Best Tribute Act 2012 | Crazy Fingers | Arts & Entertainment | South Florida

It has been several years since the utopian Deadhead night at Fisherman's Wharf on Pompano Pier went the way of Jerry Garcia when the bar/restaurant gave way to new ideas for "development." In the period since, South Florida heads have followed Crazy Fingers, the well-loved Grateful Dead tribute act, around to a few new Thursday-night spots. But none has felt quite as homey as the old Wharf used to, until now. With the jam-band scene in South Florida growing more energized, the landscape is prime for the weekly Deadhead night at Boca Muse, where Crazy Fingers throws down two sets for the patchouli-loving folks and straight-from-the-office, undercover heads alike. Crazy Fingers is as reliable as always these days, paying homage to the band that set so much good energy into motion while being faithful to their own groove at the same time. For now, SoFla heads have plenty of reason to be Grateful, at least once a week. Keep on truckin', Crazy Fingers.

Paper Chaser Committee, or PCC, began in 2003 as a clique only. It has since grown to a five-man crew, consisting of some recognizable names in the underground hip-hop scene in West Palm Beach. There's Cookem Up — the CEO — then a mix of rappers including Vandam Bodyslam, Mic Check, A.I., Breezy, and Moneyman. They came together in 2008 to take danceable beats and lay down hard-core lyrics over them, already putting out a few mixtapes and more than 30 YouTube videos. Their single "Club Scene" has been on heavy rotation on turntables around South Florida. This is a big leap since Mic Check first was simply making beats at home. PCC is still a group that feels like a family. Members stay true to one another even when their jams are blowing up stereos all over town. Hopefully, they'll remain tight even after stereos are blowing up with their sound all over the world.

Orbweaver describes a common group of spiders. Spiders spin webs, and in these webs, they catch their dinner. Orbweaver is an experimental psych-metal band created by its singer, Broward native and main songwriter Randy Piro. He's been weaving tales and catching ideas in them, creating music that is as heavy as it is deadly. Piro once played with Gigan and Hate Eternal, and then in late 2010, he wrote all of the music for Orbweaver himself. He then decided to weave together something akin to a supergroup, hand-picking musicians he discovered around South Florida. It all began with drummer Mike Pena, who performed with Nuclear Infantry; then came Sally Gates, formerly of Gigan and Success Will Write the Apocalypse Across the Sky; Brad Lovett, currently with Slashpine; and bassist Jason Ledgard. They've been playing Piro's music live and are planning to record an album this year. Orbweaver is a concept band, and that concept is trippy as shit. Most of Piro's songs revolve around fictional character the Zone Tripper, an occult magician. The lyrics are a fantasy excursion that bring the listener out of this world and into one crazy/cool place in Piro's head.

It's difficult to lump the musical group Astrea Corporation into just one category, as the group's talent and sound break the barriers of any one genre. In a world that's flooded with dubstep and iPod DJs, the trip-hop beats made by Michael Bachman and Sander Davidson, complemented by the sultry voice of frontwoman Carly Astrea, are refreshing. It's safe to say Astrea Corporation brings a sound to the local music scene that nobody is making. Seeing the group's live show is a different experience each time; it's often intimate and soulfully haunting. To describe it in words almost feels like not giving the group enough credit. Constantly growing and evolving its sound, the Astrea Corporation is certainly one local act to keep an eye on.

Can you imagine what the body of South Florida would look like without its soul, the flamboyant fabulous hometown boy Clarence Reid? It'd be sad, skinny, serious, and sour. A body no one'd wanna bang. Reid, better-known as Blowfly, is a pervy old performer who knows a thing or two about keeping feet tapping and hearts beating heavy. His filthy lyrics will get even the grumpiest old grouch to at least crack a smile. He's a crafty wordsmith of the raunchiest sort, easily turning "Should I Stay or Should I Go" into "Should I Fuck This Big Fat Ho." His repertoire as Blowfly is as foul as the scribbles on a boy's bathroom wall. As Clarence Reid, he was a TK Records' guy: the creator of the first rap song in 1965, "Rap Dirty," and the man who penned tunes for Sam and Dave, Gwen McCrae, KC & the Sunshine Band, and Betty Wright. Despite personal tragedies and professional pitfalls, Blowfly remains. He's the bright, burning, and brash soul of this whole South Florida area.

Scuzzy, fuzzy, psychedelic. You can use all of these words to describe the Band in Heaven's new four-track EP featuring A-side "Sleazy Dreams." The first 475 copies of this seven-inch were pressed in February by a garage, noise, psych, and punk underground label out of Chicago called HoZac Records. The band creates not so much celestial sounds but more like the cries of a fallen angel. The EP is dark and disorienting. It has an experimental heart with a dirty rock body. Play these songs when experiencing the freedom of riding your bike on a particularly sunny afternoon or while driving home late at night, getting ready to do very bad things. The Band in Heaven represents a larger movement of experimental psych sounds coming out of its hometown of West Palm Beach. Appearances at South by Southwest and Austin Psych Fest solidify it as an act on the brink of breaking, in the good way. Breaking outward and upward.

Just last year, the readers (that's you) chose the New as the best local band. The alt-pop outfit isn't done entirely, but a break from its label and a switched-up lineup leaves the New in the hands of lead singer and guitarist Lori Garrote, and in her hands alone. Her off-again, on-again bandmate is now officially no longer part of the pack. Currently, she's playing with breakout garage act Beach Day. Members Giz Forte and Jordan Calloway have also moved on. But no fear! Girl rock isn't dead. Garotte is working with the former manager of the Mavericks and Marilyn Manson, John Tovar. Garotte says of the fresh sound, "With the addition of keyboards and adding two more background vocals, it certainly started sounding more feminine and more harmonic." Who knows? Maybe the new the New will put the girl back in grrrl.

OK. Get stoned, sit back, press play, and try to figure out what videogames were sampled in each of the 12 tracks of the Benchwarmers Clique's The Adventures in 8bit: Cartridge 1. For so many — mostly stoners and boys, but in many ways for all of us — the first electronic music we listened to was the soundtrack to our videogames. Local hip-hoppers Joka Wild and Travisty the Lazy MC took these familiar sounds and, with the help of British producer Jewbei, created a sweet locus for nostalgia. This shit will access all those Nintendo dreams and Sega nightmares of your youth. Your old friends Super Mario and Zelda will return but with sick rhyming blanketing them. Besides the Benchwarmers Clique, guest MCs on the album include Melodik, Lex One, Llamabeats, Kyllabus, and Reks. Hopefully, a Cartridge Two hits the web before we crack the code on this Adventure in 8bit.

Best Music Festival to Die in the Past 12 Months


Like Jesus Christ himself, this festival has died, resurrected, and, unlike JC, died again. In 2003, the inaugural fest made us feel warm and fuzzy. In 2006, the event made us swoon with Florida musical lovin'. Just two years later, we were still gaga for Langerado, but in 2009, it died in the planning stages. In 2011, it looked like it was back, and we were feeling good about it. Our credit cards were out, and we were ready to buy our tickets and head up to Markham Park for some Death Cab, Ween, and Thievery Corp. But alas, before it began, it died again. We bid thee a solemn farewell, Langerado. Perhaps next year, we'll be able to welcome you back? But maybe that'd be a bit much. You can't break our hearts a third time. That would just be cruel.

For two consecutive days in April, Bryant Park in Lake Worth was as bright as could be with smiles, sunshine, and irie vibes. Ya mon! The inaugural Lake Worth Reggae Fest went off splendidly, bringing together a diverse crowd, stellar bands, and quality vendors for a weekend full of Jah-loving fun. Rastas coursed the scene as boomers relaxed in beach chairs sipping cold beer and little tykes blew bubbles, barefoot in the lawn. The seawall overlooking the Intracoastal was used as a pristine sideline bench, where festgoers took breaks from the action as well as lovely photos. Meanwhile, the stage was rocked by a strong lineup of reggae bands, ranging from local and regional up-and-comers like Deerfield's Resolvers and Gainesville's 3rd Stone to some of the most venerable elders in the reggae world, like Aston "Family Man" Barrett, who played bass for Bob Marley for many years and now anchors the current iteration of the Wailers. With so much sunshine and enthusiasm for reggae in South Florida, this was a festival waiting to happen, and it did not disappoint.

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