15 years ago, a teenage guitarist named Justin Gracer caught an all ages gig by Juan Montoya's emo/shoegaze act Ed Matus' Struggle. Gracer was mesmerized and did everything in his power to become like Montoya and front his own band in that vein. But where Montoya's guitar heroics were better suited to metal - as proven by his tenure in Torche and his current project MonstrO - Gracer fit the genre perfectly. His love for the Pixies instilled a sense of dynamics and economy that is very rare in young songwriters. His guitar playing was tasteful, he was cute and he could lead a band without seeming like an arrogant ass.
Unlike Montoya, Gracer could sing. But due to his love for the Struggle, he'd write songs that were sans vocals for minutes. Sometimes it would be maddening. On more than one occasion I witnessed folks approach him and say: "You know why Juan doesn't sing? It's because he can't! Sing!"
But Gracer danced to the beat of his own drummer, and his quartet bounced around South Florida waiting for their album to come out on local project label Spy-Fi for nearly half a decade. It finally did- on CDR - at their last gig seven years ago.
This Sunday marks the first Machete gig in 7 years. It's a free show at the Annex aka The Shack North - Humbert's recording/rehearsal studio in Hialeah. The first band goes on at 4 and Machete have to be off stage by 9pm. As the Dolphins have this Sunday off, I can't think of a better way to spend the last bit of the weekend than listening to Gracer hit his high notes.