It wouldn't be Sweatstock without some good old-fashioned Miami freakiness.
Maybe in Canada the music festivals end with handshakes and strangers gently complimenting each other on their felt hats. But this is Miami, where nothing's over until it has weird, probably videotaped sex with you. And Sweatstock 2013 was no exception. But this time, instead of some gal with her second butt implant waiting on layaway, our half-remembered lovers were a pair of synth-melting party starters.
Beatmachines is technically JJ Freire of Suenalo and Smurphio from Afrobeta. But for Sweatstock, they also featured Afrobeta's less afro-ed half, Cuci Amador on vocals, making Beatmachines a dirtier, squelchier, booty bass-ier version of Afrobeta that had been knocked up by Suenalo's libidinous funk baby daddy. Beatboxer and rapper, Komakozie, who earlier had performed his own set on the same stage, also filled out the sound.
Beatmachines describes itself as Afrobeta's "slutty sister" but you'll never catch Crossfade slut-shaming anyone, at least not for the next couple of minutes (and even then it will be as some kind of misguided seduction technique). All of the slutty sisters we've ever known have tended to be pretty fun and Beatmachines is not out there to upend anyone's conception of a slutty sister. Bring over a bottle of schnapps, nod understandingly when she complains about her sorta ex-boyfriend and don't get mad when she ashes onto your carpet and you'll have a hell of a night that will comfort you on humid, rainy Miami nights for years to come.
Where were we? There's something so genuine about Cuci Amador's singing and dancing, like she and her groups are not performing for a crowd, but partying with them. She'd be dancing and singing with the same abandon in her bedroom if she didn't also happen to be behind some of Miami's best music. Also, when she pulls an oversized rubber cardinal mask over her head and dances with an umbrella, nobody does it better. This is generally agreed upon.
She was backed up by two robotic cat dancers mounted on Smurphio's keyboard rig. Amador, as otherworldly as she may be, is still only flesh and blood and the indefatigable robot cats locked her into some kind of John Henry battle between man and machine. Though Amador did win Sweatstock 2013, the robot cats' eyes maintained an eerie and hungry glow long after Smurphio switched them off. If this is how the robot revolution begins, let it come and may the end of life as we know it be scored by Beatmachines.
Otto von Schirach:
Freaky beat badass Otto von Schirach claims to be from the Bermuda Triangle. At Sweatstock, he appeared to have just returned from the set of a Liza Minelli-themed karate porn being filmed at Flash Gordon's place up in El Portal. And then there were his dance partners, Alligator Jesus with glowing headlight eyes, some sort of Sasquatch thing playing a keytar/bazooka/Christmas tree, and another somehow sexier alligator person in a jumpsuit. But not everything was as it seemed.
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A few songs into von Schirach's set, the alligator in the jumpsuit clarified her vague sexiness by stripping off to reveal she was actually a beautiful woman (with an alligator head) in a tiny bikini. Who would get nearly naked next? A mystery! Someone call Detective Saucisson of the Miami PD's Boner Squad!
The top of the bandshell was used as a projection screen for videos by TM Sisters. Disembodied faces of freaky weirdos stared down into the crowd, seemingly scandalized by what they were witnessing. Otto von Schirach leaped about to his own crotch-throttling breaks, like the leader of a spin class in which the participants eschew the bikes for each others' bodies. The dial didn't just go to ten, it came off in our hands.
And so it was for 2013's Sweatstock. A long day and night of damp and sexy good times. Each year keeps getting wetter and sexier. In 2014, bring your scuba/gimp mask and don't forget a five spot for the parking attendants, unless you don't mind someone keying your submersible Bang Bus.