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Music News


Although it's truly a tiny space, Fort Lauderdale's Shed Records is doing a big service, providing a mellow, easygoing, and extremely hip scene in a community weighed down by festering strip malls and pervasive corporate record-store tyranny.

Now, every Wednesday evening, owner Duncan Cameron is opening the store as a sort of open stage format, allowing MCs, poets, artists, and musicians free rein to test the performance waters. Cameron, an avowed hip-hop fanatic, promises he's not going to allow only rappers to hog the mic -- which, as fate would have it, is positioned between two turntables. Participate in the Wednesday-night fun at Shed (901 Progresso Rd., Fort Lauderdale) from 7 to 11 p.m.

The Stop the Violence Benefit is the big Labor Day Weekend concert of note, with more than 50 bands gathering together on two stages to provide steady, nonstop entertainment. Headliners include Jimmie's Chicken Shack, Marvelous 3, the Kottonmouth Kings, and Bif Naked, plus recent Florida major-label signees Darwin's Waiting Room and Nonpoint. Other performers include Fort Lauderdale's own Hep Cat Boo Daddies, West Palm's Moldy Figs, Pompano Beach's Strych-Nine, and Jupiter's Boxelder.

The event's sponsor, Stop the Violence/Face the Music, is introducing a new campaign called "Get Unloaded," a new step in gun-control legislation. Join the peacekeeping at Kelsey Lake Park in Lake Park (a pleasant West Palm Beach suburb) Saturday and Sunday.

On August 15 E.J. Swihura, cofounder and production coordinator/technical adviser of the South Florida­based Songwriters in the Round project, was found dead in the swimming pool of his Miami apartment complex, apparently the victim of an accident. Swihura helped start Songwriters in the Round in 1996.

"On the night of our events, E.J. handled all the staging, set up all the microphones, and helped with all the performers," SITR vice president Chrystal Hartigan told Bandwidth, adding that Swihura was "a very well liked person in the music community." Every Tuesday night at Cafe Nostalgia in Miami Beach, Songwriters in the Round provides opportunities for local aspiring songwriters to come out and perform one original song.

The Full Moon Project has been temporarily sidelined. A show at Resurrection Drums in Hallandale Beach on August 15 (a full-moon evening, natch) was canceled after ex­Weather Report drummer Bobby Thomas Jr. complained of chest pains the weekend prior. An angiogram was performed, and the 44-year-old Thomas is reportedly doing well. Another concert, scheduled for September 1, has also been canceled, and no future appearance will be lined up until Thomas is feeling better.

Thomas and teenage bassist Felix Pastorius make up the core of the Project. Pastorius, of course, is the son of legendary Weather Report bassist Jaco Pastorius, who was beaten to death outside Fort Lauderdale's Midnight Club 13 years ago this month.

On Saturday, August 19, the New Haven, Connecticut, hardcore band Hatebreed was en route to play a show at Spanky's in West Palm Beach, only to have its tour bus break down outside Tallahassee. The show limped on with national support acts No Innocent Victim and One King Down and Miami's own Where Fear and Weapons Meet. Hatebreed is getting that bus problem addressed and will make it to Spanky's after all on Thursday, September 7. Tickets for the earlier date will be honored.

SMP, performing September 1 at Respectable Street with Drone and local firecracker Betsy Ross, warrants a note mainly because it's the first national act to play at the once-busy venue in many a moon. The sample-happy, industrial-rap outfit from San Diego takes pains to point out on its Website, "Despite what you heard, SMP stands for Sounds of Mass Production. It does NOT stand for Smoke More Pot, Sex Money Power, Stupid Mindless Pricks, or any other such dumbass nonsense." SMP (similar to the hard-edged KMFDM and Ministry) sports an industrial-strength circular sander on stage, meaning the band's claim that "sparks will fly" may not be an exaggeration.

Along the same lines but from even farther away are Electronic Body Music purveyors Apoptygma Berserk and VNV Nation. The former is actually Norwegian techno expert Stephan Groth, who specializes in that pounding, dense, claustrophobic, metallic clanging that typifies the relentless EBM style. VNV (Victory Not Vengeance) Nation operates in very similar terrain, earning comparisons to Nitzer Ebb and Decoded Feedback. Both outfits begin their U.S. tour in Fort Lauderdale on September 7 at the Saint, 1000 W. State Rd. 84.

During the Las Olas Art Fair on Saturday and Sunday, you can catch a cross-cultural extravaganza in the form of Stephan Mikés, who plies his trade with an Indian sitar, Japanese shakuhachi flute, and Eastern European panpipe (shades of Zamfir, perhaps?) with his wife Bonnie Pedicord-Mikés. Since multi-instrumentalist Mr. Mikés was initially drawn to the sitar via George Harrison's work with the Beatles and later studied the instrument intensively with Indian master Roop Verma, he'll no doubt provide a nice East-meets-West vibe.

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Jeff Stratton
Contact: Jeff Stratton