The never-old argument of South Florida's geographical isolation is null and voided from what I've been witnessing via social networking sites (Facebook, et al) as of late. Still, as much as I'd like to sit here and spout holier-than-thou bullshitisms, I can't deny the powerful force that an actual geographical isolation really is, especially in the days before all that Internet networking.
Nothing makes a better run for reality than to be backed-up into a corner, at the one venue your little scene can call home. For some of us slightly younger types, those venues to remember were Cheers, Garageland, the Everglades Punk Picnic Spot, and under the interstate overpass. Few places held cred back then, in the '90s.
For a slightly older crowd still, it was all about places like the Edge, in Fort Lauderdale, and Washington Square, in South Beach. The Edge has come and gone under so many different auspices and monikers that it might as well be last night's hooker's knickers. (The building is now Revolution.) But the Square did its thing with gusto.
Maybe my untreated alcoholism tweaks my memories, but did I not see Bad Religion there in the late 80's? Ice-T's Body Count? Was I not treated for mosh pit wounds by EMTs one morning in my high school years, leading to one of the biggest fucking lies I ever told my parents? (Said lie involved my clumsy feet, a dark staircase, and my buddy -- totally thrown under the bus here -- acting stupid.)
Oh well. The Square's doors closed in the mid-'90s and unfortunately few will remember the joint save for the many that do remember but don't know it. I'm talking about the phenomenon of Jim Carrey's Ace Ventura: Pet Detective character doing his interrogation rounds during a Cannibal Corpse gig at the club. Oh well, we'll take whatever we can. We are geographically isolated, after all.
So please explain why, 20-odd years later after the late venue opened its doors, there's a Washington Square reunion going down on South Beach at the South Seas Hotel on Friday, (for hors d'oeuvres and drinks) and a full-fledged concert at Churchill's on Saturday? That's right: If there is one fucking thing that we do have down here, is a sense of community, damn it!
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Let's take a look at the headliners for Saturday evening: Forget the Name. The group was, for a long time, South Florida's answer to the burgeoning alternative rock scene of the late '80s and early '90s. The band's pop sensibilities meshed well with an endemic necessity to push the music into the harder edges of rock, while maintaining introspective lyrical work and highly acclaimed live performances. They were early stage-sharers with Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids as well as other local favorites the Mavericks and Nuclear Valdez.
This allowed for the band to pursue touring and higher-profile gigs with Stone Temple Pilot and the Gin Blossoms. The group released a total of three full-lengths, but eventually disbanded in 1993. Most members, though, continued to work in entertainment.
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Singer Rene Alvarez and drummer Derek Murphy formed Milkcan before parting ways. Alvarez forming Sixo and Murphy eventually relocated to Atlanta where he's worked as a touring and session musician for a number of outfits. Guitarist Rafael Tarragó went on to perform with Jim Camacho and Nuclear Valdez, and these days boasts a new project named Saints of Fire. Bassist José Tillán has worked in music, as well, as manager and producer for a number of acts like Nil Lara and Pepe Alva.
Joining onstage to help celebrate the memory of an awesome venue will be the always-amazing Charlie Pickett, old-school punkers the Holy Terrors, the hip-shaking polka-punkers I Don't Know, and the good rockers the Goods, as well as Voidville and the Beat Poets.
It might not be the Square like we remember it, but I'm confident Churchill's Pub's walls can emulate the experience for many fans of live music here, one more time. Maybe the damn Pet Detective will show up. Maybe he won't. Fuck it. We don't need Hollywood meddling with our memories.
Forget the Name with Charlie Pickett, The Holy Terrors, I Don't Know, The Goods, Voidville, The Beat Poets and many more. 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 22nd at Churchill's, 5501 NE 2nd AVE, Miami. $13, 21+. Call 305-757-1807 or visit http://washingtonsquare.eventsbot.com/.