Local Music

Ten Legendary Shows at Churchill's Pub, From Marilyn Manson to Dave Daniels' Farewell

Ten Legendary Shows at Churchill's Pub, From Marilyn Manson to Dave Daniels' Farewell
Photo by Ian Witlen
September 2 through 9, Churchill's Pub, Little Haiti's legendary live-music mecca, will celebrate 39 years of business. Some performances have been weird, some beautiful, and some beautifully weird. To celebrate this odd anniversary, we list the most Churchill's-esque shows you might have missed.
From the New Times archives

April 28, 1990 — Marilyn Manson. For a $3 cover charge, you could see the Goods play with a new outfit called Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids. According to the website MansonWiki.com: "Manson allegedly vomited over stage fright on the night of the show, which 21 people attended. For the performance, bassist Olivia Newton Bundy obtained several mannequin heads from his school and had them placed across the stage."

November 27, 1993 — Harry Pussy. The noise-rock band played Churchill's countless times. What made this night special? Across town at Bayfront Park Amphitheater, Nirvana was playing a show, and during the band's only Miami concert, singer Kurt Cobain told the crowd he planned to go to Churchill's that night to see Harry Pussy. On a bootleg of the concert, Cobain sounds earnest about the statement; he's not just looking for an excuse to say, "Harry Pussy." It's unclear whether Cobain or any other member of Nirvana showed up that night.
Early '90s — Chickenhead. This punk band had a lead singer named Chuck Loose who was committed to giving his all. He was once banned from the venue for driving a motorcycle onstage. On another legendary night (captured by Camcorder), he lit himself on fire. New Times described the show thusly: "Even people who were there and had heard rumblings of the night's festivities didn’t believe it would happen. Then, in the blink of an eye, Loose was engulfed like the Human Torch, flailing around in flames. It's a story that would be hard to consider anything but urban legend if it weren't for the fact that someone got it on film."

Late '90s — the Eat. The Eat was a punk-rock band that this publication once dubbed the greatest Miami band of all time based on the 1979 song "Communist Radio." Local music writer Abel Folgar was at the '90s reunion show. "I wanna say '98, but I’m not sure," he says. "It was on a September night, my birthday, and the legendary Miami punk band played a long set, then cracked hilarious sports- and pop-culture-related jokes all night. The place was packed. Packed! That wasn’t a common sight at Churchill’s then. Sardine-tin tight. Everyone was there, and everybody had a great time. I came into Miami’s punk scene two waves after the Eat had its heyday, and it was amazing to see a range of ages, from the teens through the 50s. There’s a bootleg 12-inch of that night out in collector land. Great band, exactly what you imagine DIY punk rock should be. Nicest guys too. Their drummer, the dearly departed Chris Cottie, was fucking amazing. I offered him a cigarette that night and he said, “Why are you trying to fucking kill me?'"

June 20, 2002 — Cock E.S.P. "The World Cup was being played in South Korea and Japan, and Churchill's was World Cup central at the time," remembers Steven Toth, who also performs as Mr. Entertainment. "Due to time zone differences, the games were played in the middle of the night. England was playing Brazil in the quarterfinal match at approximately 2 a.m., and accidentally a noise show was booked with the infamously annoying Cock E.S.P. from Minnesota. This was before noise bands had a big draw, but they were welcome at Churchill's. Boise Bob and I went to just see the car crash that was going to happen, and it did. The band had no idea at first why so many people were at the bar, and the football fans had no idea who these guys that were going onstage with a donkey and rooster head were. The noise bands were cut short due to the mass exodus of football fans, which led to me hearing someone say, 'I hate sports.' The night concluded with England losing 2-1 versus Brazil, and the car crash was complete."
Photo by Ben Thacker
May 18, 2010 — Agnostic Front. The New York thrash pioneers brought the fury. What New Times said: "When Agnostic Front came on, it was already too late to safely navigate the blood, spit, and sweat-slicked slam dance floor to the front of the room. I went for it anyway, dodging flailing fists and rodeo kicks, backing off entranced and angry dancers with a Nikon flash to the face. Pow. People were literally flying in every direction, after either jumping willingly from the stage or having been thrown or otherwise ejected from the pit."
Photo by Marta Xochilt Perez
September 14, 2010 — Fucked Up. The Toronto indie-hardcore punk act with a dirty name headlined a raucous show. What New Times said: "There's no middle ground with these Canadian hardcore killers: It's either full immersion or nothing at all. And last night's post-midnight invasion of Churchill's was an all-out attack on the human body. A ten-foot dive into an awesome pit of punishment... He screamed in front-row faces. He shoved the mike down our throats, asking for a sing-along. He paced the stage in search of something unspecified. Then he beat his chest and joined the pit and climbed the bar and let some kid ride him like a baby monkey. Chaos had taken hold."

2010 — Deltron 3030. As a harbinger of Churchill's steady flow of historic hip-hop acts, Del the Funky Homosapien brought his science-fiction rap act to Little Haiti. Churchill's music booker Ian Michael remembers the crowd better than anything else: "Deltron in 2010 was one of my favorite shows to book. We sold out early and still had a line around the block waiting to get in. I’ve never seen more people inside and outside of Churchill's at once."
Photo by Walter Wlodarczyk
December 14, 2012 — Holly Hunt. The Miami duo celebrated an album release. What New Times said: "Over the weekend, Miami was given a subsonic sludge enema that it won't soon forget, courtesy of Miami's two favorite purveyors of low — Holly Hunt and Torche — at Churchill's Pub. Of course, the most appropriate locale was Sir Winston's, the only pub built to withstand this kind of heft, in a neighborhood already inundated with enough loud and weird shit of its own to not be particularly concerned with what odd noises/crowds amass at 3 a.m. down the block."
Photo by Monica McGivern
May 12, 2014 — Jacuzzi Boys. In one of the last shows at Churchill's before Dave Daniels sold the joint, the garage-rock favorites filled the joint for the longtime owner's last hurrah. What New Times said: "The always-charming frontman Gabriel Alcala took some time to thank Churchill's and all it has done for him, his bandmates, and the Miami scene, describing it as 'the most beautiful place on Planet Earth.' And as smoke drifted, strobe lights flashed, sweat dripped, couples tongued, and champagne showered down upon us from the stage, how could he be wrong?"
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David Rolland is a freelance music writer for Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland