Nylon Magazine's Impromptu Show Proves Miami Music Kicks Ass, September 21

Photo by Ian Witlen
Click here to view photos of the Nylon Show at Sweat Records.

With Raffa Jo Harris, Animal Tropical,
Lil Daggers, Afrobeta, ANR, Rachel Goodrich, and Deaf Poets
Sweat Records, Miami
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Better than: A professionally blended cocktail.

The Review:
Last night we saw the true power of word of mouth in South Florida. The showcase was planned at the very last minute to showcase the diversity of Miami music for Nylon Magazine. News spread via the bands, Sweat Records, and yours truly yesterday afternoon and somehow this little show morphed into a mass celebration of the local music scene.

The 100-plus crowd was heavy on emotions. Powerful positive vibes took over the stage and made each band come off as if this was going to be the best performance they'd ever put on. It probably was, too, as there was no drama, no complications, and no bad energy, just music.

Photo by Ian Witlen
The show started a little after 9pm, with Raffa Jo Harris taking to the stage to warm up the crowd. That she did, and her soft, soulful croons seemed to sway listeners and show off that you really can rock a little softer.

Photo by Ian Witlen
Animal Tropical followed, making the case for witty lyrics, impromptu angelic chants, and random God-like arm raises that juxtaposed hard drums, a bass line, and sporadic "shoo wop shoo wops."

Photo by Ian Witlen
After Animal Tropical's unpredictable set list, the genre abruptly changed to Lil Daggers' breed of psychedelic garage rock, and no one seemed to mind. Lead singer Johnny danced around the stage, half-moaning and half-belting it out the best he knew how. At one point, he even pulled out his phone and took a picture while electric guitars echoed, smirking slyly in contrast to his trademark deadpan expression. Music is serious business for him, and we could tell.

Photo by Ian Witlen
The rest of the showcase was filled with surprise performances. Afrobeta hit the stage next, and singer Christy added some flavor to her performance, full-on dancing and jumping with so much energy, and giving a shout out to Nylon, making sure they knew that they should feel special, as this "was all for them." If that weren't enough, there was always the faux pigeon on Tony's shoulder, which added even more oomph to the band's wardrobe.

Photo by Ian Witlen
ANR was the next surprise, and the first thing out of John Hancock's mouth was "Everybody stand up and come to the front. We make music for humans, not furniture." The audience obeyed, and danced around to songs like "Kill South Beach Dead." They mentioned a song that Animal Tropical's Jose Castello wrote the lyrics for, but then admitted that they couldn't yet play it for us, as they haven't yet mastered Spanish. What a tease.

Photo by Ian Witlen
Their very minor technical difficulties were hardly noticeable, and instead of stressing it, they quickly changed their set list and continued hamming up the crowd with remarks like, "If a tree falls in the forest and an influential blogger isn't there to hear it, does it make a sound?" They really made an impression with their extended seven song set, and closed it out with an electrifying cover of Sonic Youth's "Schizophrenia."

Folky songstress Rachel Goodrich took to the stage next, and her red pants were easily overshadowed by her rockabilly blend. The crowd sang along to songs like "Na Na Na," and we overheard people mention "Wait, isn't that the song from that commercial?"

The last band to take to the stage last night was up-and-comers Deaf Poets. A steady mix between steady electronic guitar riffs and a drum kit, the two-piece shifted gears between songs, morphing from punk-like screams in "This Pain" to a much softer vibe with "Cold Cold Thieves," no doubt to help slow the pace and help show-goers relax a little after the showcase's three and a half hour musical medley. What we found particularly cute? The way lead vocalist Sean Wouters managed to sing the majority of each song while leaning back and forth on his toes. Symbolic of how we hope Nylon felt about our music scene? We sure hope so.

Critic's Notebook:

Overheard in the Crowd: "Holy shit! What are you doing here?!"

The Crowd: Teens, 20-somethings, artists, musicians, and lovers of Miami's music scene.

Random Detail: A lot of the bands showed real camaraderie, sharing instruments and sticking around for most of the sets.

Set Lists:

Raffa Jo Harris

"Tip Toe"
"A Little Bit"

Animal Tropical
"Bad Saturdays"
"Degrading Katie Jane"
"Committed to This"

Lil Daggers
"Dada Brown"
"A Thousand Lights"
"Out of Your Hair"

"Play House"
"Two Different Worlds"
"Do You Party?"

"Stay Kids"
"Kill South Beach Dead"
"Dogs Barking"
"A Needle"
"Don't Fear the Get Out"
"Blood on Blood"
"Schizophrenia" (Sonic Youth cover)

Rachel Goodrich
"Hit or Miss"
"Just Like You"
"Na Na Na"

Deaf Poets
"This Pain"
"Cold Cold Thieves

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