Concert Review: B-Live at The Bayfront Park Amphitheatre
April 19, 2008
The Bayfront Park Amphitheatre
Better Than: The biggest block party you ever attended.
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Miami is mad about its music, not to mention its mojitos, so when the good folk at Bacardi took over Miami’s Bayfront Park and gave a few thousand of their pals heaping helpings of both, well, pandemonium set in. Oh, not psychotic, mind you, but definitely crazy. And, as they say in the hood: off the motherfucking chain.
Fittingly, Miami’s-own DJ Irie ushered in the throng, and gave ‘em a skip as he did so. I tell ya, Irie has gotta be perhaps the only local DJ who can spin between arenas and cabanas and not lose his heat – or his cool. Last night was no exception. What he spun, I couldn’t tell you, but I can tell you that it went perfectly with sunset and a cocktail. Better yet, his cool warmed Bayfront like God’s breath itself. Little wonder Irie told me he felt “blessed” to be here.
The by now ubiquitous Danny Masterson (aka Mom Jeans) followed our main man, and those many, many long nights on the town must’ve given the former tube star some keen insight into just what makes Miami move, ‘cause the cat didn’t play one crowd stopper the whole set. I seem to recall Calvin Harris, and drop-ins of Tag Team and Guns ‘n’ Roses, the rest was pure seamless groove.
Good to see someone can follow-up a hit TV show with a whole ‘nother career and not lose a step.
Then Irie himself main-staged to introduce what seemed to be the men of the hour – if not the night. I mean, natch, Dave Navarro and DJ Skribble, who showed strong and came on stronger, especially since they were backed by Questlove, DJ Slinkee, J Mello and a gaggle of Cisco Adler’s sidekicks.
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The last time I caught Navarro and Skribble they were at Pawn Shop, and things were a teem of testosterone and gang girls, with the former undergoing spontaneous initiation fights every 30 seconds or so. But I suppose a couple cold mojitos out under a beautiful sky will sate even the most savage of ruffians, ‘cause I caught nothing but smiles on everyone.
Not to mention more than a few hundred raised fists. Sure there were DJs; yes, there was a rapper; and there was unquestionably a Root, but Navarro and company combine to create nothing if not good new-fashioned rock.
Which means loud, proud and over-the-top. LL segues into Floyd, Yung Joc smacks up against Sabbath, gives way to Queen, Daft Punk gets Mansonized before breaking into Shop Boyz. And Jay Z brings it all back to where it will go. Adding a second DJ to the mash-up made it all the more mix-worthy, adding drums made it all the more beaty. Being under a Bacardi skyline, made it all the more tasty.
No mojito would ever be enough for Navarro, however, no matter what shelf it comes off of. The cat’s positively insatiable. And I don’t mean music-wise either. Before the show he came on to the MySpace chick; after he deep-throated one of the Bacardi girls, and throughout the whole set he took turns tonguing and grinding against one very elastic dancing dame. Hell, for a minute there I thought he was gonna drop trou and do her right onstage.
Vulgar, to be sure, but what’s a lotta loud over-the-top rap ‘n’ rock without a little vulgarity?
Deep Dish came next, but I was too busy backstage to catch ‘em (don’t ask). I did however pull myself away from the unmentionables long enough to witness Groove Armada blow up the place, without even breaking a sweat.
Those of you who were lucky enough to catch GA when they spun at Vagabond or sat in at White Room know what these masters of beatitude can do to a turntable, but this time the Brits provided more than a trademark DJ treat – they cooked a whole meal. I mean a fully live smörgåsbord, dig?, served up by a cavalcade of singers and baked by a full band. Big beat, dub step, deep house, ultra soul – the Armada stewed it all, and the crowd, of course, ate every bit of it.
Again the details are murky (after all, this was hour five of imbibing), yet who needs details when the whole was so spectacular?
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Personal Bias: I’m a native Miamian, so anything that turns on our city, turns me on too.
Random Detail: Groove Armada’s Andy Cato plays a mean trombone.
By the Way: The whole she-bang might still be streaming on MySpace.