Concert Review: Artopia at Parkwest Night Club

The Spam Allstars helped the New Times celebrate its 20th Anniversary

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Spam Allstars, Awesome New Republic, and Raffa & Rainer

January 19, 2008

Parkwest Nightclub

Better Than: Any 20th birthday party I've ever been to!

Hundreds of people piled into Parkwest on Saturday. Of course they did, it's not everyday that your favorite cynical, city-watchdog turns twenty.

Miami New Times celebrated its 20th anniversary with an extravaganza of grandiose proportions. With the inclusion of performances by three local bands, three fashions shows, silent films, two DJs and live art, there was something to please all tastes.

Raffa and Rainer was the first musical performance of the night, taking the stage after the presentation of a fashion line that left a lot to be desired- originality, imagination, or even just a sense of style. But Raffa and Rainer remedied my momentary dissatisfaction with the entertainment by performing haunting melodies accented by beautiful arpeggios. Unfortunately, their melodic musings had to compete with the semi-hushed voices of a packed club, where the audience was more concerned with getting their next free drink than appreciating the respite from the ear-pounding, typical club music.

After another fashion show and a performance rivaling not only the aerial performances of Cirque du Soleil but also the laws of gravity, the newly reunited Awesome New Republic performed, giving club goers exactly what they wanted: the dancey, eclectic tunes that the local indie scene has come to know and love. During their set, I made a quick trip to the adjacent room in the club, noticing that songs of a different variety were emanating from the room that had gone previously unnoticed by me. Although I appreciated the live art and a bit of 80s music, ANR are dynamic performers with a set I didn't want to miss. Upon reentering the room, they began playing the classic “Eye of the Tiger,” my favorite part of the performance.

The last band to play was the Spam Allstars, who blend electronic elements with a variety of musical influences including hip hop, Latin, funk and dub. They artfully combine genres that would normally be a discordant jumble of chaos and turn it into music that is both an accurate representation of Miami's culture and a point of pride, especially considering their nomination for a Latin Grammy in 2003. After experiencing Miami New Time's spectacular, I can't wait to see what they'll do to celebrate becoming legal. -- Ashley Rousseau

Critic's Notebook:

By the way: I saw Trick Daddy outside as I was leaving.

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