Accidental Great Show Alert: French Freak Rock Trio Cheveu Tonight at Churchill's


Nine times out of 10, when a band that the illuminati hipster webzine Pitchfork  fully endorses comes to town, the local skinny tie set does them right. One of the local promoters known for having taste books them at either the vagabond, grand central or the Electric Pickle. Once the trendy act is safely escorted to an oasis of hipness, the skinny jeaned sheeple they cater to are trained to come out in force, as history has shown that there's a good chance that act will never dare to come down to the subtropics again.

Unfortunately for French post-everything band Cheveu, they don't meet the cognoscenti's criteria for proper show promotion. They are not fronted by a cute japanese girl who collaborates with Gorillaz. They don't play the derivative 80s synth pop the kids love, nor 60s wanna-be garage rock, nor are they coming off a triumphant set at Coachella. As a result, they have slipped through the hipster safety net, and are playing a Tuesday night set at Churchill's - whose open booking policy is both a blessing and a curse - next door to a rare Death By The Sun hipster noise rock show at Sweat records.

If this gig was repped by Rat Bastard or the Jacuzzi Boys - who are both well known for saving their touring friends from early-mid week empty gig disasters - the wonderfully bizarre Cheveu might have a chance to display their wares in front of 50 - 75 people tonight. But as it's a Tuesday night with scant promotion, I fear their slash and burn cover of "Ice, Ice, Baby," the acid fueled original gem "charlie sheen" and the orchestral psychedelic pop of "No Birds" will land on the burn out ears of a few regulars and maybe a dozen people who checked the Churchill's concert calender and thought to themselves: "A band from FRANCE is playing Churchill's on a Tuesday? What's that all about?"

So go tonight, if you like music made by: Gibby Haynes, Postface, Arthur Lee, XTC, LCD Soundsystem or Can. If you  are young either in spirit or at heart - go. I urge you all to get your butt and ears down to Churchill's and support the most original act to play this town in years.  Yes, it's a Tuesday. So what?  If you dig cool music in this town, sometimes you have to justify having it imported in.



Posted by Tom Bowker at 12:39 PM in Music
Permalink | Comments (1)


West Palm Beach's Sunfest Is Back For Another Game Of "One Of These Bands Is Not Like The Other"



I've often wondered if Sunfest's entertainment committee made their booking decisions ala  the basement scenes from"That 70s Show." It's not hard to imagine a cough and a smile following: "lets put on George Clinton & P-Funk in the daytime - and after after the Squirrel Nut Zippers!" A move that so confounded Clinton that he opened the set by singing the words to "Free Your Mind (And Your A** Will Follow)" while P-Funk played "Alice In My Fantasies."

This year is no different. Friday night's headlining double shot of screamo band Taking Back Sunday and southern rock warhorse Greg Allman  could only happen at Sunfest and still be considered one festival. Tonight's (Thursday) bill of neo-soul king Cee-Lo Green and coffee house rock champion Jason Mraz is pretty eclectic too - although it's not hard to imagine your average latte-drinking soccer mom humming along to "forget you."

But it's Saturday where the craziness really goes down when Styx - the champions of late 1970s "corporate rock" and embodiment of all that is not cool - co-headlines with MGMT, a 21st-century psychedelic nu new wave act so cool they thought Columbia records was crank calling them when the label called to say they were interested in making MGMT, who began life as a dorm room duo at Wesleyan, a worldwide concern.

There is no way that anyone, save for the most devout South Park fan who fell in love with Cartman's version of "Come Sail Away," or hipsters who ironically like Styx's pomp synth-rock opera single "Mr. Roboto," could possibly be into both bands. But that is the beauty of Sunfest. It really does have something for everyone. That willingness to go to the edge of cool vs. not-cool in their programming makes  the Sunday bill of Jeff Beck and Earth, Wind & Fire - which would be an amazing feat of diversity at any other festival - seem logical and almost tame.

Domo Arregato, Mr. Sunfest-O. Domo. (Domo).



Posted by Tom Bowker at 05:28 PM in Music
Permalink | Comments (0)


Sid Vicious Still Dead. Clueless Straight Edge Hardcore Drummer Who Stole His Name DJing Tomorrow Night At LIV

Sid flyer

Imagine my surprise when I got a facebook notice indicating that "DJ Sid Vicious" would be spinning at Liv Wednesday night. Could the late Sex Pistols bassist, who OD'd on heroin over 30 years ago, have a new career as a zombified house music DJ?  Could it be that Sid, inspired by Elvis Presley, faked his death and lived under a pseudonym for all these years? Was the statute of limitations for his alleged stabbing murder of girlfriend Nancy Spungeon up?

Alas, despite the above being a more entertaining conspiracy theory than anything Charlie Sheen could dream up, the real Sid Vicious remains dead.

The "Sid Vicious" spinning at LIV is Sid Neisen, the drummer for LA straight edge hardcore band Strife. For those of you who who frequented the south florida punk rock scene between the mid 1980s and late 1990s, you may remember hordes of suburban teenagers who spent their time: drawing Xs on their hands, doing tae bo kicks in the mosh pit, preaching about the evils of alcohol  and drugs and pacing around the backs of clubs - trying to work up enough nerve to knock beers out of people hands.They adhered to a weird philosophy that Minor Threat singer Ian McKaye accidentally invented when he wrote the songs "Straight Edge" and "Out Of Step" - particularly the lines: "Don't Drink /Don't Smoke / Don't F***/ But At Least I Can F***ing Think!"

Strife was among the most militant of the 1990s straight edge bands. Their song "Force Of Change" bears this out:  

"Resistance in a time of mass self-destruction
Makes the few who walk the straight edge
A growing force of change
Committed through gripped by the plague of a nation
Consumed by intoxication and confined by a crippling greed
I walk the path of true change
Commitment sworn in the name
Of those who still walk the straight edge
Convictions held to my grave"

Obviously, most grown adults aren't going to equate having a few beers as "mass self destruction." Which is why straight edge guys are notorious for "losing their edge" in spectacular, sometimes tragic fashion. Strife announced they"lost their edge" in 2001 when they released their third album, and started playing nu metal - the kiss of death for hardcore bands. 

In 2008, Strife reunited, and they remain on the punk rock festival circuit today - playing a South American tour as recently as this past February.  So it was curious that when the "Discover SD" nightlife blog asked Neisen how he became "DJ Sid Vicious" last October he answered:

"I went through a lot of different music phases while I was growing up. When I went through my punk rock phase though, everyone started calling me Sid Vicious (bassist of the Sex Pistols) and it just stuck ever since."

Really Sid? You went through a 20-year, 4-album, global-touring "punk rock phase?"  Pray tell, what exactly, constitutes a phase?  And As you are still a touring member of the band - does this "phase" wax and wane between DJ gigs and festival stages?

More importantly Sid, how can you pretend you don't know that Sid Vicious was the glamorous punk rock junkie icon that Ian MacKaye hated enough to invent the entire way of life that your band preached harder than he did for a full decade? Anyone calling themselves "DJ Sid Vicious" would be a tool. But even a Home Depot couldn't contain the tool you have turned yourself into by taking his name and image.

Thankfully, LIV has a high ceiling.

Here's the real Sid Vicious playing a legendary Sex Pistols gig in San Antonio:

Here's the fake Sid Vicious stealing The Sex Pistols' cut & paste logo: Sid fake

And the fake Sid Vicious performing "Force Of Change" with Strife in Buenos Aires, February 2011:



Posted by Tom Bowker at 11:59 AM in Music
Permalink | Comments (0)


Ghostland Observatory Merge Arena Rock's Stage Show With Daft Punk's Groove Wednesday Night @ Culture Room

"Somebody punch me in the face so I can see some stars!"

-Cloris Leachman

Back in the stoned age, dance music and indie rock were both star-driven vehicles. Dance music had divas like Grace Jones and Donna Summer. Indie rock had outspoken dudes like Michael Stipe and Lou Barlow. Say what you will about their music, but those folks demanded - and got - your attention.

Somewhere over the last dozen years, both genres lost their star power. "Superstar DJs" took the reins from dance divas, and ruled the roost from darkened turntables. Indie rock bands became more and more generic, and more often than not played facing each other onstage  rather than the to the audience.

So it's no surprise that Austin, Texas indie dance duo Ghostland Observatory has burst out of that entertainment vaccum on the strength of singer Aaron Behrens' glam rock stage strut and shrill falsetto pipes. His post-hippie threads and Pocahantes hairdo exude the particular strain of androgyny that has made women swoon since the days of Oscar Wilde. He has the Freddie Mercury pomp rock strut down and enough of a wallup in his larynx to sound like Zach De La Rocha gone disco.

His bandmate, the dapper, caped, Thomas Turner, keeps a danceable groove going by twiddling knobs, plunking on synths and sitting behind the drums when the mood hits him. Gangly and professorial, he's the perfect silent foil to Behrens' oxygen eating stage show.

The third member of the band, and the justification for the $32.90 ticket price for Wednesday night's show at the Culture Room, is a full-on arena rock laser show. It's a pretty good strategy. After all, if it looks like a million bucks onstage - chances are you won't feel cheated when you leave the club with an empty wallet.


Posted by Tom Bowker at 03:20 PM in Music
Permalink | Comments (0)


New Venue Alert: PAX Miami Brings Eco-Funk To Brickell


It's always a cause for celebration when someone is crazy enough to open a new live music venue in the Magic City.  For a year, art dealer/local band manager Roxanne Scalia has been transforming an old Miami Herald distribution center on the edge of Brickell into a hip, multipurpose space called PAX MIAMI. For the last few weeks, she's had a well-received soft-opening while she irons out the kinks. 

For now, PAX is an organic coffee house by day and an alty latino-friendly live music joint by night. Scalia is adamant on leaving a small eco footprint, so she's promoting her events via you tube "video flyers"  as opposed to the tree-eating paper kind. She's ramping up the do-good factor next month, when she plans to implement an ambitious after-school music lesson program taught by local musicians, including members of Locos Por Juana. Amazingly, this program will be free of charge to all students.

By opening a small joint (150 capacity), having a healthy day trade and focusing on the latin rock/funk/alt scene that Scalia has been immersed in for years, PAX Miami has a strong chance to survive in Miami: a notorious rock club boneyard - especially for a major city.  

This Saturday, PAX hosts Elastic Bond, one of the many funky projects local guitarist Buffalo Brown is in. Here's the Miami Vice-cribbed video flyer: 


And here is Elastic Bond playing acoustic and outdoors on 37th & Biscayne for Big City Breakdown:


PAX Miami is located at 337 SW 8th St, Miami. For more information call: 305 640 5847 or visit paxmiami.com

Posted by Tom Bowker at 02:15 PM in Music
Permalink | Comments (1)


Miami "Futuristic Rock" Band The Waterford Landing One-Up Radiohead By Giving Away Their New Album


Guitarist Ed Matus is not one to compromise on anything. If there's one thing the man who I once dubbed "the angriest dog in the world" doesn't know how to do - it's backing down. 15 years ago Matus broke up his first band Subliminal Criminal after discovering, during the  mix-down of what would have been their second album, that the reason bassist Tony Cina got a goofy grin each night on stage was because he was playing "duh duh duhduhduhdada" ala Ringling Brothers during "Phase One," Matus' favorite song.

So when the short bio accompanying the Waterford Landing's "In The Heart Of The Zombie City" hints at the trials and tribulations of refusing to succumb to the dreaded "sophomore slump" - which is often the  rock band kiss of death (see Nuclear Valdez) you can believe Matus wasn't settling for anything less than his band's best. He and band mates Rich Rippe, Neil Rippe and Alex Caso wound up recording 33 songs with 3 different producers over nearly 3 years, before they came up with a 16-track, double album they were happy with. 

The result is a complex, very entertaining multi-genre stew that works great if you: A) were brought up on Pink Floyd or Radiohead records that meander a little while setting the mood or B) fast forward past the mood pieces to get to the rock.

However, if you fast-forwarded the record in Matus' presence, you'd probably get a dressing down worthy of a Paris Island drill instructor. Seeing how The Waterford Landing are giving  In The Heart Of The Zombie City away for free at audioelectric.net , it's not too much to ask even the most ADD afflicted listener to give it a whirl from start to finish. 

At some later date, TWL plans to release "In The Heart Of The Zombie City" on vinyl. Until then, enjoy a free and delicious electric lunch.

Posted by Tom Bowker at 05:44 PM in Music
Permalink | Comments (0)


Singer/songwriter Goh Nakamura Imitates Life Imitating Art Tuesday Night At O Cinema



As a small child, singer-songwriter Goh Nakamura was inspired by movies which featured dorky guys learning how to play guitar in order to get girls.So it's only natural that  his film debut, "Surrogate Valentine" - which will be screened Tuesday night at the O Miami theater in Wynwood as part of the Borscht Film Festival - is a fictionalized semi-biography about his  trials and tribulations of being a musician - and attracting women. As a twist, Nakamura gives guitar lessons to a vapid hollywood actor so the thespian can accurately portray a "tortured singer/songwriter" in an upcoming film.

Nakamura's brand of starbucks-friendly acoustic balladry is the perfect conduit for wooing the fairer sex, as long as they don't value volume, dynamics or rhythm. So it's a safe bet he'll be getting the girl who got away in his movie. And it's a safe bet that the man who has leveraged a lucky placement on the you tube homepage into multiple songs in major motion pictures and a starring vehicle will woo at least a few sensitive souls with his post-screening performance.


"Surrogate Valentine" Screens Tuesday, April 19th at O Cinema, 96 NW 29th St, Miami. Showtime is 9PM. Goh Nakamura will perform immediately following the screening. Tickets are $10.50. for more information visit www.borscht.info

Posted by Tom Bowker at 10:40 AM in Music
Permalink | Comments (0)


Motown Legend Smokey Robinson Takes The Kravis Center On A Trip Down The Tracks Of His Tears Thursday


It's impossible to overstate the influence Motown singer/songwriter/vice-president had on the music of the 1960s and 1970s.  He was both the face of Motown's flagship group, and one of the label's primary songwriters - churning out million sellers like they were corvettes on the line - and changing music forever.

It would be easy to list the many bands and artists who owe their career to Smokey Robinson. But rather than waste words explaining why its worthwhile to see this living legend Thursday at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, I'm posting a series of videos of featuring both Smokey's golden throat and a few of his friends making Smokey's tunes their own.



Smokey Robinson appears Thursday, April 14th at the Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee blvd, West Palm Beach. Tickets are $32-$147.25.

Posted by Tom Bowker at 10:32 AM in Music
Permalink | Comments (0)


The Button South Reunites This Weekend. Rogaine, Spandex and Hairspray Sales Sure To Skyrocket.

Button south

If there was one joint that embodied the clash between the death of hair metal and the rise of alt-rock in the early 1990s, it was the Button South. Located right off the Hallandale Beach Blvd exit, next to a motel and within spitting distance of multiple strip joints - the Button was a slick, 1000-capacity club with a beautiful stage, cheap long island ice teas and a schitzo booking policy.

By early evening, it was a performance space that held shows by oddball acts like Mr. Bungle, Scatterbrain, the Dead Milkmen and Ween - along with virtually every band that has ever been played on MTV's headbangers ball. Legends like Motorhead, 1-hit-wonders like Ugly Kid Joe, ex- arena rocker solo acts (Ace Frehley, Sebastian Bach) and last gasp reunion tours for has-beens like Quiet Riot and RATT all played the Button. Local bands like The Goods, Marilyn Manson and Skintite played Wednesday night gigs, which allowed the Button to pretend they were an active participant in the local music scene - as opposed to one who only grudgingly tolerated the presence of bands who didn't wear spandex.

Bands who played early gigs at the Button were treated to a set of house rules which were decidedly different for "original bands"  and the late night hair metal cover bands who attracted  the club's bread and butter: off-duty strippers and their wanna-be Mr. Right-Nows. Leaving an early punk or thrash show at the Button never ceased to be  amusing, as there would always be a Kip Winger clone near the door, primping his hair  like a dandy right out of an Oscar Wilde play, cursing every time some lunk in a Slayer shirt bumped into him.

This dichotomy will be played out this weekend at Bash Of Boca hosts the 2nd "Button South Class Reunion." Friday night is "original band" night with headlining sets by legendary Miami band The Goods and funk rockers Skintite (featuring Reddings singer Mark Lockett). Bridging the gap between "original" and butt rock is  singer Matt Kramer. Kramer's old outfit Saigon Kick choked out "Love Is On The Way," the last power ballad hit of the hair rock era - which doomed their career in the face of grunge - despite having made their bones doing hard nosed sets that culminated in a Sex Pistols/Cream medley. 

Saturday night, is dedicated to hairspray. Gypsy Queen and Canaveral will be rocking heir follicles along with the "Button South All-Stars" aka "Rulette"(sic).

Here's a clip of The Goods in their heyday onOG local tabloid show "Inside Story."


Here's a clip of Gypsy Queen covering Led Zeppelin on Fort Lauderdale beach:


The Button South Class reunion takes place Friday, April 15th and Saturday, April 16th at Bash Of Boca, 5970 SW 18th st, Boca Raton. Doors are at 5pm and the party lasts until 5am each night. for more information call: 561 447-7171.

Posted by Tom Bowker at 04:20 PM in Music
Permalink | Comments (0)


Sweat Records Was Broken Into Last Night. Go To Sweatstock Saturday And Help Them Recover.

Sweat robbery

The good folks at Sweat Records have been robbed for the second time in three years. Last night, someone broke in and stole the store / performance space's cash register, some assorted electronics and an iMac computer, which housed their online store.

Fortunately, their annual all-day Sweatstock celebration is this Saturday, offering local music lovers a chance to help get Sweat back on their feet. This year, Sweatstock features 24 local bands on three stages (one outdoor, two inside Churchill's - which is next door), 11 Djs inside the store and a ton of record store day exclusive releases. Among the bands playing: The Getback, Lil Daggers, Panic Bomber and ARTOFFICAL.

There will also be hundreds of records on clearance. In order to encourage impulse buying - the first 500 adults who walk in the door get a free heineken.

For those unable to make it Saturday, you can make a paypal donation here

Sweatstock takes place Saturday, April 16th at Sweat Records: is 5505 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami. Sweatstock begins at 10 AM. The DJs start at noon and the outdoor stage starts at 2pm.

It's impossible to quantify the good works Sweat Records queen bee Lauren Reskin and her staff do for the music scene down here.But to give you an idea, here's a clip of LA band No Age headlining last year's Sweatstock.



Posted by Tom Bowker at 10:13 PM in Music
Permalink | Comments (0)

Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About The Miami Herald | Advertise