Lists

The Ten Best Bands From Kendall

Moongazer
Moongazer Eric Seralena
It's been more than three years since New Times listed the best Kendall bands, and much has changed. Some of the acts are still around and even made it onto this list again, but many have faded away, and some members have moved on to other projects. What we can say hasn't changed in Kendall is the lack of real venues; backyard shows are still common.

Dig deep west on Kendall Drive and you'll find a network of musicians of all genres. There's something about living away from the heart of Miami that gives these bands the space and ambition to succeed and be heard — perhaps it's the lack of distractions like weekend all-nighters at Las Rosas or happy hour at Gramps. Despite the hellish 30-minute drive (without traffic) on the Dolphin Expressway from Kendall to the city, many of these bands consistently venture to downtown, Wynwood, and Miami Beach to play gigs, and they are not to be missed.
click to enlarge KACEY DAVIS
Kacey Davis
10. Remyz. These dudes have mastered an amazing live sound that fuses R&B, funk, jazz, and pop. The groove is real. Many of the members met at Miami Palmetto Senior High while performing in the school's jazz band. Their roots in music together can be experienced when they play live. Remyz was named Songwriters Showcase of America's band of the year in 2017, and the group released its second EP, For the Love & Stuff, this past November.
click to enlarge Mahogany Purple performing live at Tea & Poets in Sunset Place. - NICOLE MELICH
Mahogany Purple performing live at Tea & Poets in Sunset Place.
Nicole Melich
 9. Mahogany Purple. Led by guitarist Gabe Garcia, this indie/funk/pop band is a big reason why Kendall backyard shows are still a thing. Although it's impossible to list all of the bands in this thriving scene, Mahogany Purple represents well the spirit of Kendall house shows. The band also consistently plays at Tea & Poets in Sunset Place. What makes the group unique is its brass section, consisting of trombone and trumpet.
click to enlarge The Fortune Tellers playing live at Bar Nancy. - ELIZABETH DOMINGUEZ
The Fortune Tellers playing live at Bar Nancy.
Elizabeth Dominguez
8. The Fortune Tellers. The folkloric melodies and lyrics of the Kendall-grown Fortune Tellers express a million stories. Some consistent faces in this gypsy band include singer/guitarist Kelsey Blue (who started as the drummer), Jojo on auxiliary percussion, and Brandon Perez-Urrutia on bass. Influenced by folk, psychedelic, and sometimes reggae, they have dubbed their genre "folkadelic." All have clearly mastered their instruments, and it's something to behold live. At any of their shows, you'll see the audience swaying to the melody as the Fortune Tellers entrance listeners.

7. Cannibal Kids. This Homestead band (not Kendall, but close enough) has made it onto this list once again. Since the last list was published, the band has successfully released an album and twice toured nationwide. Their surf/indie pop songs are meant to stick in your head and make you feel good. Miami's tropical vibes influence a huge part of their sound and image. Living so close to Kendall, they've certainly left their mark on the music scene there.
click to enlarge Firstworld was created by musician Kris Alvarez (right). - PABLO ANZUETO
Firstworld was created by musician Kris Alvarez (right).
Pablo Anzueto
6. Firstworld. Go back three years and you'll find the band Sigh Kicks playing Kendall backyards or venues such as the seemingly retired Lucid Gallery. Although Sigh Kicks is no more, many of the bandmates moved on to other projects, and two of those have made this list. Kendall native and former Sigh Kicks member Kris Alvarez has formed Firstworld, an indie/ambient/electronic project.

5. The Polar Boys. The Polar Boys' roots must be embedded in their DNA because they have a song titled "Kendall Drive." Several of the bandmates grew up playing music together in middle school and, later, going to local shows together. Their love of music united them in the Polar Boys. Their indie influences run deep and are most notable in their style. Who doesn't love matching pastel outfits? 
click to enlarge MELANIE SARRIA
Melanie Sarria

4. BayRan. Sebastian Hidalgo, another ex-member of Sigh Kicks, now leads BayRan. His project borrows from genres such as nu-disco and retro/vaporwave. As a music production graduate of Berklee College of Music, Hidalgo uses his skills to create. Besides working on his own music, he performs DJ sets around town and plays bass with Millionyoung.
click to enlarge CATALYST PHOTOS
Catalyst Photos
3. Sunghosts. These guys have been the face of the Kendall scene since seemingly forever. Their songs practically echo through the streets of Southwest Miami-Dade. Sunghosts is a band you can rock out to on a Saturday night at Churchill's and cure your hangover with the next morning when you catch them playing at a local café. Their stage presence is full of energy, their indie-pop good vibes infectious.
click to enlarge Moongazer - ERIC SERALENA
Moongazer
Eric Seralena
2. Moongazer. The Kendall music scene has brewed many genres, and Moongazer is the master of psychedelic/prog. See them live and you might fall into their drone of long prog jams and mind-bending melodies. They have performed many times at the Moksha Arts Collective, a Miami gallery that specializes in psychedelic art. They're working in the studio on their next album, so stay tuned.
1. Palomino Blond. The bandmates of Palomino Blond have been game-changers in the Kendall music scene since they were young. Singer/guitarist Carli Acosta was once a member of Long Shore Drift, which at one point was the center of the Kendall scene. That band hosted shows almost every weekend in its backyard (dubbed Spec Haus). Palomino Blond's other bandmates — Raven Nieto (bass), Kyle Fink (guitar), and Jake Karner (drums) — are also no strangers to hosting neighborhood house shows and have been in Kendall groups such as In Oculus, Fresh Esh, and Sedgwick. Palomino Blond's '90s alternative sound has stood out in the scene and now reverberates through popular venues such as Churchill's. Catch them live to hear their cover of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme song. 
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Catherine Toruño is a music and arts writer from West Kendall. She enjoys sustainable fashion, attending local music shows, and exploring Miami on her bike.