This weekend, Miami will welcome yet another new music festival to its shores. And we're not complaining.
For a while, it seemed Miami would never have more than Ultra and 9 Mile. However, over the past few years, new endeavors have begun to pop up, with events like III Points and Rolling Loud hitting their stride. And then, last year, House of Creatives seemed to appear out of nowhere to give the city an early Christmas present.
Miami will also see the debut of Kaya Fest in April. And this weekend, FM Festival will take over the area adjacent to the North Beach Bandshell. The Poplife and Rhythm Foundation event is bringing big names such as Hot Chip, Bomba Estéreo, and Ghostface Killah to perform in near-perfect weather. (Temperatures will hover around the low 70s during the day and in the high 50s at night, with a chance of rain Sunday.)
The event will also feature bites and drinks from some of Miami's best — "FM" stands for "Food and Music," after all — including Ariete, Fooq's, Eating House, Employees Only, Pawn Broker, and Gramps.
But between stuffing your face and waiting for the headliners to take the stage, it's easy to overlook the music going on as soon as the gates open at 2 p.m. each day. For an inaugural event with a small lineup, FM packs a punch. Any act is a sure bet, but here are some of the highlights — besides the headliners — you might want to make room for between bites.
New Times recently highlighted the rising local R&B singer, but if you didn't heed the advice, FM gives you an opportunity to correct that. Gabriela Guerrero has made a stunning debut with her future R&B EP, Polarized. Her vocals wisp over production by locals Triangles and Kaixen, sounding both facile and confident. On her track "Body Talk," she coos, "Spend the night/Fuck the lights/We don't want to go out/'Cause we are doing this right." Don't disappoint Guerrero, and check out her set Sunday.
Los Angeles-based producer Jason Chung, AKA Nosaj Thing, has been releasing beats into the world for a decade, and he doesn't seem to be slowing down. With a sound that straddles hip-hop and electronic, his productions seem esoteric and at the same time approachable. In the past couple of years, big-name acts such as Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, and Kid Cudi have called on Chung to provide them with beats. Last year, he released his five-track EP, No Reality, which featured minimalistic production work to match the austere song titles.
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Late last year, garage-rock trio Jacuzzi Boys released its fourth full-length album, Ping Pong, which was recorded in L.A. The City of Angels must have rubbed off on the Boys, because the album drips with West Coast influences. The album opener mimics the Beach Boys, complete with ooh-ooh call-and-responses in a slightly grimier package. Released on the band's Mag Mag label, Ping Pong seems to have picked up some of that L.A. sheen thanks to slick production values that have the Boys sounding at their most commercial but not forgetting their swampy roots.
Steven A. Clark
You probably didn't have a better New Year's Eve than Steven A. Clark. While you were sipping cheap champagne and trying not to fall asleep before midnight, Clark was onstage at Bayfront Park alongside Pitbull welcoming 2017. He was lucky enough to land the high-profile gig thanks to an unexpected collaboration with Mr. Worldwide on a remix of Clark's "Can't Have." "It sounds a little bit like old Pitbull," Clark told New Times in December. "He's really rapping aggressively. It was tight to bring that side of him out again, and I think he was ready to do that." This time around, Clark won't have to share the stage with Pitbull, but the singer-songwriter has proven to be an apt live performer — even without fireworks going off in the background.
Leave it to some random Miamian to threaten Slow Magic with a stabbing. The DJ/producer told New Times of the tale in 2015. But that still can't seem to keep him away — and that's a good thing. Slow Magic makes music as colorful as the neon mask he dons — full of energy and jubilance. Considering how well the Trump presidency is going so far, we can use all the positivity you can get. Slow Magic is also known for encouraging audience participation, including letting fans in the front row create a beat on his MIDI controller or taking his drums to the middle of the crowd. Just be prepared in case he needs your help in creating, well, magic.