Summer in Miami is a muggy, uncomfortable affair — even when activity involves simply just standing around. The humidity hangs like a cloth sack of moistness. That being the case, we might as well sweat for a good reason. And last Saturday night, Churchill’s Pub gave us a number of good reasons — eight hours' and ten bands' worth, in fact.
Miami’s Endless Summer returned to the fabled dive bar for an extraordinary afternoon and evening of music that brought together some of the best local bands from around the city as well as a few out-of-towners from as far away as L.A. The lineup included 198X, Other Body, Peyote Coyote, The Wildtones, Suede Dudes, the Filthy Casuals, Great Outdoors, and Viceroi, with Jet Black Alley Cat and Sleeptalk making the trek from Tennessee and California, respectively. Headlining the bill once again were Miami alternative rock duo Deaf Poets, who also premiered their new single, “What Am I to Do.”
Kicking off at 6 p.m., Endless Summer was a well-oiled machine of rock and roll with bands performing back-to-back on either the main stage or the pit floor. The setting sun gave no respite from the warmth inside the eternally steamy Churchill’s, but it did seem to stir up the tempo of the crowd and the venue.
Orlando's Wildtones created a perfect segue between the early bands and the closers with a raucous, swinging, retro-rock set meant for jazzing dance floors and nightclubs everywhere. The rockabilly outfit fired up early birds and welcomed in the latecomers for a marathon that tempted you to ignore the clock from the moment it began.
One of the more impressive national acts on the lineup was Jet Black Alley Cat, a five-piece that sported the fashion and flair of '70s rockers with a very modern indie pop sound. Lead singer Joe Wilkinson is the seductive sort of frontman who makes love to all his female fans from the stage with his open shirt and lithe dance moves.
Closer to home, 198X, a furious garage punk trio, provided another highlight of the evening. Seemingly raised on all good things rock and roll from the Clash to Fugazi, they opened up the room with some proper hell-raising scorchers.
Around 10 p.m., the patio doors out back opened up to the Green Room for Cut-a-Rug Saturday, which featured DJ Rippin Kittin and experimental electronica that made for a bizarre and quirky dance floor. If the damp heat and harsh shadows were too much to bear, a few steps in, a room with a black light and black leather couches welcomed the weary (and those looking to score mind-melting party favors.)
Inside, Deaf Poets, who hover somewhere between Death From Above 1979 and the Whigs, paired the friendly faces of Sean Wouters (guitars/vocals) and Nicolas Espinosa (drums) with some very aggressive and hard-hitting garage rock. Wouters, one of the show curators and producers of the fest alongside Alba Rubio of the music blog Showskii, politely thanked the crowd for coming out and then promptly assaulted his guitar, churning out some heavy, thumping melodies.
At only seven bucks a pop for entry, this DIY fest at the city’s most infamous punk rock dive bar was criminally underpriced.
The Endless Summer film, a surf movie released in 1966, is about the chase for the perfect wave and searching for a way to never let the good times end. Miami’s rock version of that encompassed much of the same intentions and ideals: the search for the best in an ocean of great music and the hope that this will all last forever. With bands like 198X, Deaf Poets, Peyote Coyote, and the rest, we believe it can all last forever — until the tides from the melted polar ice caps wash us all away in one furious wave.
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