Death to the Sun IV: The Final Episode
Churchill's Pub, Miami
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Better Than: Rocky IV, Lethal Weapon IV, The Land Before Time IV, Alien: Resurrection, and Indiana Jones and the Aliens or whatever.
Death to the Sun has celebrated its final end-of-summer extravaganza.
So obviously, we've got a mean case of the Mondays. Let's ease the pain with some highlights from one of Miami's best (and unfortunately, short-lived) local music festivals.
DTTS has consistently curated strong, dynamic rock festivals. And none of them have ever taken place at Churchill's Pub -- Miami's undisputed, undefeated, forever-reigning champ'een (and only) rock club.
Sir Winston's hideaway provided a layout practically tailored to the night's sprawling, maximalist format. We're surprised that in addition to carving three stages out of the expansive dive, Guerrero didn't try to book bands in Dave Daniels's laundry room. Or maybe at an adjacent crack house.
The rotating points of focus also helped maintain the show's momentum, and helped further distinguish the voluminous and constant onslaught of live music into bands and solo artists responding to the specifics of their assigned space, be it main stage, floor of the ballroom, or the legendary back patio.
The showcase's platforms, thematics and allegiances have been clear since the first edition of the festival in 2009 at the American Legion in MiMo. Looking for a tidy, slogan or encapsulation? At Death to the Sun, rock 'n' roll reigns supreme.
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Thankfully, the show's dedication to guitar-based din is tastefully tempered by an open-format sensibility that doesn't just book a show like one fills out a Mad Lib or colors by numbers. The bill is always overflowing, but the endless barrage never becomes monotonous. Instead of one long set obsessed with beating a genre to death, the night proved to be the teleological realization of The Festival: a dense, diverse selection of music you have and haven't heard.
Manny Mangos is a Puerto Rican one-man The Shaggs. He sang ramshackle, falling-apart dirtnap mini-anthems about G.G. Allin. And, y'know, rocker shit. The Gun Hoes, The Jellyfish Brothers, and Las Tias all repped the newest wave of Little Haiti's isolated garage-punk scene with loud fist-pumping, beer-swilling ragers coated with pop, slop, and -- especially in the case of the J-Bros -- the occasional deep-fried surf lick.
More explicit contrast came from experimental and electronic artists welcomely peppered in among the fonz-core, pop-punk, and rawk.
Kenny Millions was billed by name, even though he seemed to be in DJ Fucked-Up mode. Which, for those of you who are unfamiliar, is essentially a Kenny Millions set with pornography projected on the wall big-screen-style and totally fucked-up noisecore remixes of rap music. And for those unfamiliar with "a Kenny Millions set," that has historically involved the 65-year-old former Motown session jazz player turning his saxophone into a weaponized version of shrieking cats and calling the audience "cocksuckers." Welcome to Churchill's. Don't use the bathroom.
Brad Lovett -- former guitarist for now-fully-imploded black metal trio, Slashpine -- steered the night into its most explicitly digital direction with his hot-to-trot Dim Past project. The bass was the center of gravity and even peered off the edge of dubstep. Luckily, Lovett managed to tightrope his way across throbbing bass that didn't fall off the wobble-womp cliff. More Skream than Boregore, if you will.
But let's be clear: This was not dubstep or even, really, formal bass music. This was techno, played on old-school equipment without a computer in sight, and mindful of classic styles like acid and minimal while staying dedicated to the dark, post-flood sound-sculpting of the Modern Love label.
But only Subway, featuring Nate Young from industrial-stomp unit Wolf Eyes, majorly bummed out most of the audience in that way exclusive to the noise music genre. We were personally enraptured by the pairing of psych-ill-delic vocals with way-stoned front-porch blues-guitar free-diddlin'. But most of the audience seemed confused or distraught. Rat Bastard was on sound duty. And with the gusto of Nietzsche writing about Wagner, he described the performance as "completely unlistenable!"
However, in the final analysis, it was good ol' fashioned rock music that really emptied the audience's collective psychic bowels. Palm Beach County's Cop City/Chill Pillars performed a set that may be best described as an enema. The good, the bad, the sexy, the gross ... It's all in there. And even though it hurts a little, you know it feels good. You freak. Jesus, our palms (and tongues) are getting hairy just thinking about this set.
We have frequently described this trio and their collaborators as a variant of caveman boogie rock. Well, in the wake of Hosed, the band's sophomore LP on Florida's Dying, it's clear that our lil' psychedelic neanderthal is growing up.
We can imagine you asking: "But what the fuck did they sound like?" And without a doubt, our answer is "the newest rock music possible."
The Crowd: Rockers, rollers, fonzies, punx, hipsters, post-hipsters, artists, art-party animals, hornballs, secret freaks, obvious freaks, fiends, friends, and some of the most inebriated people we have ever seen in our entire lives.
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From the Stage: Ecstatic cries, cryptic musings, pleas for narcotics.
From the Crowd: The unholy moan of self-sabotaging party savages.
From My Editor: "Don't bail on this one. You always party too hard or something at these weirdo fests."