While it's a cliché to mention it, supporting local bands is still vitally important sustain the South Florida independent music scene. There are local bands worth checking out. Some of them take to the stage at Venu (100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale) for the 17-band showcase known as La Fiesta de Punk Rock.
Headlining the show are Miami's political ska-punk veterans Against All Authority (indoor stage) and local emo peddlers Further Seems Forever (outdoor stage) -- both national acts in their own right. Fortunately, the show features more than just a bunch of 12-year-olds trying to be Blink 182, as one might expect from a punk festival in 2003. South Florida does have a few bands who remember punk before it was about being boring and looking cute, though they're something of a dying breed. Punk has now become intertwined with the boy-band/Britney Spears phenomenon. Of course, we can thank MTV for much of this sugar-filled eye candy. After punk made its way into the mainstream some ten years ago, its mutated MTV version (Xtreme, dude) has gradually spilled over into local underground scenes. Now it's not uncommon for local punk shows to be put on by kids who think the New York Dolls are a hockey team and "Anarchy in the U.K." was written by Mötley Crüe. That's why bands like Fort Lauderdale's Heatseekers, who play the indoor stage, bring a sigh of relief to those of us who really can't see the difference between 'N Sync and Good Charlotte. The Heatseekers even throw in a few selections from the '60s and '70s as a reminder that punk didn't begin with the Offspring (see: the Vibrators, the Boys). "I'm not sure how much of what is going on would really be considered punk," Heatseekers guitarist Ryan Weinstein says, "but I think the show is pretty well-rounded. We're looking forward to seeing people we'd never see during the day, applying suntan lotion to their sunburned bodies while drinking Coca-Cola and bobbing their heads."
The rest of the lineup for La Fiesta de Punk Rock features a wide range of music, including harder-edged bands like the Groovenics and Simple Kill; the melodic hardcore of Glasseater and Where Fear & Weapons Meet; the upbeat ska-punk of the Monjees; the indie-rock tunes of Pivot and Sunday Driver; the more serious, political hardcore of Protagonist; and poppier bands like Five Cent Wish, Cru Jones, and Don King Lives in My Backyard. A few out-of-towners have been added to the bill as well, including New York's Autopilot Off and the Movielife and Orlando's Anberlin. La Fiesta de Punk Rock may not showcase all that South Florida has to offer in the way of punk-related music, but it's sure to please fans of punk's many splintered subgenres.