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When it rains it pours. Last week it seemed as if worthy concerts became like puddles, unavoidable, clustering so close you couldn't help but step in a few. Some were muddy messes: Hank Williams III did the unthinkable on Thursday, October 24, at the Culture Room as he made it seem that his dad may have the family upper hand on integrity with his Monday Night Football theme. On Saturday, October 27, harmonics converged South Florida style. But apparently local goth-punque fans don't exactly consider the Culture Room ground zero for late-October fun. Veteran British punks the Damned (who reportedly put on a hell of a fun show, including Captain Sensible clad in his best pink tutu, passing out Milky Way bars by show's end) could attract only 130 souls -- pretty sad for the Saturday before Halloween, especially considering that the show provided a fine dress-up opportunity for the black-clad contingent.

That same evening at Miami Beach's new high-tech übervenue Billboard Live, Colombian superstars Aterciopelados more than made up for a canceled gig last month. Each member carried a fuzzy white peace sign onstage before busting out a set of rock en español as memorable as anything Bandwidth has yet encountered. Singer Andrea Echeverri was an invincible, shamanistic force while showing off tattoos that looked older than her. Whenever the music veered perilously close to hippie territory, it reined itself back into a trampling polyrhythmic Latin assault vehicle. Riveting, I say.

Quite different from the rivets I felt driven into my skull just a few hours later at the Misfits Tribute over at Churchill's Hideaway. Plutonium Pie's guitarist J. Christ, armed with his massive Ampeg rig, was seconds away from ruining every unprotected eardrum in the place. Yet when the Mutant Angels (ex-members of Disconnect and Future Ex) adorned the stage with bondage/fetish dolls and black-light minibulbs and began rocking, the cataclysmic noise only increased. Guitarist Juan Montoya, who borrowed Christ's amp for his set with the Angels, later said the setup just about set him aflame.

"I was blown away," he related. "Really. Usually, my amp sits on the floor and I feel the heat on my legs, and that's what gets me going, the sound waves. This time, I felt them all over my whole body."

Those little hairs in my inner ears (I guess they call 'em cilia) had all been knocked down like that forest in Siberia.

Finally the old ear holes got the rest they needed Monday night at the Lucinda Williams show at the Carefree Theatre as we sat through one of the weirdest opening experiences in recent memory. Show-opening singer/guitarist Matthew Ryan plied soft, simple, somber acoustic tales woven with threads of exquisitely dark humor -- which was lost on an antsy and impassive Carefree crowd. "I can feel from you guys how depressing you think this stuff is," Ryan quipped. Most patrons kept relatively still during Ryan's low-key set, but the crowd's collective patience wore thin, and when he announced his last song, a few actually clapped. But that turned into a collectively swallowed groan when Ryan was informed from the side of the stage that Williams and her band were delayed and he'd have to play a little longer. To his dismay -- and the crowd's -- the painfully self-effacing Ryan began and abandoned a Leonard Cohen song, riffed on "Smoke on the Water" and "Louie Louie," and shuffled through a downbeat take on the Clash's "Somebody Got Murdered." Finally, it was over, except for nastyisms from the impolite crowd.

Williams could have used a long weekend at Emily Post boot camp as well. I'm not going to knock Lucinda's voice (it was fuckin' sweet, dude) or her songwriting (mmmmmm!) or her awesome band (they kick ass) or her excellent records (I'd for sure lose my rock critic's license if'n I did), but she sure was sportin' major 'tude when she waited a good 45 minutes into her set to even acknowledge that she was performing in front of an audience. Eventually, she loosened up, but from what I witnessed, Williams' rep as a bitchy, back-to-the-crowd diva is well-earned.

Buried underneath everything else in our musical milieu is reggae music, which has been in surprisingly short supply. Perplexingly so, considering our proximity to the loudest island in the world. Tanto Garrick of Tafari Productions can't get over it either. "There was more reggae in New Mexico!" admits the waggish Rastaman, who spent the early '90s in Santa Fe hosting a reggae radio show. Now with his wife, Judith Charlton, he's set up a Sunday-night session at Fort Lauderdale's Baja Beach Club, where the six-piece dynamo Millennium Band will undertake weekly house-band duties. With an impeccably tight list of Marley and Gregory Isaacs covers and some bracing originals, the band provides everything but sand and sea breezes. Last Sunday, November 4, Tafari brought singer/guitarist Annette Brissett up from the isle, and Baja Beach Club hosts its first big reggae bash, a visit from Black Uhuru with Sly and Robbie, on November 18.

Less than two months after its glamorous opening, Hallandale Beach's new club the Set has bitten the biscuit. Not surprising, since the venue never hosted a national show of import, and an October 23 date with NOFX was scrapped and then re-scheduled at Orbit. "Not much to say," comments promoter Jim Hayward, who was booking bands at the Set along with local fixture Grant Hall. "It was a business decision." The venue's current owner/managers haven't responded to Bandwidth's calls for commentary.

The room at 100 Ansin Blvd. will re-open under the old handle the Button South; we'll see if the venue's history and bankable reputation will awaken South Florida's heavy-metal memories.

Please join Bandwidth in wishing a speedy recovery to Cyrus Bolooki, drummer for Coral Springs superheroes New Found Glory. After filling Orbit to the rafters on October 22, the band continued up the East Coast and was finishing a set six days later at New York City's Roseland Ballroom when Bolooki took a nasty spill while leaving the stage and broke his arm. The show will go on, however, as Rx Bandits skinsman Chris Tsagakis will fill in.

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Jeff Stratton
Contact: Jeff Stratton

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