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In today's topsy-turvy world of bank bailouts, budget cuts, and internet piracy, kudos must be given to the fellas at Fort Lauderdale's Radio-Active Records for adapting to the times and even persevering. The shop's key to success has been specialization, and the place has become Broward County's number-one source for vinyl records. Though the Dom Pérignon wasn't flowing at Radio-Active's eighth-anniversary party Saturday, July 18. But free pizza, complimentary drinks, solid discounts, and a blistering, live rock lineup provided more than enough fizzle.
The show started with Miami trio Beings, an outfit composed of veterans of many of the city's old-scene staples. Bassist Mike Alen and lead vocalist/guitarist Ivan Marchena most recently played in Map of the Universe, and drummer Beatriz Monteavaro played in Cavity and Floor. As Beings, the three kicked things off with a rapid-fire set of squalling rock that challenged the limits of Radio-Active's decent but modest sound system. Throughout the rollicking performance, flashes of blue from lightning bolts striking outside shone through the glass-block windows behind them. There couldn't have been a better backdrop for the threesome's unhinged feedback.
Introduced as "International Superstar" Jose El Rey, the king of ultra-machismo-Cubano schtick took the stage next. But he appeared sans his usual gold chains and was accompanied only by his electric guitar. He went on to channel his retro-Miami-booty-shake sounds through his axe, churning out raw-boned, sloshy punk renditions of songs from his debut album, A Little Strong. El Rey also hurled out a fun cover of the Aquabats' "Pool Party" and kept things lively through this no-nonsense, 20-minute set.
The final performers were Margate punk-rock superstars the Shakers. This trio has been around longer than most punk kids have been out of diapers, and it unleashed a belching, ear-splitting set lead by vocalist Pat Shaker's guttural howls and bassist Jon Shaker's up-front bass lines. Songs from the trio's recent full-length, Good Enough — such as "Bombs and Beers" and "G-ville"— played out like traditional frat-boy punk rock à la Green Day but with just enough Descendents-style self-deprecating angst to make it interesting.
Radio-Active Manager Mikey Ramirez, who worked the register for most of the night, said that the eight-year milestone couldn't have been reached without the massive support of the public. "We appreciate every purchase," he said. "We've always tried to listen to our customers." Ramirez, owner Sean Kayes, and dedicated employee Paul Polete keep striving to make the record store an important musical landmark in Fort Lauderdale. They are well on their way.