "Malamente" as he types this list.
Zomby. In keeping with the reclusive British DJ/producer theme, Zomby at one point seemed poised to be the next big thing in dance music even though he always seemed to strive to keep a low profile. He could have started doing the festival circuit and easily made a name for himself, but instead, he seemed to retreat further inward, keeping in touch with his fans only via his Twitter account, which he posts to semiregularly. Still, there hasn't been much in the way of new music since the 2017 release of Mercury Rainbow, a "lost" eskibeat concept album recorded in 2008. On social media, Zomby keeps pretty mum on what he's working on, but here's hoping there's an album on the horizon.
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Jose D. Duran is the associate editor of Miami New Times. He's the strategist behind the publication's eyebrow-raising Facebook and Twitter feeds. He has also been reporting on Miami's cultural scene since 2006. He has a BS in journalism and will live in Miami as long as climate change permits.