The breakbeat is a strange animal that must be approached with caution. With roots in old-school breakdance music and hip-hop, breakbeats have always enjoyed a certain counterculture notoriety. But things have changed recently. Today, the breakbeat sound has mutated into a veritable animal kingdom of two-step, nu-skool, electro, funky breaks, and big beat. To further confuse you, different regions have their own indigenous breakbeat species. Florida breaks, for example, echo the influence of 2 Live Crew and the booty bass phenomenon.
Taming this animal is technically and aesthetically challenging, but the California native known as Simply Jeff (Jeff Adachi) makes it seem perfectly natural. The veteran DJ has been part of the breakbeat scene since Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo was in theaters, and his grasp of the genre is evident on mix CDs like the classic Funky Instrumentalist, as well as original tracks like "21st Century Beats."
Although his mastery of the beast is certainly impressive, the Simply Jeff experience cannot be replicated on any home or car stereo system. Fortunately, those seeking bona fide breakbeat bliss this month won't have to brave the unknown terrain of a shady after-hours club -- Simply Jeff is coming to West Palm Beach. Put on your dancing shoes, and proceed with caution. -- John Landers
Simply Jeff, the Phonoheadz, Johnny Dangerously, Mikey D, Cheezy, Riot Gear, and K.R.U. perform at 10 p.m. Wednesday, June 23, at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Show costs $10. Call 561-832-9999.
The Holy Terrors
Billed as their "last show in a while," it looks as if local heroes the Holy Terrors are taking a break, and a well-deserved one at that. But don't think they've lost their touch. Their latest album, This Is What It Sounds Like When You're Dead, is part new stuff and part old stuff, spanning the Terrors' decade-plus, post-punk assault on Florida. A recent show at the Billabong had the Terrors tearing through the set with so much bombast and fury, it makes that Day After Tomorrow movie look like dinner at Red Lobster. My bangs were actually blown off my forehead by an apocalyptic gale force wind that Dennis Quaid could never stop. Come support the guys, have a beer, and pay tribute to a piece of South Florida punk history. -- Audra Schroeder
The Holy Terrors, Humbert, and Whirlaway play at 10 p.m. Friday, June 18, at the Poor House, 110 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-522-5145.
If superstar DJs were monster trucks, DJ Tiësto would be Bigfoot, the mother of all crushers. Instead of squashing Datsuns, though, Tiesto (Tijs Verwest) destroys dance floors with his six-hour trance sets. During the late '90s, his remixes of everything from Sarah McLachlan and Dave Matthews to Samuel Barber's famed Adagio for Strings owned European airwaves. Soon, minions flocked to him, packing stadiums by the tens of thousands -- just like Bigfoot. These days, Tiësto is among the most active of the international heavies. He recently returned from groundbreaking tours in China and Vietnam and pioneered the first-ever trance concert broadcast on mobile phones. He'll probably sound better in person, though. -- Nate Cavalieri
DJ Tiesto revs up the decks on Friday, June 18, at Club Space, 142 NE 11th St., Miami. Call 305-350-1956, or visit www.clubspace.com.
Big & Rich
The most telling song on Horse of a Different Color, the debut album by neo-country duo Big & Rich, is not the cowboys-and-injuns-as-relationship-metaphor rocker "Wild West Show." Nor is it the opener, "Rollin' (The Ballad of Big & Rich)," with its funk-rock riffs and its guest rap by Cowboy Troy in both English and Spanish. Nor is it "Real World," a cornpone loser spiel that turns into an insane speedcore two-step with lyrics about spaceships and Stevie Wonder. It's not even "Saved," a ballad about kicking the devil in the teeth, with stirring backing testimony by B&R ally Gretchen Wilson.
Naw, if you're looking for the Big & Rich worldview on the record, it's gotta be the one where the guys complain about how hard it is to be ten feet tall in a "Six Foot Town." The solo careers of Big Kenny (a former carpenter) and John Rich (who did his time in Lonestar and then got the hell out) weren't going anywhere as long as they were trying to fit "inside a tiny little box" (Nashville). So they decided to be who they really are: two country boys who love rock, rap, metal, and soul -- all the kinds of music that sound good when you crank it up in your beater truck. And if their blowout performance of "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" on the Country Music Awards last month is any indication, you can expect a live show full of two-part harmonies (they never sing lead and backup; they're always together), pyrotechnics, and a rainbow coalition of hoochie-clad cowgirls. -- Matt Cibula
Catch Big & Rich with Tim McGraw on Saturday, June 19, at Sound Advice Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach. Call 561-795-8883.