No, WLRN, You Don't Have to Leave South Florida to Hear Rock 'n' Roll
Last week, WLRN ran a positively ludicrous piece suggesting that fans of rock 'n' roll "might have to leave Miami" to enjoy a good bit of organically made sonic piss and vinegar.
While we know all too well the area's reputation through our own efforts to extol and defend South Florida's validity as a rock 'n' roll town, WLRN's story failed to dig past the experiences of a scant two bands and a single club owner and, in doing so, failed every single person working hard to disprove the notion that this is a place so inhospitable that only DJs and bottle service can survive here.
Let's get a few facts straight: Rock 'n' roll -- however vague a moniker that is in 2014 -- is no longer the reigning choice in popular music anywhere. However, rock music is still absolutely thriving in 2014, and Miami is contributing as much to the cause as any major city in the country.
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Don't buy it? Ask any of the bands that have spawned here to go on to international success, like the Jacuzzi Boys or Torche. Take a look at the lineups for events like Sweat Records' epic annual Record Store Day event, Sweatstock, or one of the recent Fourth of July blowouts the Audio Junkie brothers Greg and Eddy Alvarez hosted at Gramps Bar in Wynwood.
These events, and so many others, consistently put together bills featuring homegrown artists ranging from garage rock to hardcore, punk rock to metal, and every other microgenre you could possibly cram under the rock music umbrella.
Pay some attention to some of the awesome shows and being put on by Steev Rullman of PureHoney or some of the heavy-hitting national garage and psych-rock acts that Rob Budowski of Strutter Productions has brought to town lately. Check out the DIY spots, like Space Mountain in Little Haiti, the Bubble in Fort Lauderdale, or maybe get to a larger show on time (for once, you assholes) and pay the openers -- whom are almost always locals -- the respect they deserve.
Like punk, hardcore, experimental music, or extreme metal? John McHale of Breakeven Booking and Rick Smith of Torche and Shitstorm bring the absolute best bands in those genres to town on a weekly basis at a major financial risk and always stack the bill with awesome local openers.
Even with the area's perennial loss of venues, Miami's scene is arguably as indestructible as ever. A lot of drama surrounded a recent changing of the guard at the iconic rock 'n' roll hub Churchill's Pub in Little Haiti, but the live music never stopped. Nayra Serrano of Idle Hands Productions picked it right up and ran with it.
And what's more, our isolation has allowed the scene to be more honest and real than probably any other in the country -- proof of which resides in the unique sounds of the area's bands. We do what we fucking please because South Florida's scene is an entity unto itself not bound by trends in fashion, sonic or otherwise.
The spirit of rock music lives in uncomfortable places. Dive bars. House shows. Venues with vomit-caked bathrooms and walls charred by cigarette smoke. These are the bastions of rock 'n' roll and they are not always safe, because rock 'n' roll shouldn't be safe. It should be visceral, primal, and it should be something far more dangerous than what you're being fed by the mainstream.
Your band isn't amassing the fans you want? Try harder. Be better. Become a part of the community instead of changing your sound and pissing and moaning about your lack of success. Packing a club isn't easy for anyone anymore. Deal with it.
In the meantime, your whining undermines the hard work being done by everyone around you, and if you don't have your peers behind you around here, you have nothing.
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