The sky is heavy and gray. A soft rain falls. You're sitting on a dock built by hand in the 1970s from bits and pieces of other people's Hollywood Beach docks, at a table fashioned from a big hunk of flotsam that washed up here too. Russell Kohuth's littoral creation would never get past a 21st-century building inspector. The catch of the day is mahi-mahi; take it deep-fat fried and crunchy. Tom Waits growls from the jukebox. Bob Dylan is queued up next. A cabin cruiser slides by with Fax-It written on the stern in cursive script. It would be nice to own a yacht. But right now, watching the raindrops make interlocking ripple-circles over the surface of the bay is engrossing. You are untethered. Computer, Worldwide Web, e-mail, fax, Palm Pilot, cell phone have no hold. You have entered the Le Tub zone. A phalanx of toilets and bathtubs transformed into planters separates that world from this slice of Floridian weirdness. It's comforting somehow. With toilets as a decorating motif, Le Tub's not a fitting setting for sleek fancy techno-cats. Breathe. Note the menu: In the evening, shoes required.
The sky is heavy and gray. A soft rain falls. You're sitting on a dock built by hand in the 1970s from bits and pieces of other people's Hollywood Beach docks, at a table fashioned from a big hunk of flotsam that washed up here too. Russell Kohuth's littoral creation would never get past a 21st-century building inspector. The catch of the day is mahi-mahi; take it deep-fat fried and crunchy. Tom Waits growls from the jukebox. Bob Dylan is queued up next. A cabin cruiser slides by with Fax-It written on the stern in cursive script. It would be nice to own a yacht. But right now, watching the raindrops make interlocking ripple-circles over the surface of the bay is engrossing. You are untethered. Computer, Worldwide Web, e-mail, fax, Palm Pilot, cell phone have no hold. You have entered the Le Tub zone. A phalanx of toilets and bathtubs transformed into planters separates that world from this slice of Floridian weirdness. It's comforting somehow. With toilets as a decorating motif, Le Tub's not a fitting setting for sleek fancy techno-cats. Breathe. Note the menu: In the evening, shoes required.
As anachronisms go, Fort Lauderdale's headbanging club the Metal Factory was blissfully unaware of its dinosaur status. The chrome- and mirror-filled establishment and its throwback wait staff eventually got tired of the guffaws and smirks and outright insults that regularly met the metallic moniker, opting to drop the Metal and simply answer to the Factory. You'll never confuse the venue (full of photos of Fred Durst, Poison, and Gene Simmons) with Andy Warhol's artsy New York namesake, but collective IQs seemed to rise in response to the change. Moral: You can take the mettle out of the Factory, but you can't take the Factory out of the metal. Know why? It's dipped in it, dude!
As anachronisms go, Fort Lauderdale's headbanging club the Metal Factory was blissfully unaware of its dinosaur status. The chrome- and mirror-filled establishment and its throwback wait staff eventually got tired of the guffaws and smirks and outright insults that regularly met the metallic moniker, opting to drop the Metal and simply answer to the Factory. You'll never confuse the venue (full of photos of Fred Durst, Poison, and Gene Simmons) with Andy Warhol's artsy New York namesake, but collective IQs seemed to rise in response to the change. Moral: You can take the mettle out of the Factory, but you can't take the Factory out of the metal. Know why? It's dipped in it, dude!
The excitement of watching a live band tear it up in someone's cozy living room is usually isolated to hazy, half-remembered high-school nostalgia. But the owners of Dada, a renovated quasi-Victorian home that serves as a restaurant/bar/performance space, have been taking their ginkgo biloba and remember that intimacy with perfect clarity. It's not a bad place for a preshow nosh session, either: the baked brie is more addictive than crack. This well-appointed portal to bohemia in downtown Delray Beach is a much-needed retreat from the stifling homogeneity of strip-mall concert halls that South Floridians have come to expect. If you're looking for small, low-key shows that keep it among friends but still pack the room, it can't be bettered. Dada's comfy confines have provided an unassuming, down-home setting for indigenous favorites like A Kite Is a Victim, Remember the Ocean, and Pank Shovel.
Dada
Candace West
The excitement of watching a live band tear it up in someone's cozy living room is usually isolated to hazy, half-remembered high-school nostalgia. But the owners of Dada, a renovated quasi-Victorian home that serves as a restaurant/bar/performance space, have been taking their ginkgo biloba and remember that intimacy with perfect clarity. It's not a bad place for a preshow nosh session, either: the baked brie is more addictive than crack. This well-appointed portal to bohemia in downtown Delray Beach is a much-needed retreat from the stifling homogeneity of strip-mall concert halls that South Floridians have come to expect. If you're looking for small, low-key shows that keep it among friends but still pack the room, it can't be bettered. Dada's comfy confines have provided an unassuming, down-home setting for indigenous favorites like A Kite Is a Victim, Remember the Ocean, and Pank Shovel.
Considering that many South Floridians wisely take advantage of the environmental niceties our climate offers -- at swimming pools and in convertibles, for instance -- you'd think outdoor music venues would be on durn near every street corner. They aren't. But there are a few choices. For an experience that can be duplicated at any massive, corporate-monikered shed in the country, you can make the journey to MARS in far west West Palm Beach. Or you can choose to investigate downtown Pompano's wonderfully intimate and unpretentious outdoor theater, which recently hosted performances by Cake, Tenacious D., the Cult, and String Cheese Incident. The venue could very well be expanded and start booking acts on a more regular basis, but then someone would have to move the bedrooms of this bedroom community -- which are so close that shows here must begin and end quite early. You know, come to think of it, this place is perfect just the way it is.
Pompano Beach Amphitheater
Considering that many South Floridians wisely take advantage of the environmental niceties our climate offers -- at swimming pools and in convertibles, for instance -- you'd think outdoor music venues would be on durn near every street corner. They aren't. But there are a few choices. For an experience that can be duplicated at any massive, corporate-monikered shed in the country, you can make the journey to MARS in far west West Palm Beach. Or you can choose to investigate downtown Pompano's wonderfully intimate and unpretentious outdoor theater, which recently hosted performances by Cake, Tenacious D., the Cult, and String Cheese Incident. The venue could very well be expanded and start booking acts on a more regular basis, but then someone would have to move the bedrooms of this bedroom community -- which are so close that shows here must begin and end quite early. You know, come to think of it, this place is perfect just the way it is.
Culture Room
Photo by Monica McGivern
Sometimes, it's hard to profess love for the Culture Room because, well, it's a Fort Lauderdale institution, which usually means a place is tacky. But that's exactly why we love the Room, a '70s throwback that nonetheless hosts a never-ending procession of local and national acts -- more than any other live music venue in the area, come to think of it. The retro point of view manifests itself with a wide assortment of bands from the hard-rock side of the spectrum, but what makes the Culture Room this year's clear winner is its commitment to diversity: Colorado-based hippies the Yonder Mountain String Band paid a recent visit, as did worldly dance sensation the Tom Tom Club, New Wave mascara victims Gene Loves Jezebel, metal refugees Blue Oyster Cult, nearly forgotten rockers Richie Havens and Savoy Brown, local arena-rock hopefuls Big Sky, punk legends the Damned and the Misfits, prodigal son Hank Williams III, one-hit-wonders Modern English, and many, many more -- with nary a cover band in sight. Maybe it's not such a Fort Lauderdale institution, thank goodness.
Sometimes, it's hard to profess love for the Culture Room because, well, it's a Fort Lauderdale institution, which usually means a place is tacky. But that's exactly why we love the Room, a '70s throwback that nonetheless hosts a never-ending procession of local and national acts -- more than any other live music venue in the area, come to think of it. The retro point of view manifests itself with a wide assortment of bands from the hard-rock side of the spectrum, but what makes the Culture Room this year's clear winner is its commitment to diversity: Colorado-based hippies the Yonder Mountain String Band paid a recent visit, as did worldly dance sensation the Tom Tom Club, New Wave mascara victims Gene Loves Jezebel, metal refugees Blue Oyster Cult, nearly forgotten rockers Richie Havens and Savoy Brown, local arena-rock hopefuls Big Sky, punk legends the Damned and the Misfits, prodigal son Hank Williams III, one-hit-wonders Modern English, and many, many more -- with nary a cover band in sight. Maybe it's not such a Fort Lauderdale institution, thank goodness.

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