FastForward is a weekly column highlighting the highs, lows, and in-betweens of South Florida nightlife. It's a weeknight stop at your neighborhood dive; it's a blurry, bass-filled Friday night in the club; it's that one moment in a conversation you hoped you'd remember the next morning. It's everything that's led up to this moment, and everything that will come next.
This Saturday, creative collective Black Locust Society, rolled up America's Backyard, and smoked the shit out of it. As part of Block x Blog music festival, the crew took over the bar to host its latest SWARM pop-up event.
Our shoes were soaked, our hair was sticking to our foreheads, and we were already half-dead from earlier Record Store Day festivities (read: free beer) at Radio-Active Records. But when the doors to the inaugural fest opened at 6 p.m., we got totally and silly stoned on what we found in the backyard of America.
7. Swag Bags
Keeping in theme with Block x Blog's nostalgia-fueled vintage gaming aesthetic, the first 100 guests at this SWARM were the lucky recipients of a pixelated "8-bit" Black Locust Society tote bag filled with goodies like a cool black and white, screen-printed BLS logo patch and an assortment of stickers.
6. 8-Bit Basketball
There might have been a tornado warning, and kids were probably playing in a few-inches of rainwater, but when BLS said they'd be bringing a "fully interactive 8-bit gaming experience" to this swarm event, they weren't kidding. Have you ever seen a square basketball being dunked through a rectangular hoop? We hadn't either...
5. Strategy Guide
Considering how much there was to do, it was a damn good idea for the guys at BLS to include a "SWARM Strategy Guide" with entry into the event. Folded into a cute little pamphlet -- perfectly-sized to keep tucked into a back pocket while chugging beers -- were instructions on how to successfully "win the game" and save the princess. It's all in the details, and this was a creative, thoughtful way to keep party-goers on track. Plus, the first 200 guests to complete the game received a special edition BLS T-shirt.
4. Free Entry
With tickets to the full lineup of Block x Blog festivities running a somewhat hefty $38, it was a relief to know that Black Locust Society remained true to their spirit and kept their portion of the festival cover-free. Especially at a venue as huge and as typically underground-unfriendly as America's Backyard, the folks at BLS knew that in order to widen their audience and indoctrinate new members, this SWARM event would have to be free and open to all.
3. Best Local Music
The lineup for the America's Backyard portion of the Block x Blog festival was a well-rounded mix of local bands from up and down the coast, with Miami's psychedelic sludge rockers Lil Daggers headlining. Fort Lauderdale's the Goddamn' Hustle brought the bluegazing garage pop, while DJs like the Revenant of the Proper Dosage crew delivered wobbling, deep dubstep sounds to keep the crowd pleased.
2. Downtown Takeover
It was a strange and somewhat uplifting sight to see the downtown Fort Lauderdale institution Revolution Live, along with its adjoining sister venues Green Room and America's Backyard, filled not with its sometimes mix of yuppies, bros, and sorostitutes, but with an eclectic crowd of party-goers from across a variety of different scenes -- and not just from Fort Lauderdale, but also Miami, West Palm, and everywhere in between. The vibe at this SWARM was one of acceptance, open-mindedness, and their general "let's all get fucked up together" spirit lasted through the night.
1. Subculture Collabo
Considering this was the first time Black Locust Society has teamed up with anyone else for an event, we have to say the collaboration with another collective of underground-focused South Florida creatives, Subculture, was a huge success.
If there's one thing that fosters creativity and a real sense of a scene, it's community, and when like-minded people get together for a common cause, beautiful things can happen. We only hope more people will follow their lead and continue nurturing the weird little mutant baby that is the South Florida scene for underground culture.
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