The Isley Brothers Twist & Shout Sunday @ The 6th Annual Jazz In The Gardens

Isley brothers

It can be argued that the most influential living group in all of popular music is the 57-years and running R&B group the Isley Brothers. The Beatles covered their  hit "Twist & Shout"  and turned it into cultural fabric. The movie "Animal House" resuscitated their first hit "Shout" and kept Toga parties going for an extra half century.

And when the times changed, the Isley Brothers changed with them - sometimes laying down the track before the races were ready to be run. They hired a young Jimi Hendrix, who showed flashes of his guitar heroics to come on the Isley's minor hit "Testify" in 1965. After Hendrix's meteoric rise and fall made the world safe for black guitar heroes, Ernie Isley's anthemic solo on "That Lady" put the Isleys back on the hit parade and placed himself alongside Hendrix and Eddie Hazel in the pantheon.

Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s the Isley Brothers stayed on top of the R&B world, thanks to both Ernie's guitar funk and Ronald's angelic tenor. Together they helped invent the modern R&B ballad template with hits like "Between The Sheets."

After their "Behind the Music" implosion in the late 1980s, they regrouped in early 1990s and hooked up with R Kelly - who eventually produced their 2001 smash hit "Contagious" - which made the Isley Brothers the first ever group to chart in six decades.

Sunday's performance at Sun Life Stadium for Jazz In The Gardens is the first South Florida Isley Brothers show in many years. That more than enough reason to go, even you aren't into their co-headliners Branford Marsalis (the token jazz artist on Sunday's bill) and 1990s soul-pop act EnVouge.


Advance tickets for Sunday's lineup range from $45 -$70. A two day pass for Saturday and Sunday ranges from $70-$125. Doors open at 3PM. The Isley Brothers are scheduled to perform at 10:15, Sunday Night.

Posted by Tom Bowker at 12:58 PM in Music
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Lone Wolf OMB Releases CD, Plays St. Patrick's Day Carnival At Eve


In most cases, the one year anniversary of a band is the put-up-or-shut-up moment. Either the band's chemistry is going to work and crank out something worthwhile, or it will collapse due to ego suffocation. 

Thankfully, being the only member of the Lone Wolf One Man Band has allowed multi-instrumentalist Bruno Esposito  to let his freak flag fly unfettered for the first time. Esposito has marked the first year anniversary of his Lone Wolf project with an album release, which is available for download here

For whatever reason, Esposito is having his Cd release party up in Mickey Mouse land, 200 miles away from  his musical base in Miami where he could force all of his friends to  plunk down $10 and support his PBR & Fernet Branca fueled mission to stick his banjo and bass drum into every musical crevice left in the 21st century.

So Thursday night's St. Patrick's Day Carnival at Eve (in the old White Room space in overtown) will  suffice as an opportunity for Esposito's Miami mafia to board the Lone Wolf express.


Posted by Tom Bowker at 12:09 PM in Music
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Hillbilly Hellcats Subvert Moral Gables At Titanic Brewery Saturday Night

Hillbilly hellcats

The first time Hillbilly Hellcats singer/guitarist Chuck Hughes played Miami back in 1998, he was so moved by the energy at Churchill's, that  climbed up on the middle bar, did his best Chuck Berry walk down the length of it and jumped off to great applause - and the morning discovery that he had dislocated his knee and had to postpone the rest of the tour.

Assuming Hughes and company survived their Churchill's gig last night, Saturday will mark the first appearance by a notable touring band at Titanic Brewery since Dash Rip Rock drank their keg of homemade stout dry in 2007.

One wonder if the Hellcats bothered to read their contract, as the Titanic demands 3 sets for their modest paydays - a requirement that drove even the extremely prolific, cover-happy DRR boys to their last nerve. Midway through their 2nd set, DRR singer Bill Davis got so frustrated at the lame attempts of his volunteer cowbell player to play a set-filling  cover of "Honky Tonk Women" that he shouted "Doesn't anyone in Coral Gables know the F***ing Rolling Stones?!"

So if you ever wanted to know what covers the Hillbilly Hellcats have in their grab bag, Saturday night is an excellent time to find out. It's also a safe bet they'll be playing their rap tune about the music business, along with every 3-chord rockabilly stomp  Hughes and bassist Lance Bakemeyer have ever written. 

Consider it :"An evening (and early morning) with The Hillbilly Hellcats."   Or "Everything you ever wanted to know about a rockabilly band (but were afraid to ask).


Posted by Tom Bowker at 12:00 PM in Music
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Whodany Says Yes To House Music, No to Drugs This Evening At The Palms Hotel


Winter Music Conference is  Czech ex-pat electro impressario Daniel "Whodany" Hubalek's favorite holiday. For 50 weeks of the year, the late hours and chemical excesses of south beach's electronic music scene keep the devoted family man clear of his music's natural habitat.

Most conference attendees utilize WMC's 24/7 schedule to sneak in disco naps during panel discussions or  test their accountants' ability to make mojitos a tax write off.  Hubalek manages a the daylight hours wisely enough to: entertain his international stable of laptop artists on his Pearlicka label, play matinee gigs at swank hotels, and party with house music's illuminati  before his 7-year old daughter Pearl hits the sack.

Hubalek puts the "house" in house music - creating UK dance smashes on a computer that has shared hard drive space with Dora The Explorer and Disney Princesses. His perennially sunny disposition shines through the tracks, even when they are entitled "Drugs Are Bad" or "Drugs Are Very Bad."

So if you are revving up for a serious WMC electronic bender tonight, you should start the night out at Whodany's "Trendsetter" showcase at the Palms Hotel (3025 Collins Ave)l. Unlike the debt-inducing, bottle service joints that litter Sobe's version of debauchery - tonight's extended house music happy hour at the palms is free, and all the food and drink is half off.   The gig starts at 5PM, and if you show up early enough, Whodany will comp you a cocktail and tell you the tale of how he and 100 of his closest friends confused Grandmaster Flash in Berlin by shouting Blowfly lyrics during "White Lines."



 Pearlicka Records' new, 21 track, WMC compilation "Pearls Of Miami Beach Volume 3" is available at amazon.com and pearlicka.com . A free Whodany ringtone is available on the pearlicka records site as well.

Posted by Tom Bowker at 11:02 AM in Music
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Fishbone Surfs The Ska/Punk/Funk Wave They Started 32 Years Ago Tonight At Grand Central


21st century Fishbone gigs in Miami are a little cursed. In 2000, Fishbone played an un-billed set at Zen Fest in Bicentennial Park, which was a year removed from the awesome-but-fatality-plagued 1999 version starring the Chemical Brothers. Apparently, the Zen Fest promoters spent so much time trying to prove to city of miami officials they weren't a haven for underage, XTC-crazed rave kids, that they clean forgot to mention Fishbone was playing a slot in-between George Clinton and Blues Traveller.  So Fishbone played an amazing set drawing from their slept-on album "The Psychotic Friends Nutttwerx" to a modest crowd of confused stoners that would have easily fit inside one of their legendary Cameo Theater gigs in the 1990s.

For the last week, the promoters of tonight's Fishbone show at Grand Central have spent every breath trying to dispute a rumor that the gig was cancelled. Unfortunately, cancelled-gig rumors have a way of sticking.

That is unfortunate, as Fishbone continue to be one of the classic live acts of the rock era. Singer/saxophonist Angelo Moore has enough manic energy to power Alaska in the winter. When he stage dives, it's with the mic in hand and he stays in key. Bass monster Norwood Fisher holds down the 1 like no other, enabling his fellow killers, including ex-Suicidal Tendencies guitarist Rocky George, to turn your earholes inside out with the flick of a wrist.

For the last year, Fishbone have been slinging "Everyday Sunshine:" a documentary celebrating their three decade-plus career. After missing the cut  at SXSW Film last year, it will be screened there next week - with much less competition (last year's documentary field included films about The Doors and Motorhead) and an amazing after party with sets by both the 'bone and the Wu Tang Clan. For once, getting overlooked has given Fishbone a hand up instead of a knee to the groin.

With WMC and their serato superstars  soaking up all the attention this week, it would be good for you to attend a show featuring the best musicians who will be in this damn town all year. Take the Tuesday plunge. Earn a proper hump-day hangover and go bonin' in the boneyard.


Posted by Tom Bowker at 02:06 PM in Music
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The Superions' Fred Schneider Trades Rock Lobster For Fruitcake Saturday Night @ Mod Miami Festival


The voice of B-52's singer Fred Schneider is synonymous with early 80s New Wave ("Rock Lobster") and late 80s party rock ("Love Shack"), so it's almost shocking to hear his nasal tenor in the 21st century with a different  cast of musicians backing him up.

But as Schneider's taste for performing outstrips even the voracious demand for B-52s gigs worldwide, the King of Kitsch  hooked up with a pair of employees at Orlando's Universal Studios a couple years ago and immediately began cranking out  slinky bass/synth tunes like "Totally Nude Island" and more uptempo numbers like "Santa's Disco" and "Fruitcake"- off their Christmas Album "Destination Christmas."

While singing about fruitcake may seem out of season in March, if you play the video embedded in this post you will understand Fruitcake on a whole new level. Schneider barks out the ingredients, they come out of the oven, and voila:  fruitcakes are no longer what your Aunt Bernice sends you every holiday season. They are living, loving, upwardly mobile beings who enjoy shopping.


The Superions headline the Mod Miami festival, Saturday Night at the Harvey Seeds American Legion Hall, 6445 NW 7th Ave Miami.  Also appearing are Broward garage rockers The Instant Whips, Brooklyn-based DJ/Producer Ursula 1000 and Atlanta psych rock act The Forty Fives. For more information, including Mod Miami's Friday programming go to Mod Miami's website

Posted by Tom Bowker at 11:31 AM in Music
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The Death Set Mash Hardcore And Electro Like Purple Potatoes Friday At The Vagabond

Death set 2

If you can imagine combining all the cheesiest elements of  Cocoa Beach, Panama City Beach and Key West - and sprinkled a little Venice Beach, California on top - you might get an idea of what a gross tourist trap Gold Coast, Australia is. If you can't quite picture this T shirt shop hell, Just spike Arizona the redneck riviera cocktail with Tempe, Arizona heat and make everything more expensive.

So it's no surprise that a musical misfit like The Death Set's Johnny Viera hated his native Gold Coast enough to drag his mate Beau Velasco to Baltimore (via Brooklyn) and made an american profession out of their aussie hobby of cranking out spastic hardcore punk with rabid chipmunk vocals over casio beats.

Velasco passed away in 2009, but Viera and the Death set continue to press on - making a name for themselves by cramming themselves into any DIY space they and their fans can fit into, and opening up for big electro acts like Girl Talk.  Their new Lp, "Micheal Poiccard," just dropped and this is a rare treat to see a hip band on the upswing warm up for Austin's SXSW fest in Miami, instead of  Birmingham, Alabama or Hattiesburg, Mississippi.


Viera has been known to compare Miami to the Gold Coast in interviews, so in order to stop these odious comparisons it may be best to show up en masse to the Vagabond Friday night to convince him otherwise. If they insist on putting the gig outside, feel free to make the biggest patio mosh pit possible. Just do not offer Viera a Foster's Lager. No one drinks that swill down under.

Posted by Tom Bowker at 02:15 PM in Music
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Puerto Rican Garage Rock Heroes Davila 666 Kick Off "Tan Bajo" Tour Tonight At Churchill's


Last time through for Davila 666, there was much hand-wringing from their camp about just where could the pride of Puerto Rico play in Miami on a Tuesday without  an audience consisting of palmetto bugs.

It is true that it is hard to pull teeth in this town on Tuesday, let alone the strange amalgam of hipsters and rockers that are immersed in garage rock. But with a little help from their friends, the Jacuzzi Boys, Davila 666's 2009 Churchill's debut was successful enough to warrant kicking off their 2011 campaign tonight in the house that Dave Daniels built.

The Jacuzzi Boys will be drinking at churchill's tonight, instead of playing - but that's no reason to avoid going to the gig. Davila's brand new Lp "Tan Bajo" is an explosion of lo-fi, grimy hooks that Joey Ramone's ghost would be proud of. It's easy to imagine Joey banging his head to "Tan Bajo'" as it encompasses everything he lived his life for:  60s girl groups, The Stooges, and The Ramones.


So in that blithe spirit, (hey, ho, let's) go see Davila 666's first US gig of 2011tonight. As it's rare that the Magic City get's the first crack at a band's new material, it's in every Miami Music lover's interest to pack the joint tonight.

Posted by Tom Bowker at 09:49 AM in Music
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The Grascals Headline 33rd Annual Everglades Bluegrass Festival This Weekend


Bluegrass fame and fortune is a tough road to hoe, unless you've been anointed by a country music legend. Fortunately for the Grascals, a group of nashville veterans with enough combined  experience to write a Time-Life series, Dolly Parton absorbed them in 2004 as both her opening act and her backing band - and the group hasn't looked back since.

While their full-time gig with Dolly ended back in 2005, the band and the icon frequently collaborate with each other. The Grascals breakthrough single was a cover of "Viva Los Vegas" featuring Dolly. Dolly also appears on their current single "I Am Strong" - from their new record "The Grascals & Friends - Country Classics With A Bluegrass Spin." The song is a touching tribute to St. Judes Hospital, which benefits from the sale of the record.

The Everglades Bluegrass Festival takes place Tonight - Sunday at Greynolds Park, 17530 W. Dixie Hwy. North Miami Beach. Three day passes are $55.  1 day admission on Friday and Sunday is $20. Saturday admission (The Grascals headline Saturday's bill) is $25. Admission for kids with a paying adult is free. For more information call: 305 358 1800.


Posted by Tom Bowker at 01:57 PM in Music
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Dragonette Plays LIV's Dirty Hairy Anniversary Party Tonight


If there's one thing the folks at POPLIFEcan't get enough of, it's Canadian electro acts who sing about making sexy time. So it's fitting that tonight's soiree celebrating two years of their "Dirty Hairy" party at LIV features Canuck quartet Dragonette, who broke onto the scene a few years back with the uber-catchy ode to getting busy: "I Get Around." 


  As with everything over at LIV,  partying with Dragonette is a little pricey. $30 buys a lot of poutine. But if you ever needed a soundtrack for a hump day slump-buster - tonight is the night. It's hard to be more titillating than Dragonette. And if their throbbing odes to knocking boots lead you to meet Mrs. or Mr. Right-Now - the Fountainbleu is upstairs for your convenience.

Posted by Tom Bowker at 07:38 PM in Music
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