Concert Review: Ex Norwegian, Jim Camacho, and Dreaming in Stereo at the Monterey Club, February 5

Camacho 2 compressed.jpg
Photo by Alex Rendon
Jim Camacho
Ex Norwegian, Jim Camacho, and Dreaming in Stereo

The Monterey Club, Fort Lauderdale
Friday, February 5, 2001

Better Than: Paying $400 to hobnob with retired NFL players and B-list celebrities.

The Review:

Amidst all the celebrity sightings and Super Bowl pandemonium going on in Fort Lauderdale on Friday night, Broward's one-of-kind rockabilly spot, the Monterey Club, offered repose for those just looking to chill and enjoy live rock music. While not the typical retro-cool lineup you'd expect to see at this hangout -- which boasts its very own tattoo parlor -- the the three acts on the bill dished out some unique pop stylings that were very atypical from what people usually expect from Miami.

First on tap was indie-centric Ex Norwegian, a group that is completely consistent in its delivery of fuzzy, hook-laden tunes. There was none better this night than the clear crowd hit "Something Unreal," with its chirpy' 90s college-radio pastiche. It was reminiscent of Evan Dando's finer moments, and was the definitive clap-along number of the evening.

Next up was Miami music veteran Jim Camacho, who fronted the nearly-famous '90s band the Goods. This salty dog proved he's still got hit, filling his set with songs from his latest release, Beachfront Defeat. His vocal range is still flexible, and can go from a nasally, Tom Petty-like sound on tracks like "Cowboy Jim," to a debonaire croon, as on his album's title track. With Camacho's dramatic flair and overly emotive, heart-on-sleeve lyrics, you might say his material fits in somewhere between Meat Loaf and emo. 

Things picked up towards the end of the set when Camacho invited brother John Camacho on stage, and the two performed an upbeat rendition of Goods' classic "Good Things are Coming." (Local music scene historians might remember this track whose claim to fame was its use in a Burdines ad campaign.)

With his band, Dreaming in Stereo, Fernando Perdomo took the stage last, just hours after taking the stage backing sexy Latina chanteuse Paulina Rubio at the Pepsi Musica Super Bowl Fan Jam. Perdomo's project proved to be heavy on prog-rocking majesty, with elegant keyboard and orchestral viola touches. Perdomo's everyman voice kept the loftiness of this five-piece grounded, though. 

His guitar playing, on one other hand, was out of this world. Dude can seriously wail; it wouldn't be an exaggeration calling him Miami's very own Joe Satriani. Perdomo's jazzy interlude on "Steal This Song" even brought to mind moments off of Dark Side of the Moon. Although we can't say we were altogether impressed with his vocals, in Perdomo's defense, the monitors were nonexistent the entire night. As he sang about Miami's horrible sound systems in "I'm Not Gonna Move to L.A.," we could really sense the growing angst in his voice (and appreciate the irony too).

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I'd be okay with it if prog rock made a comeback.

Random Detail: Although Camacho and crew promised to get Kermit the Frog tattoos on their ankles early on in the group's set, we are sure that they didn't because the parlor closed its doors halfway through Dreaming in Stereo's set.  

By The Way: Perdomo is one of Miami's most in-demand studio musicians, having played with the likes of Christian Castro, Juanes, Prince and Jennifer Lopez to name a few

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