Miami Music Festival is back again. Now, we know what you're thinking: (a) "What? MMF again, already?"; (b) "What? They found funding again? After last year???"; or (c) "What the fuck are you talking about? Miami what now?"
Whatever the case, the fact remains that MMF is back. And you're gonna need some guidance to help navigate the seemingly endless stream of mostly unrecognizable names. Now we know your attention span isn't so hot since your doctor started weaning you off Ritalin, so here's a quick list of ten latin performances to catch at MMF this weekend.
Boom Showcase (9:00pm -- 2:00am Friday, November 12 at The Place of Miami) -- Okay, so you might be protesting right now, "hey, that's cheating! It's not an act, it's a whole showcase." And you're right. But this is only a Top 10 list, so cut me some slack. Boom, for those that don't know, is a long-standing magazine based right here in Miami and focusing on the Latin Alternative scene. To that end, the lineup pulled together (and hosted) by founder Kike Posada includes Vitera, Gammy, Vicio Corazon, Jorge Uribe and Riccardo Perotti.
Bachaco (10:00pm, Friday, November 12 at Cuba Ocho) -- Our love of Bachaco here at Crossfade is no big secret. And if you've ever seen them live, you know exactly why. Plus, they're named after a woodcutter ant, which appeals to the nerd in us. These guys will be very busy playing all over the MMF this year, so make sure to catch at least one of their shows.
The Gibson Showcase (9:00pm -- 2:00am, Friday, November 12 at Bardot) -- Here we are, cheating again. But three of the acts on the bill are personal favorites, so sue us. Liset Alea brings that Euro vibe that she's picked up globe trotting around Europe, Jorge Moreno brings the Grammy-class singer-songwriter pop-rock vibe and Locos Por Juana bring their signature, ass-shaking, hybrid of funk and Colombian goodness, making this arguably the most diverse Latin lineup the MMF has to offer.
Conjunto Progreso (2:00pm Saturday, November 13 at Bayfront Park) -- Miami New Times Best Latin Band in our Best of Miami 2010. Need we say more? You'd be hard pressed to find more impressive credentials. These guys are known as the Masters of Cuban son for a reason. Namely, because they throwdown the get-down harder than anyone outside of Havana.
Celia Cruz Allstars (2:00pm Saturday, November 13 at Bayfront Park) -- La Reina de la Salsa was far and away the most iconic entertainer in Latin Music in 50 years. If you look up "icon" in the dictionary, her face appears next to it. At least it does in Little Havana, New Jersey, and anywhere else more than three Cubans congregate. The Allstars are just that, a collective of the most adept musicians you could possibly find (many from the Queen's past) to crank her epic jams.
Fabian Hernandez (8:30pm, Saturday, November 13 at Van Dyke Cafe) -- Fabian Hernandez is a singer-songwriter and MB naïve, and the dude is seriously talented. Bringing his folk-rock tunes to La Onda Latina, hosted by Adrian Guerra, who goes on after Fabian's 15 minutes of fame (poor guy only has 15 minutes on the schedule!) , Fabian's is one performance you'll be glad you caught.
Araka (11:00pm, Saturday, November 13 at Transit Lounge) -- Araka's M.O. is simple enough, a reggae hybrid laced with Latin flavors ,then delivered with big band aplomb and a whole lot of soul. Okay, so it's not that simple. But it doesn't need to be. It just needs to kick ass. Which is does.
Arboles Libres (1:10am, Saturday, November 13 at The Stage, Inside) -- These guys are another band all over the MMF menu. Pick a day, pick a time, you're likely to find them there. Good for you. That means you won't miss them. You certainly wouldn't want to. Arboles' experimental stee-lo are on a whole other level.
Palo! (2:00pm, Sunday, November 13 at Bayfront Park) -- There's fusion and then there's Palo!. It's that simple. It isn't to say they're the only ones in this city to conceive of melding Latin sounds from their roots with funk, jazz and other goodies to make for delectable danceable treats. Hell, they weren't even among the first. But they've definitely earned the right to be regarded among the best.
Hansel y Raul (4:00pm, Sunday, November 13 at Bayfront Park) -- Raul used to wear a gold spoon on the end of his gold chain. And it wasn't for shoveling sugar into his coffee. Now, a wild addiction to cocaine is by no means an indicator that a musical act is any good...unless we're talking about salsa. Besides, these guys are living legends, with a repertoire of hip-shattering salsa jams so long, the lyrics to "Kuku-cha ku-cha" asking for the ambulance will hold new meaning by the end of their show.