Miami Chum Bucket, a DIY punk venue, distro, and practice space, held its inaugural event this past Saturday night. The show was free and the lineup featured all of the key South Florida punk bands that have played a role in the space's emergence.
In the course of extended fundraising, the Chum Bucket organizers also raised a great deal of awareness for the project with a regular series of shows and parties that helped generate startup money and get the word out. The turnout made it clear the message was received. Wobbling between 200 and 300, the parking lot was flooded with a all ages, levels of involvement in the local punk scene, and immersion in the punk lifestyle.
At the door, we were greeted with the venues key rules and a membership card. The collective nature of the Chum Bucket is modeled after 924 Gilman, a historic Bay Area punk collective that runs a membership-based multipurpose venue.
The space, a decently sized warehouse, was equipped with an in-house P.A., stage, and lighting. Gorilla Pussy, a band that might normally headline a local punk show, were chosen to ring in the inaugural notes as the coordinators cut a red ribbon and popped bottles of champagne. With the conclusion of this mini opening ceremony, Gorilla Pussy proceeded to inspire the venue's first completely inescapable mosh pit.
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The members of Gorilla Pussy are powerviolence formalists but the charge of being generic is negated by the group's technical prowess, onstage energy, and ability to make the audience go ballistic. Bursts of monster vocals and speedy hardcore shredding would inspire a scene out of Metro Zoo during Hurricane Andrew. People were flying in every direction, throwing themselves on top of the crowd. The center of gravity was an infinitely churning circle pit that occasionally erupted into more choreographed, karate-style hardcore dancing.
The Chum Bucket is a phenomenon that may be the first of its kind. Miami has had every kind of venue: nice bars, real bars, houses, squats, the Everglades, warehouses, etc.
But has it ever had a collectively run punk space?