We don't have falling leaves or cooler temperatures to announce the arrival of fall, but the days do get shorter, and with that come longer nights and the chance to head out on the town and enjoy the Magic City's world-famous nightlife. Miami is well known as a club kid's mecca, but over the past few years, the tent has widened to include music of all genres.
The opening of venues such as the Ground and events like the Listening Den signal Miami's increasing commitment to becoming a metropolitan hub for live music. With the privilege of watching performances from some of today's top local and national talent comes great responsibility, however, and with concert season in full swing and festivals like III Points approaching quickly, it might be time for a refresher about some habits that fans, promoters, and even artists should avoid in a live music setting.
Here are some Miami music trends that need to die now.
5. Singing to your phone screen. We all have that one friend whose existence is meaningless without Snapchat. It doesn't matter what you're doing — eating at a restaurant, watching a movie, even sitting bored on the couch — the moment must be documented on Snapchat Story or Instagram Live. The worst iteration of the Snapchat friend is the one who goes to a concert and spends the whole show singing into their phone screen. Their friends are right next to them, and the artist they paid money to see is onstage directly in front of them, but they want their friends on Snapchat to know they know all the words to every song. PSA for these folks: Your friends are skipping right through the ten-second clips of you singing "Bodak Yellow" into the camera. It's on the radio every 15 minutes. They also know the lyrics, and they are not impressed.
4. Doing acoustic folk covers of lit hip-hop songs. Speaking of "Bodak Yellow," no one ever heard that song and thought, I hope someone slows this track down, scraps the beat for an acoustic guitar, and gives it the Ed Sheeran treatment. Remember when Taylor Swift brought Fetty Wap onstage to sing "Trap Queen"? If so, we're sorry. It was so awkward that not even the infallible "old Taylor" could save it. Your acoustic covers of hip-hop songs are not cute or ironic; they just end up sounding like you're mocking the genre or trying to somehow legitimize it by stripping songs down to their "essence." Save yourself the time and let Cardi handle that.
3. Treating performers like background music. You're not in an elevator, and this isn't Muzak. You're in the front row and no one can hear the music over your ramblings about the pitfalls of your workweek. Sure, it's Friday night and you want to down a couple of beers and vent to your girls about your hard-ass boss, and there's nothing wrong with that. But there are a billion bars where you can do that in Miami. If you're at a gig, save the chatter for the outside bar or for the time between the music sets. Miami has, in the past, had an unfair reputation for possessing local talent that's subpar compared to entertainment industry meccas like New York and Los Angeles. It's a misconception that is only aided when Miami fans don't take the time to listen to the music coming from local artists and thus can't vouch for the music pouring out of the city. Take the time to listen next time. You'll be surprised.
2. Booking performers solely for cover gigs. It doesn't help Miami's musical reputation when some of the city's most gifted singer-songwriters are relegated to covering "Shape of You" on South Beach every Saturday night. To hear Miami artists tell it, these are the gigs that pay. Local songwriters reluctantly take these gigs to survive another day as rent-paying musicians or to fund recordings of their own original music. Unlike shows where they play the original songs they're proud of, they don't invite friends to these gigs, and they play strictly for tourists, for whom local music ranks low on the list of priorities next to beaches, booze, and souvenir shot glasses on Collins Ave. It will be difficult for Miami to continue its emergence as a global music city if local talent is not propped up by those who do the booking for venues around town. Without such an effort, local talent will continue to see Miami as an artistic dead end, and the talent drain to New York, L.A., Nashville or Austin will persist.
1. Dressing like a scrub at local shows. The people of Miami know how to get fancy for almost any occasion. We're used to club dress codes, and even a game-day barbecue with family is often treated as an occasion to bring out the black pumps and tight, low-cut dresses. Why can't the same be said for your friend's show at Kill Your Idol or Gramps? Yes, it's time we took a page from the EDM fan playbook. EDM fans have mastered the art of dressing up to support their favorite artists, whether they're internationally recognized or just gaining steam regionally. New Times runs slideshows of their elaborate festival fashion. Planning and creating wearable art for a show is another way for fans to immerse themselves in the full experience of a concert, and creating these looks is a tangible way of reflecting passion for the art and music being created onstage. Dressing for the occasion at local gigs, whether it's glam, goth, or your own interpretation of "extra," is one way to show the world you're invested in the art you're about to experience.
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