Revolver. Pop Life. Names synonymous with weekend revelry that have been the be all and end all for 20-somethings in South Florida. But why are all the kids gravitating toward Miami like birds in winter? "Because there's nothing going on in Fort Lauderdale," argues local DJ/promoter Isaac Alexander. "Miami has everything. We have nothing." Blunt, but true in many ways, when it comes to Broward's big city. So it was only inevitable that Alexander and a handful of like-minded folks would attempt to reinvigorate a flailing scene dependent on cheesy techno, busted bar bands, and the like.
Following in the footsteps of the successful Blowtorch monthlies, Alexander has concocted a weekly night of his own called Crush, which drops the elitist tendencies of Miami in favor of a good time, all in the name of music. "The indie-rock community is a lot tighter down there," he admits. "They're more lenient with liquor licenses. Those are reasons everyone heads down there." With Crush just breaking ground and Blowtorch becoming established, Fort Lauderdale is slowly gaining momentum. "The majority of stuff playing at Pop Life and Revolver are just carbon copies of each other," Blowtorch/Crush DJ Mike Ramirez says. "It's the same shit over and over again. If you come to Blowtorch or Crush, you'll get variety. You'll get Wire, Stetasonic, Motörhead, Killing Joke. Not the same 12 songs you'd hear down there."
Eclectic and evolving, Crush has one major advantage in that it occupies the weeknight slots, giving South Floridians an escape from the work doldrums and helping to create another community altogether. With Alexander already brewing a monthly night called Roll Out, it's only a matter of time before a healthy balance is provided for the party set. "Blowtorch and Crush crew spend more time picking out their records than picking out their wardrobe," Ramirez concludes. Witness Fort Lauderdale's rebirth for yourself every Thursday from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Crush, located at the Kalahari Lounge, 4446 NE 20th Ave., Oakland Park, as well as Blowtorch, Saturday, December 27, at the Fox and Hound, 4812 N. Dixie Hwy., Oakland Park. Call 954-491-8869 (Fox and Hound) or 954-351-9371 (Kalahari). -- Kiran Aditham
Phishing expedition brings the circus to town
Now that we've gotten a few of the obvious "replace f with ph" jokes out of the way -- no Phish article would be complete without them -- let's get down to brass tacks. For those unfamiliar with the band, a word of caution: Avoid the area around American Airlines Arena (601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) every afternoon and evening from Sunday, December 28, through New Year's Eve. Phish is in town for a four-night run at the arena, and the carnival that follows them wherever they go should make life, well, interesting in that part of town. Like the Grateful Dead before them, Phish tends to attract stoned-out fans from all over the country, particularly for major events such as this. Heck, a lot of people who go to the show don't even have tickets. They just stand outside with a finger in the air, praying that someone will come along and hand them one.
For those who are already fans, more power to you. We're hoping for a nice "Down with Disease" to kick off the New Year, the way the band did it at the millennium. That was sweet. Call 305-960-8500. -- Dan Sweeney
'Cause Death Metal Douglas Says So
With its low-end rumble courtesy of bassist Death Metal Douglas, Radar O'Reilly has pounded onto South Florida's music scene. And now, it's time for Douglas to do some pounding of his own. This Saturday night, the Billabong Pub (3000 Country Club Ln., Hallandale Beach) hosts the bassist's birthday bash, featuring performances by Radar O'Reilly, Mr. Entertainment, and several other local bands.
Along with the stoner rock of Radar O'Reilly and the impossible-to-pigeonhole-but-somewhat-punk music of Mr. Entertainment, you'll get to hang in a beer lover's paradise. Heck, we even named the Billabong for Best Beer Selection in last year's Best Of edition. While you're there, get a glass of Hoegaarden. You won't be disappointed. Unless, of course, you're one of those freaks who prefers Budweiser or Miller to other beers. If that's the case, there's really no hope for you. But, hey, it's all about the music anyway, right? Call 954-985-1050. -- Dan Sweeney
I'll Be at RSC for Christmas
For many people, getting home for Christmas is just not a possibility; that, or the thought of spending another holiday in Dysfunction Central is enough to make you have a sudden brain aneurysm. If you've got nowhere to go on Christmas, or if you'd just rather spend it out on the town, Respectable Street Café (518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach) has got your number down with its annual Christmas Party. With the amount of free booze and even freer good cheer, you barely even need to bring the pocketbook; well, at least bring an ID. It would suck to get left out. Admission is free, and so are the drinks from 10 p.m. to midnight. Plus, you can guzzle free spiked eggnog all night long. Best to quit that stuff early, though -- too much eggnog isn't exactly good for the digestive system.
With hits from the past 16 years being pumped out over the speakers and plenty of gifts to go around, this'll be a Christmas to warm the heart, just as the free alcohol warms the body. Call 561-832-0706. -- Dan Sweeney