After renovating and reopening the 80-year-old Little Havana club Ball & Chain, co-owner Zack Bush has been on a mission to provide live music every day of the week, Sunday being no exception. And for the past year, Ball & Chain's Sundays on the Ocho has sought to provide a festive atmosphere on a day usually reserved for cooking and couches.
"Sundays on the Ocho is our family-friendly day," Bush tells us. "We invite all ages to come from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Outside we have music. We have drink specials — last week we had a special sangria. Along with our usual food menu, we also offer something different whether it's a seafood paella or barbecue."
But now Bush is putting a spin on his Sunday party, adding a wildcard into the mix known as Pineapple Sunday.
"Pineapple Sunday is going to happen once a month," he says. "On Pineapple Sunday, instead of showcasing one band, we're going to have five or more acts. There's no pattern to which Sunday in the month it is going to be. We're going to give two weeks' notice, so people can be surprised and say, 'Oh shit, it's Pineapple Sunday!'"
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Bush books the acts with a man he describes as his jazz ambassador, Nick Tannura, a guitarist who played with two of the acts that performed at the June edition of Pineapple Sunday. Tannura has fond memories of the experience. "There was a lot of diversity. People came for one band they knew and ended up staying for the whole thing. At 8 p.m., after Magic City Hippies played, we had to close it down because the cops were there. But it was great to see people screaming for more music."
Other acts that played on that Pineapple Sunday were the Politix, Electric Kif, Juke, and Lemon City Trio. DJ Le Spam, a favorite of Tannura, was there to spin records between sets. "He's an elder of the scene whose love of music is so cool. I'm constantly going to his turntable to learn what a record he's playing is."
While the next Pineapple Sunday isn't scheduled until July 24, Sundays on the Ocho will continue through June with the live stylings of Vlade Divak, an instrumental hip-hop outfit with '90s sensibilities.
One aspect of both Sundays on the Ocho and Pineapple Sunday that Bush is most proud of is that there is no cover charge. "I want people to hear good music and not to have to spend a dollar to hear it. You can sit around and just drink tap water if you like."