It has been a long, lonely lonely lonely time -- more than ten years gone -- but the memories are as sharp as an eye-stick. Back in the day, before beckoned the rocking chair and I embarked upon my "Whittling For Dummies" phase, little clubs like Q's in Davie, Lord Nelson's Pub (you kids now know it as Fat Cat's on Himmarshee), and Shakespeare's up at Five Points in Wilton Manors hosted live local acts all the time. Here's a handful of acts that used to get us out of the house back then. Wouldn't it be nice to see some of these guys again, in their natural habitat?
9: A Kite is a Victim: A revolving-door affair for Al Galvez and whoever he wasn't fighting with that week, AKIAV was the closest South Florida ever came to having its own Nick Drake -- if Nick had acted in Burger King commercials instead of ODing on anti-depressants. Still, any band that got to open for Low, Mark Kozelek, and Ida must have been doing something right.
8: Ed Matus' Struggle/Disconnect: No matter what name they operated under, this Dade/Broward hybrid perfected a melodic/narcotic guitar onslaught no one's been able to duplicate since. Guitarist Juan Montoya left to do Panda Bite and Torche, and singer Scott Nixon went the folkie route.
7. Whirlaway: A fantastic and much-missed outfit that trafficked in shoegazery pop of the highest order. Their records were cool, too: little lava-lampey masterpieces that always sounded better with the lights low. Drummer Steve Copeletti is now with Sweet Bronco. Fun fact: whirlaway.com takes you to a garbage disposal manufacturer!
6. The Avenging Lawnmowers of Justice: Well, with a name like that, you could see the end of this road from miles away. As much an improv-comedy troupe as a pop band, it was painful to see this hilarious (and uncannily tight) group die hideous petit morts at mostly-empty clubs like The Metal Factory.
5. Billy Boloby: Our crazy, shiny diamond from West Palm Beach: Billy Boloby, we sure do miss you, son. Both a dangerous performance artist and pop genius, when Billy was around, life seemed better. We miss the cast of characters, too: Dr. Braincell, Deitrich Flophausen, Father McFeely...the general insanity of it all...but most of all we miss Billy.
4. Death Becomes You: Because it was essentially a comic strip come to life, DBY were that quintessential band that couldn't catch a break. Of course, they could be their own worst enemy: the gallons of fake blood, the cadaver paint, the horror-flick references gave the gruesome foursome an air of silliness, not danger. But they played their hearts out, and they weren't poseurs: they dressed and acted like that in real life.
3. See Venus: See Venus had the visual appeal (two smokin' hot chicas) and the tropically synth-rich songs (think Stereolab meets Gilberto Gil) but it teetered under the weight and petered out too soon. After one entirely decent record in 2004, they called it quits. Too bad; the group had real potential. Chris Moll went onward and upward and now leads The Postmarks.
2. The Necrophiles: It's not everyday one gets a chance to go see a goth-surf band, let alone one without a guitarist and one that's infamous for a wicked cover of the "Sesame Street" theme. Led by black-lipsticked, Yes-loving bassist Dr. John, the instrumental act sounded like the mutant spawn of Black Sabbath and Dick Dale.
1. Hashbrown: Back in the olden days, when these guys melted molten-hot funk all over the Poorhouse once a week, life was just a little cooler. But then again, so was the Poorhouse -- Jimmy freakin' Page used to come see them there! Though Hashbrown ditched us to make it big in NYC, all is forgiven.