Ten Alternative Spaces for Live Music in South Florida
With all the fuss that's circulated over Churchill's Pub switching of hands, coupled with the closing of the Broward County staple the Talent Farm, we at County Grind got to thinking about location. More specifically, venues. After watching what seems like the whole music scene have an emotional collapse at the thought of one integral venue changing in any way shape or form, we got to wondering whether or not we, in the tri-county area, are putting all our eggs in one basket. That can be a seriously dangerous thing for a music scene.
So, we asked ourselves: Where else could we throw wild punk shows or freaky noise nights around these parts? What follows are ten places -- a few more practical than others -- that we think would make the coolest alternative venues in South Florida.
First, some realistic spots:
10. Youth of Nations Project of the Arts & Art On the Edge Gallery
This Fort Lauderdale spot is already up and running, kicking off some bound-to-be-crazy shows with none other than the likes of Rat Bastard, Jellyfish Brothers, Xela Zaid, and others on June 7.
What makes this place stand out is that it's not your run-of-the-mill bar or whatever else we're used to, but rather, it's an art and music space, supporting expression on all sorts of different verticals. With local art scattered on the walls, this place oozes with support for the scene and is perfect for all our oddball noise musicians.
9. Around the Corner from Radio-Active Records
You know when you're walking from your car, you pass that dry cleaners to get to the front door of Radio-Active Records? Have you ever thought to yourself, "Hey! This weird drive-through roof thing would kind of make a cool shady area for a band to play under!"? No? Maybe it's just us then.
But give it a chance: Imagine walking to the front door, but oh no, wait, there's a loud-ass show happening right outside! Radio-Active has had its fair share of cool shows in their quarters, but how great would it be if they opened it up, gave bands and crowds some room to breathe and jam outside, all with the strange Fort Lauderdale world passing them by? We think it'd be pretty crazy.
8. Space Mountain
Like Art on the Edge Gallery, Space Mountain is also a haven for art, poetry, and music. Located in North Miami, it's already being dubbed the "new Churchill's." With Kenny Millions officially moving his Be Creative or Die series to its hall, Space Mountain is creating a safe space for all sorts of experimentation.
We've seen some turbulent and truly wild shows there, featuring bands like Snakehole and Shitstorm, and Space Mountain has its own vibe unlike any other venue in South Florida. It's bound to grow, and into something greater, we thinks, very, very soon. They're even hosting a "wake" for Churchill's this Friday night.
CD Trader Facebook
7. CD Trader in Hollywood
If you haven't stopped by CD Trader lately, you need to change that soon. CD Trader rocks. It's a spot where you can get, obviously, quality CDs, DVDs, and video games without breaking the bank. We've picked up some great albums for embarrassingly low prices, from the Pogues and Billy Bragg, to the Breeders and The Lost Boys soundtrack.
It can get pretty busy too, so why not bring the party to Hollywood, an area that seems a little left out when it comes to local shows? Of course space is limited, but there's something particularly counterculture about pulling up to the plaza that holds Publix, Ross, and L.A. Fitness to see some punk music. Like, fuck corporate, dude.
And the fantasy spots:
6. The Swap Shop Drive-in
There's just something about the vast, open space of the drive-in that seems perfect for the craziest of punk shows. All that room to move, it'd feel like a festival outing at every single gathering.
And that screen? Imagine artists projecting visuals while bands played below? Just imagine the lengths one could go with a show at a place like that. One thing's for sure, we wouldn't run out of parking.
5. Villa Paula Mansion
Located in the heart of Little Haiti, the Villa Paula Mansion is considered one of the most haunted places in South Florida. Built in 1925, it housed the first Cuban Consulate in Miami, Don Domingo Milord, and his wife, Paula, who later died in the home because of complications due to a leg amputation.
When Cliff Ensor purchased the home in 1974 -- after it had been transformed into a shelter for drifters and later an old folks home -- he noticed he was not completely alone. Dun, dun, dun! Frequent knocking on doors, the untraceable smell of Cuban coffee, doors slamming shut, mysterious shadows creeping, and the consecutive killing of three pet cats made the Villa Paula Mansion an intriguing, albeit eerie, place. The creaking of floorboards within its stark white walls, the chance of seeing the flicker of a ghost? Sounds perfect for a metal show to us.
4. Topeekeegee Yugnee Park
Switching gears here for a moment, Topeekeegee Yugnee Park, otherwise known simply as TY Park, is a beautiful oak tree shaded spot in Hollywood.
Past its gates, there's a lake, camping area, and all that you could expect from a park, but with something especially beautiful about it. Perhaps it's the trees that make it such a breezy and nice place, but one way or another, it's a great location for gathering. So why not for music? Churchill's and the Talent Farm were not just home to some of our favorite punk bands, they were home to every type of musician walked through their doors. Why not do the same type of diverse partying outdoors with burgers on the grill and the sun peaking through the trees?
3. Ñooo!!! Que Barato!
For some reason, there's something really appealing about the idea of throwing a wild show in a flea market. Just visualizing the chaos of the place and its patrons in a way mirrors the frenzied mood of a hardcore crowd about to go off the rails, so why not bring the two together?!
Well, for obvious reasons, of course. But we can dream, right? Stranger things have happened. Ñooo!!! Que Barato! in Hialeah is one of South Florida's most unique landmarks. Translating roughly to "Dammmnn! How cheap!!" this spot is overflowing with little old Cuban ladies. But guess what? Some of their daughters and sons want to hear some crazy live music, so why not bring it straight to their doorstep?
2. Coral Castle
What's up with this place, anyway? Are these stone figures even pretty? We can't tell. If there's one thing Edward Leedskalnin's sculptures are, is interesting. A cluttered garden of carved coral, Coral Castle provides for some outlandish negative space that could host a unique vibe for a concert.
Picture sitting atop the curve of a large porous sculpture, watching the latest and greatest of the South Florida scene spill their hearts out, surrounded by arches and canopies of dried up marine life. Could be weird, could be awesome.
1. The Abandoned Plantation Fashion Mall
What used to be a bustling area of commerce, the Plantation Fashion Mall, now sits quietly, waiting to be transformed into some other consumer's fantasy. Imagine sneaking into the vacant three story mall, with its wide halls and open spaces, for a one-of-a-kind concert. The acoustics would probably be insane. Sounds bouncing off the stained and empty walls, walking where hundreds used to flock to shop. It'd be show to remember.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.