It was set to be a rather serious affair at Fort Lauderdale City Hall last Thursday, when the mayor and the city commissioners held a public hearing regarding the proposed ban of underagers from clubs that serve alcohol that is threatening to migrate from Miami Beach north to Fort Lauderdale. Prior to discussion, the general atmosphere was somber, like something really bad was going to happen. To be sure, conventional wisdom seemed to point to the passage of the law, especially after some rowdy Juggalos (fans of Insane Clown Posse) tried to set fire to the Chili Pepper after their favorite band canceled a show there two weeks ago. But somehow the pleas of well-organized 18-, 19-, and 20-year-old constituents struck a sympathetic chord with the commissioners.
Taking notes in the audience, but not speaking, was Fort Lauderdale attorney Robert Sanders. "I moved here 15 years ago; it was young and exciting," he recalled. "Now they want to ban everything. The mayor represents all people, and this is discrimination based on age and money. I watched them rid the town of spring break, and now they want to turn it into an old person's town."
But Sanders' sentiments weren't far out of line with the commission, which appeared genuinely interested in the kids' concerns. Grinning, late-arriving teens had to cop a squat on the chamber floor, which meant the meeting had to be moved to a larger room, where their concerns were actually met with respect.
Though an antiban petition distributed by young, regional-music fans lacked a bit of finesse, it did rack up more than 400 signatures. And some of the young attendees were remarkably erudite, even those who prefaced remarks by saying, "I'm, uh, here to support the scene." A music-playing, skateboard-loving young man actually generated some sympathy when he complained that the law's passage would mean "there's no chance of ever leaving Sunrise," if local bands didn't have a place to hold live music events. When another 18-year-old stated the obvious -- "kids are just going to drink and do drugs anyway" -- the commission actually nodded in agreement.
In fact the kids wearing wristbands in bars while bobbing heads to music didn't ever seem to be the real issue -- it was the whispered word Roxy that seemed to epitomize the town's trouble with drinking establishments. The venue borders the Coral Ridge neighborhood and has been accused (more than once) of being less than a good neighbor. Area resident Larry Mann blamed "everything from vandalism to gunfights" and has been vocal in demanding a rein on Roxy's fun but wouldn't characterize underage drinking as the source of the problem. "That's someone else's agenda," he told Bandwidth.
In the end no one was particularly anxious to take responsibility for the proposal, and it died a quick, painless death, alleviating Sanders' fears. "Eighteen- to twenty-year-olds have rights," he said plainly. "What's the constitutionality of banning people old enough to vote? I'd hate to see them turn Fort Lauderdale into an old people's city." And there's a right to be concerned -- any town that wants to ban strip clubs and stop kids from playing or hearing rock music is a town reaching for its Geritol. However, at least this summer, the kids are all right.
You know a band smokes a lot of pot when its official corporate sponsor is Detoxify, an herbal supplement that rids urine of impurities that may show up on drug tests. The druggy Blue Floyd is certain to be a hit with the fragrant followers of the Phish/Grateful Dead axis. And if you love long-winded bass guitar solos, well, bub, this here's your band. But there is more to Blue Floyd than simple reefer madness -- these guys play bluesy versions of Pink Floyd songs! The jam-band's current repertoire includes the usual favorites from The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon but throws in oldies like "Interstellar Overdrive," "One of These Days," and "Fearless."Consisting of members of the bands Gov't Mule, the Black Crowes, and the Allman Brothers Band, the band caters more to lengthy improvisations, not carbon copies of the originals, so no two shows are the same. See and hear for yourself at Alligator Alley on Friday and Saturday night, for the final two shows of Blue Floyd's Phat Old Summer Tour. Like the Dead, Phish, and the Dave Matthews Band, Blue Floyd is another act that encourages its fans to make bootleg recordings of its shows, so grab your DAT deck or MiniDisc recorder and microphones and find the taping section.
There'll be enough nihilism to go around at the Culture Room on July 13, as dwellers of the dark side will converge to witness the arrival of Mayhem, one of the most calculatedly evil and hilarious (no contradiction there) bands around. Firstly there's the tale of the band's former singer, a charming lad named Dead, who killed himself in 1991. Drummer Hellhammer made a necklace of Dead's skull fragments; guitarist Euronymous made a meal of the singer's gray matter, then offed himself in 1993. The new Mayhem continues to make terrifying records with titles like Deathcrush. Even die-hard metal fans have called this stuff "simplistic plodding, evidencing the inability of its players," but it goes over big in South Florida -- always has and always will, with the folks who think sun, sand, and palm trees equal hell on earth. And if that's the case, Mayhem may well become the house band.
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