27 local bands participated in Death to the Sun 5.EXPAND
27 local bands participated in Death to the Sun 5.
Photo by Monica McGivern

Miami Says Farewell to the Summer With Death to the Sun 5

Death to the Sun is more than just a name for the music festival held this past Saturday at the North Beach Bandshell. It's a plea to Mother Nature — a celebration that soon the sun will retreat and South Floridians will no longer spend their days dabbing at their foreheads with napkins.

The all-day concert began at 1 p.m., that most unholy of hours, when the sun is high and bright in the sky and the locals usually seek refuge in air conditioning. So, sadly, the venue was pretty empty until the sun died. There were those in their short-shorts who came early, shooting water guns at one another and taking advantage of a sign that doubled as a mist dispenser. The venue's proximity to the beach helped too, but the bands that took the stage later got the bigger crowds.

"I want to thank you for supporting Miami's weirdos," the festival organizer, Ricardo Guerrero, who also performed that day as Rick Guerre, told those in attendance before the last performer, Dim Past, played his electronic beats at 9:40 p.m. "This kind of thing isn't supposed to happen here." Death to the Sun calls itself Miami Underground Music Festival and makes a point to feature local bands without pop appeal: the sludgers, the punk rockers, and, yes, the weirdos.

The crowd was thin during the start of the day.EXPAND
The crowd was thin during the start of the day.
Photo by Monica McGivern

Death to the Sun was a rare thing, an entirely free festival (though they were actively trying to collect donations for the bands at the door), devoid even of any corporate sponsors. There was a lonely food truck parked onsite, a cash bar, and some vendors, but commerce was as minimal as you'll see at a music event. 

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Instead, it was a day to revel in the sheer quantity of music. Twenty-seven bands took the stage over the course of nine hours. The idea was ten minutes on stage, ten minutes for the next act to set up their gear, and repeat. This meant no formalities. No "What's up guys!" No "Thanks for coming!" Oftentimes, there was not even an introduction, so if you dug a band, you were forced to ask them what their name was when they walked offstage. But the day's lineup was an excellent sampling of what bands in the local scene you'd want to check out again.

Each band had roughly ten minutes to play its set.EXPAND
Each band had roughly ten minutes to play its set.
Photo by Monica McGivern

Of the bands that I was able to catch, the one that made the greatest impression was Milk Spot, whose cartoonish glam-rock gimmicks included a guitarist with a rubber chicken mask covering his head and a singer in a yellow boa who foamed some neon-blue liquid out of his mouth. Möthersky's low-key electro instrumentals were as refreshing as the ocean breeze after a few too many metal sets in a row. But it's silly to pick winners when there were no losers. Everyone got more than his or her money's worth.

Sadly, the day didn't end well for everyone. On their way home from the show, local act Booty and the Browns had its car broken into and all its musical equipment stolen. If you'd like to keep the local love going, you can contribute to a GoFundMe page for the band here.

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