It's just another night in the South Florida music scene when a symphonic rock band from Hungary plays with Miami's leading violinist inside a former Winn-Dixie. The ghosts of TV dinners and forgotten produce haunt Ovation (3637 S. Federal Hwy., Boynton Beach), a cavernous club whose, uh, eclectic schedule includes teen nights on Wednesdays, country line dancing on Fridays, and "Hot Chocolate Sundays," featuring hip-hop and R&B. Saturdays are concert nights, and on July 10, the club brings us Azlan, a band from Hungary whose leader is known as that country's answer to Tommy Lee -- minus the bad behavior.
"I didn't want to sing about bad things using bad words," says Steve Kiss about his latest project. "I wanted to do the opposite." So he trained his two sons (singer Isby, 24, and drummer Tommy, 21) and his nephew (guitarist Levi, 24), hair farmers all, to play instruments and jam out a positive message. Kiss, a perfectionist, says that in order to create his own sound, "[I] locked myself away from everything for two years. I didn't listen to any music -- except for Yanni, Rush and some jazz." Once ready to emerge in pursuit of stardom, Kiss moved the band -- whose name, which means lion, comes from C.S. Lewis' classic The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe -- from Hungary to... Pembroke Pines? "That was a bad decision," laughs Kiss, one that was based largely, he says, on his desire to "run around in shorts or half-naked."
The show at Ovation features special guest Alfredo Oliva (who has played violin with the Miami Symphony Orchestra, Michael Jackson, and the Moody Blues) and six of his friends -- although, Kiss says, "with pickups in the viola and the cello, it sounds like electric guitars. We can make six players sound like 60." Kiss expects major-label scouts to attend the concert -- which will be one of the band's few shows since moving here. That is, except when Azlan played at the Miami Tropical Marathon in January and won over a mostly Latino crowd of 4,000 to 5,000, according to Kiss. Afterward, "O.J. Simpson stopped by and wanted a picture with us! He said, 'You guys are awesome!'" Yeah, that happens all the time. The show starts at 8 p.m. and costs $5. Call 561-740-7076. --Deirdra Funcheon
Drowning Pool Resurfaces
That Mark Burnett sure is a crafty character. The latest idea by the Survivor creator and long-time INXS fan is a new reality show focused on finding a replacement for Michael Hutchence, INXS' late front man. Were Burnett a dedicated Drowning Pool fan, DP wouldn't have spent all of 2003 looking for the right candidate to replace vocalist Dave Williams, who passed away during the 2002 Ozzfest tour. But the band did find the right man for the job -- professional tattoo artist Jason "Gong" Jones. So with 2004's Desensitized, Drowning Pool continues its foray into alternative metal -- you know, what Metallica would sound like if they were from Seattle -- exploring, though not entirely adhering to, the theme of hopelessness. The guitars have all the crunch of King Kong munching on a giant Pay Day bar, and while Jones' vocals are a little more Eddie Vedder-sounding than his predecessor's, they're a good fit for existential musings like "Numb" and "Nothingness." Drowning Pool pounds into the Culture Room (3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale) at 8 p.m. after Flaw, Dropbox, and Atomship. Tickets cost $15. Call 954-564-1074. -- Jason Budjinski
Not Just a Pretty Face
A nice midriff, too!
She's a little bit country, a little bit pyrotechnics. And, feeling like a woman or not, Shania Twain is likely to getcha good when her UP! tour concludes July 10 at the Office Depot Center (2555 NW 137th Way, Sunrise). The 41-city tour that began in Pensacola in April is the pop-country singer's first concert series in five years, since she retreated to her Switzerland home with husband Robert "Mutt" Lange, and in 2001 gave birth to a son, Eja. It was Twain's union with songwriter/producer Lange, who has worked with the likes of Def Leppard and AC/DC, that helped country lose its twang and find mainstream popularity. Twain has won a slew of awards, from a Grammy for Best Country Album to Flame-Worthy Female Video of the Year. A Shania Twain Museum opened three years ago in her Ontario hometown of Timmins -- sans sculpture of her celebrated midriff. To view the real thing, get tickets ($46.50-$81.50) by calling 954-835-8499. --Michelle Sheldone
Put Up Your Dukes
West Palm Beach's new ordinance banning under-21s from nightclubs might mean less applause than usual for Curse Icon -- a band with a young following -- during tonight's Battle of the Bands at Ray's Downtown Blues (519 Clematis St.). But Marco, the rock ensemble's drummer and lyricist, remains optimistic. Playing to an older crowd "could be advantageous," he says. "I write with a modern edge but keep sometimes to tried-and-true, old-school formulas that seem to have worked for years." Ray's Downtown owner Ray Carbone has done the opposite, taking risks to stay afloat while other Clematis nightspots have come and gone. His instincts should be trusted: Dashboard Confessional used to play at Ray's before moving on to MTV and the Spider-Man soundtrack. Curse Icon dukes it out against groups like Ornj Av and Adams Out beginning at 9 p.m. Admission costs $8. Call 561-835-1577 or visit www.raysdowntown.com. -- Michelle Sheldone