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Juke's Eric Garcia: Day One of His Miami Music Festival Journal

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Day One: It's called a "soft opening" of Miami's newest live music venue, The Stage. An optimist might say that the seeds of culture are beginning to sprout as these new clubs see the light of night.

It's also New Times' VIP kickoff party for the Miami Music Festival, and the two seemed to make a good match for this sophomore event. I'm standing here with my favorite shoes on, all set to play four shows in three days and ready to sing my heart out with Juke for free. Hopeful for new opportunities, yet skeptical from experience.

The usual crowd of smoothly dressed brunette people with a blonde or two (they must be from Ohio) begin to fill the club. I order my free Jameson and ginger (open bar rocks), and remember that when I arrived for my ridiculously early load-in time, there were still forklifts and construction guys putting the final nails in the walls.

Two bands have already played now, and I'm really not sure how many more there will be before I go on. I only know one thing: We are last. The closing band on a multi-band bill is the theme music for club employees and drunks who don't know when it's time to leave. Just my demographic.

A couple more bands play. I'm meeting a surprising number of interesting people, but I'm really getting tired of describing my music to people who I know won't stick around long enough to see us even if I did the show with carrot ruffage hanging out of my ass.

What makes this night especially surreal is that I had to put my dog of twelve years down this very morning. I spent the afternoon digging a deep grave in the limestone, and then building an elaborate grave. I cried for days just today. If I could leave, I would. If I could rent another "me" for tonight, I'd pay anything.

Time to play and the crowd is just as I had predicted, but somehow had an awesome time. The sound on the stage was decent. The lights in my eyes made me only see silhouettes. And the head bartender, Ben, seemed to like the cut of my band's jib and expressed it frequently delivering me Jameson's shots.

All is not lost; except maybe my voice. I'm actually playing The Stage again tomorrow for a "real MMF event." We have a much better timeslot. I guess tonight was a boozy dress rehearsal. Anything is better than staying home with the fresh ghost of my four-legged friend.

Tomorrow can't come fast enough.

-- Eric Garcia

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