The Axe and the Oak, Pretty Please, and Fight Like Animals at Grand Central, May 13

The Axe and the Oak

With Pretty Please and Fight Like Animals

Grand Central Miami

May 13, 2011

Better Than: Feeding ducks at the park.

Last Wednesday evening, I sliced my hand open while trying to stuff some squid flukes with chopped prawns and veggies. And while that doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot, I felt a step or two behind with a crippled hand as I entered Grand Central for the first time. 

But this place is a class operation from the get-go. The door guy was amiable, even after my drunken stab at a joke. The floors were clean. And Aramis, that paramour of South Florida indie-rock goodness, hooked it up with a drink almost immediately.

I was completely humbled by the number of youngsters who flocked to the place. Makes an aging punk rocker feel old(er). No matter, though, Grand Central is crisp and well-run, an anomaly among South Florida venues.

Getting the evening going were the extremely enthusiastic sounds of quasi-dark wave power duo Fight Like Animals. Energetic and white and not exactly my cup of tea ... But if these motherfuckers get themselves a drummer, they might become a force to be reckoned with.

After that, Axe and the Oak took the stage looking like corporate professionals. Suits, ties, jams ... Awesome.

There's something oddly relaxing about this outfit. Be it the sweet suits or the Adam Ant bangles ... I don't fucking know. But when those low trembling sounds come through the speakers, you're in for a treat.

What sets these guys apart is the deliberate execution of their work. They do not take you for granted. If you live in South Florida and you have not witnessed the sexiness of the Axe and the Oak, you live in a hell of your own devising.

And the sexiness continued with Hialeah's ambassadors of love, Pretty Please, and their excellent, danceable post-New Wave rock 'n' roll. 

I walked away from this evening with a feeling of camaraderie you'd expect from a local show at a good venue that respects the musicians who work its stage.

Musicians who are going to change the minds of detractors across the peninsula.

And for their part, the Grand Central folks are doing an admirable job of balanced booking. Balanced and fair, what more can we ask for?

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I get older. They get younger.

Random Detail: The young lady tending bar did not take kindly to my suggestion that "Ladies' Night when ladies drink free" also included males.

Overheard in the Crowd: "Hey, these guys are really fucking good!"

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