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.
Anyone who was old enough to experience the first round of rave culture and still young enough to give a damn, do you remember PLUR? You know: Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect? That was the motto behind raves when they first started, before the atrocious morph into the disgusting, cooler-than-thou mentality that now occupies clubs from South Beach to Los Angeles. When raves moved to a professional atmosphere, it was only a matter of time before the moneyed few distorted everything. Thanks, guys. But a few places still hang on to the good-vibe mode of thought, and Lumonics is one of them. Each weekend, for about $12 to $15, a spectacular light-and-sound show is followed by a dance party with some of the finest DJs around today. It's sort of like being at Level, only without all the jerks.
Anyone who was old enough to experience the first round of rave culture and still young enough to give a damn, do you remember PLUR? You know: Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect? That was the motto behind raves when they first started, before the atrocious morph into the disgusting, cooler-than-thou mentality that now occupies clubs from South Beach to Los Angeles. When raves moved to a professional atmosphere, it was only a matter of time before the moneyed few distorted everything. Thanks, guys. But a few places still hang on to the good-vibe mode of thought, and Lumonics is one of them. Each weekend, for about $12 to $15, a spectacular light-and-sound show is followed by a dance party with some of the finest DJs around today. It's sort of like being at Level, only without all the jerks.
Fort Lauderdale has always been one of those towns where talented bands grow too big for their britches and then bolt for the good life elsewhere. But the Livid Kittens have stuck around for nearly ten years to help make a good life right here. And it's a colorful one too: Paige Harvey is certainly the most eye-catching frontwoman around. Maybe she doesn't have the range of operatic divas, but she's in touch with her inner Gary Numan. The Livid Kittens' latest, More Flames to Fall in Love With, finds the band's sound migrating from speedskating goth-core to shimmering, metallic tunes washed in a radioactive acid bath. Harvey's voice is soft and menacing at the same time (check out the delicate "House on Fire" and gripping, streamlined takes on the Beatles' "She Said She Said" and the Prom Sluts' "Spastic.") And Harvey's sexy shenanigans are theatrical enough to provide the band its own in-the-flesh skin flick -- which just makes these Kittens harder to tame.
Fort Lauderdale has always been one of those towns where talented bands grow too big for their britches and then bolt for the good life elsewhere. But the Livid Kittens have stuck around for nearly ten years to help make a good life right here. And it's a colorful one too: Paige Harvey is certainly the most eye-catching frontwoman around. Maybe she doesn't have the range of operatic divas, but she's in touch with her inner Gary Numan. The Livid Kittens' latest, More Flames to Fall in Love With, finds the band's sound migrating from speedskating goth-core to shimmering, metallic tunes washed in a radioactive acid bath. Harvey's voice is soft and menacing at the same time (check out the delicate "House on Fire" and gripping, streamlined takes on the Beatles' "She Said She Said" and the Prom Sluts' "Spastic.") And Harvey's sexy shenanigans are theatrical enough to provide the band its own in-the-flesh skin flick -- which just makes these Kittens harder to tame.
Cream is what you call an equal-opportunity VIP room. You can sport Puma sneakers and '70s glam sunglasses and throw in some spending cash -- and it's all good. Head to the back of the Liquid Room, beyond the velvet rope, through the etched glass and cherry wood doors and you might feel like you've walked into a Target commercial with all the mod-style beautiful people. The sleek room, which opened in December, is lined with Cream-color vinyl sofas. In the center is a bar that's larger than most VIP rooms and as big as one of the bars in the Liquid Room. Cream gets going around midnight, and Saturdays are its busiest days. DJs play a mixture of feel-good house with a dose of pop tunes by performers such as George Michael and Vanilla Ice. This new Clematis hot spot is the only place in West Palm Beach where you can hear female DJs Snezana and Hana, of Nikki Beach Club in Miami, play Miami-style house in West Palm Beach. This happens on Fridays.

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