The heavens open up to shower a celebration on Green Day fans

Were you there on Sunday? See, the fun part about events is that no one can live the life that can only be filled by your shoes. No one can see all the random, beautiful, ugly that you see or do. That is just for you. But. When it comes to a show. That is a moment we can all share.

And something about getting soaked in the rain, refusing shelter, adds to the glory that is a rock-and-roll moment.

Last night, was like a link conjoining what is the beginning of my musical experience timeline. I was a newborn on the lawn of what used to be call the Coral Sky Amphitheater in West Palm Beach,  FL. I was thirteen years old, wearing a Gap tank top and Old Navy bottoms. I had no cell phone. I’m not even sure I had money. I hitched a ride with four dudes from my Broadcast magnet class, all skater boys, with one dad driving the mini-van. I didn’t tell my parents I was going. I was “sleeping over at a friend’s,” which I would.

That night changed me. I had no idea who Green Day even was. The following weeks, months, and years, I would listen to their album, “International Superhits,” memorizing all the lyrics. No longer a newborn, but a full-fledge adult, I was FINALLY belting out the lyrics with them live. Why has it been 19 years since I’ve seen them? I couldn’t tell you. Probably the house-head-dom of Miami drowned out the voices of the skater boys, and I swapped bands for DJs. But you know what I realized after last night? You can’t take the Rock out of the Rock girl. 

I was dancing ska – moves I have NEVER before in my life pulled out. It all flowed out organically, musically. I was bopping up and down the aisle and no stadium seating could stop me. I’m not sure what my date thought, but that’s the joy of a good date – you just enjoy the experience while being yourself, and you feel accepted as-is. No acts. No shaming. No expectations except mutual respect and honesty. It was a great date, if you can even call it that. I feel like I just climbed Mt. Everest.

I took my shirt off to put on a tour shirt that he bought me. I soaked that one, too. It was so hot. Sweat was running down my legs from my forest green corduroy mini-skirt to my black converse chucks. I asked him, “Do you mind if I take my shirt off?” And he shakes his head no, offering the explanation, “It’s hot out here!” So I join him shirtless in my black sparkly bra. And i’m rocking and rolling just like the women I first witnessed 19 years ago – when bands like Green Day and Blink 182 could corral women in the crowd to take off their shirts. (Something that would not fly in today’s world.) So I did it voluntarily. And there we were, a shirtless couple making a dash to the front stadium seats to get cooled off by the oncoming rain.

It just so happens that as the rain started, Green Day performed “Wake Me up When September Ends.” A magical moment suspended in time. The lyrics go like this:

“Here comes the rain again

Falling from the stars

Drenched in my pain again

Becoming who we are

As my memory rests

But never forgets what I lost

Wake me up when September ends

Summer has come and passed

The innocent can never last

Wake me up when September ends”

And we got those stanzas twice. It was utterly the coolest rock show I have ever been to in my life. Not that I have been to a ton, but this has to be the definition of what legendary rock shows are made of.

And there I was, making out in the rain with my hot date, us both shirtless, to my favorite band. I’m not sure to what song. But I remember the bliss. We have only kissed up until this point, so the air of innocence and purity and love and joy and rage too, because we’re at a show! All that came up, and again wove right into the fabric of what this show meant for me.

I walked out of that stadium wringing the water from my two French braid pigtails, still in bra, with nothing dry to wear, walking hand-in-hand with my date through a massive exodus. Smiling to the heavens. Luckily the rain had stopped at this point.

It was surprising Green Day didn’t do the tease of coming off and then on again, as is so customary with live music shows. They chose to be different, a one and done type of deal. I suppose there was no way to top the performance as it stood. Not from my angle. As a fine artist knows when his workmanship is complete, so did they.

I got home, saw my thick black eyeliner had smudged it’s way to my cheeks. The markings of a night in reckless abandon, in praise to rock idols. We came and they conquered. It’s now Tuesday and my head and heart are still on cloud 9. Sufficiently bruised up and still tired as the emotions have been riding high since that night, I write to pay homage to that evening. A metamorphosis of sorts took place for me. So much has happened in my life since I was 13 years old. But I’m still that girl. And as Life would have it, I’ve seen the immensity of both beauty and pain. And I had no idea what that would entail. But I made it. I’m here. And so are they. And that’s the beauty of a musical journey in life. We get cut up, bruised up, soaked, thirsty, hot. But then, there’s this bliss. This simple transcendence of harmony. As if everything is right in the world.

That’s what occurred Sunday night. We got that taste of transcendence as if God alone could only make that moment happen for us.

I’m a firm believer that there is a Guiding Hand. And I’m so happy He watched over us that night. That’s one for the books, if there ever was.

And I haven’t even mentioned Weezer or Fall Out Boy who opened for them, who deserve praise in their own right. But this post is about my journey with Green Day. And how I get to share music with you all today with them as the finite kicking-off point.

Thanks for joining me on this ride.

The Dream Life

Here I am. Drinking casaamigos. In the pool at the 1 hotel. Overlooking the sand dunes and ocean. And I’m standing in the same place where I would introduce myself to the notorious DJ Luciano.

Cher. Madonna. Luciano. One-name names are iconic. And this was an iconic setup.

Having posted up at the 1 starting Saturday, I made the move to Treehouse instead of the downtown venture to Space. Why? Because Treehouse is two blocks from the hotel. And Eli & Fur was playing.

Eliza Nobel & Jennifer Skillman (Eli & Fur) 🤣 get it?! Female rockstars.

It was only Eliza playing last night but she was wicked good. I have a whole auto-shazam set to share with you.

So fun news is…Luciano just secured a residence in Miami. So it looks like for the foreseeable future, we will see much more of him.

And the cool thing is…Luciano is a funny guy. One of those people that likes to crack jokes and have a good time. How refreshing. I have met many DJs that are surprisingly introverted. Not this guy. He’s a charmer and a laugher. 

I was proposing a possible project to Luciano. And once he told me we could connect on WhatsApp I perhaps over-gushed with enthusiasm. And his friend ushered us all out of the pool.

When opportunity strikes like that, a girl can only keep her composure for so long. But it seems like a career as a publicist is in the making. I’m looking forward to curating the best channel of events, parties, and people that Miami has to offer.

Cancel culture, cancel music

Cancel culture is wrong. What is the point? Let’s look at the upside and downside.

Upside: There is no reminder of past grievances, so a person may feel more at ease and content in the present moment, being free of the negative connotation of said person or time in history.

Downside: There is no reminder of past grievances, so a person can repeat the grievance, perpetually, until we have a perpetual reminder.

Like Sarah Bond, a lecturer in history at UNC at Chapel Hill, says in a 2011 New York Times article, “Erasing the crimes of the past doesn’t help us avoid them in the future.”

In fact, one may argue that erasing crimes of the past only encourages them to occur in the future. So how naïve and selfish is the cancel culture movement? Are you naïve enough to believe that removing someone’s name or statue will rectify wrongs? Are you selfish enough to realize that you are sacrificing the health of future generations by removing reminders of dark times just so that you feel better?

There is a beautiful podcast, which I can’t remember now, but the author talked about going into dark places and sitting with them. He showed his teenage daughter Auschwitz. He explained that although it was difficult for her, later she would remark as an older person that she was grateful for the experience. It fostered emotional depth in her and added to her emotional maturity. It allowed for transparency on the spectrum of human emotions and the capabilities of others to do wrong. Should we cancel Auschwitz because something bad happened? Should we cancel Adam and Eve because they were wrong? We need dark places, dark reminders, just as we do the light.

And if we start canceling history, which we already have in the University of Miami cancelling culture left to right on its campus, where does it end? What is to stop the momentum of erasing everything that feels uncomfortable? This is highly terrifying, and should be for any who cares about the future generations. What oppression will arise because adults foolishly behaved like children in our day and time? I do not want my place in history with millennials being associated with a generation who could not and would not think for themselves along with the future implications of their actions.

For those that do not know, UM is removing George Merrick’s name from campus. You know Merrick Park? Yes, same guy. He founded the University, and people have effectively ruled to remove his presence. Criminy.

At least the City of Coral Gables has some sense. Their statement:

“Coral Gables founder George Merrick was an urban planning visionary who understood the importance an institution of higher learning would play in developing a world-class community. To make this a reality he donated 160 acres of land and pledged $4 million to build a great university. While like most people he was not perfect, his memory and presence is still very important in and to Coral Gables.”

It is important to understand how this came to pass. Evan Kissner, a 2006 UM graduate, started the petition with the University to remove him. A guy who lives in California effectively made changes in Miami! And that’s fine to have a voice, but why 5,000+ people would follow someone who’s not even a current member of our community or society is beyond me. This isn’t his only petition either, he’s also petitioning to cancel A-Rod from being associated with the University of Miami.

How pompous is this guy to want to make his alma mater free from iniquities? How selfish is he to want to change a community, he’s not even a part of anymore. This is not about catering to a new-world. This is about increasing fear in action. The act of cancelling establishes fear amongst us all. What is acceptable? Will I get cancelled? As Ms. Bond writes, “Romans saw [removal from history] as a punishment worse than execution: the fate of being forgotten.”

What is more terrifying than death? Being forgotten. How do we ensure we’re not removed, and thus forgotten? Be ever so cautious. Don’t ruffle features. Just fit in. You may not be remembered, but at least you won’t be removed.

And I’m not biased here with the University of Miami. I feel the same way about my own alma mater, the University of Florida, removing a chant song from games.

At some point, ambivalence has to come to an end. There is an enemy. And that enemy is silence and groupthink. And the people that lead such movements, like Evan Kissner, who is nearly 3,000 miles away from us, who likely passed the petition by corralling a cohort of emotional, zygotic Generational Z students currently enrolled at UM, are the people we must stand up against. Who will lead Gen Z properly?

Thankfully, there are people like me who understand the implications of such actions. And not all Gen Z thinks along Mr. Kissner’s lines. Amanda Rose, a University of Miami law student and member of the Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables, created a petition to reverse the recent actions by the University of Miami.

So who do you agree with? How will you act? To do nothing is to admit defeat to the oppressor. And in the end, we will be forced to choose a side. Think about your favorite song being cancelled. Are we going to cancel Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” because it’s symbolic for lynching? No? Why, because she’s black? Who makes up these rules?

And this is what I’m talking about.

If you agree with me, you will sign Ms. Rose’s petition and stop the cancel culture momentum in any way we can.

Remember to use logic versus emotion in these circumstances. We must use our brains for the future that is to come.

The Exodus from Pandemic on the First Day of Summer

It was my first time walking into Club Space since pandemic obliterated our very spoiled social lives. I was fresh, having had a Red Bull in hand. It was time to reintroduce myself.

It felt strange and off-kilter, walking in at 8pm on a Sunday, with it not being music week or Art Basel. The greet was the same. ID check. List check. Bag check. Ticket check – and away I went.

There were not a lot of people, but enough to fill out the dance floor. Satori was to play that night. And as to be expected, the first thing I did was take a lap.

The decor is different. Sofas litter the venue, and the Gardens of Babylon hang from the ceiling. It didn’t take me long to notice that all the stages for dancing had been demolished and reconstructed. That long center stage where sexy ladies have danced for a millennia it feels like has been split into two smaller dance platforms. 

This is not the same club I first entered. Nor will it be the same club as it is today, years from now. The most obvious sign of change is that men are allowed to dance on the stages with the women. This must have something to do with equal rights liberation he/me/she/whatever. My comment is that women should have a safe place to dance, and that has always been the stage, keeping the men who do not understand, “No,” away. If I have anything to say about it, separation should still be encouraged.

I’m a fan of etiquette. Bring on change, sure, but some things are in place for tactful reasons.I did enjoy dancing next to this one guy, C. He had a big fan that claps when you flick it closed. We were both wearing sunglasses at night. Perhaps a sign of like-meets-like. But that kind of interaction can be left on the floor. The stage at Space is meant for ladies. So step down guys and let women shine in the limelight. And ladies, if you want to dance with your male genus friends, step down and do it on the floor. You are being quite selfish to those needing safe-haven.

The thing about being there solo, is that I really get to tune in (or tune out) without the noise of other people drowning out my thoughts or my observations. I also get to (or am forced to) meet so many more people as a lone rider.

Let’s talk about the huge role fate has to play, daily in our lives, although we tend to acknowledge Acts of God more-so in our nights out. So I saw my ex-fiancé for the first time since parting ways. And fate would have it that I’m getting a welcomed lap dance from a strange, sexy Brazilian as he’s walking by.

No matter. The irony is that in the year I spent with long-time Space resident DJ Ivano Bellini, we never once went to Space as a couple. To recap, Ivano and I got reconnected through this blog when I interviewed him in 2019. Gnarly to think at 21 yr old I’m dancing my ass off at Space’s 10th anniversary to his set, only to be engaged to him on Space’s 20th. It was a simple match of DJ meets fan and vice versa. It was part-fantasy, at least for as much as my part is to play. And it worked until it didn’t. 

I pondered whether I should say hi. I knew I would have to be the one to approach, post lap-dance. So on my exit out, I said my hello, and it was a kind exchange. Short, sweet. Life keeps going. So we go from the year 2010 to the year 2021, and he’s now my ex-fiancé. And in some ways, I’m still that 18 year old girl discovering Space for the first time. And then I look around and see not only has this place changed, but so have I.

I’m not embarrassed of who I am. I don’t hide behind house music. I acknowledge my proclivity towards love and fantasy (throwback to Serge Devant’s Addicted to Love) and I see how beautiful it is to grow within an environment that has also evolved, while also sticking true to its guns, where ends meet. (I.e. house music self-abandoning, where we can just erase 2015-2017)

Point being, many of us self-abandon, but thankfully I’m one of the ones who has made it back, Alchemist-style. And I look at the 18 year old girls on the stage Sunday night, stammering that at one point in time, that was me, with my girlfriends – and my whole world ahead of me (and my miami music?)

Well, life sure gets weird. From then until now, it’s been a ball. A crawl. Slightly terrifying. Slightly knowing I’ve had some top experiences that most will not.

I’m just thankful to still be doing this, health intact, meeting some of the kindest strangers you may ever come across. The vibrational energy was high Sunday night. 

Kimonos did a very good job building their set with the crowd. The music hit like a heatwave. And the people that intrigued me the most, were mainly recent transplants. Fresh locals, bringing their energy from wherever. And multiple times when I asked, “Why is it you moved here?” The answer came back unanimous – the energy of Miami.

Am I part of this? I can’t help to think that I am. That my life, however big or small, has played a part in this momentum. You know the number of people “doing this” longer than I have? I get why. It’s a home away from home. A home where you are accepted, where you earn respect, and most importantly, where you are encouraged to love and express yourself. No judgments given. And if they are, they’re for fun and jokes. Who wouldn’t want to call a place like that home?

I noticed the newness of Miami that’s going to abound in this new era. I’m thankful for the transplants. I’m thankful for the youth. We needed some fresh blood. Looking forward to the next chapter that’s to be written.

Miami Vampires

It was a terrible weekend in the name of house music and energy.

With all the hype surrounding the arrival of Ricardo Villalobos spinning in Miami, publicity was setting up this weekend to be a grand follow-up to iii points weekend.

Unfortunately, it was an ugly turnout. Not on part of the DJs, as the talent delivered, but ugly on part of the patrons. I could not believe it was the same city that so joyously partook in this ethereal, suspended time-and-space event three weeks ago.

What happened?

Well, on account of Ricardo Villalobos at Space Park Friday – let’s just say I went in with rainbows and butterflies, finally able to see him after missing him at the infamous MMW 20th Anniversary Cocoon party at Trade in 2019. And it went from starry eyed wonder to a deer-in-headlight look that had me shook by night’s end.

You might say, “Well, it’s techno,” or, “The crowd is known for being weird for Ricardo.” No, no, no. It was perhaps the ‘scariest’ crowd I’ve seen since Space 00’s days. In fact, I’m pretty sure I recognized a couple faces from those days. Feelings/memories I’d rather forget. It’s as if the crowd came out of the deepest, darkest recesses of Miami for this event, to say, we’re not gone yet.

Not to say everyone met this criteria. I met a fellow music blogger, her friends, and a former music event partner. But the good energy people were few and far between. And as the sun set, it seemed we all were drawn out of the crowd to find shelter towards the back.

It got to a point where I was physically repelled by energy to enter the center again. Stepping on the grass was like crossing over the Berlin Wall. I could not ethically do that to my body/temple/Self. It was as if an energy wall had been built in a matter of hours. On the outskirts, I was confirming my intuition. I started first by asking the girl in the bathroom line and she laughed. She didn’t want to admit it immediately, but after some coaxing her for an opinion, she nodded her head, saying, “Yes, it’s weird crowd.” Then I met a couple sitting on the sofa under the tent, and they confirmed, that they too were having to stay back from the middle. Then, all the way in the back, I saw the group of eight guys on a bachelor party weekend, who I met upon first entering. They were also needing reprieve.

By 9p, two hours of Ricardo, I was texting my friend to possibly pick me up – as I kept close to the group of eight. The energy was that bad. And at least with them, I felt some safety. In my 16 years of clubbing and music events, this night qualifies as Top 3 bad energy events.

My friend who picked me up was asking what the crowd was like – and I described them as heavy, almost zombie-like, lifeless. And she said it sounded like they were all on Ketamine. I thought it was more so a Heroin effect. I know Molly is going for $200/gram nowadays, if you can even find it. Only the darkness will know what went on that evening.

I came home, cleansed that energy off me best I could, and woke up knowing I had Boris Brejcha that evening. I did not want to go. But like falling off a bicycle, sometimes you get back on and try again – especially if you’ve already purchased tickets.

Well, this time I went with friends, so I felt strength in numbers walking back into that place. And I could almost immediately tell, it was going to be a better night. The crowd did not have that crude heaviness about them.

However, although being a younger demographic for Boris – the energy again was not there. In fact, a group of people would come up to friends and me as we were dancing, and leave us feeling drained, so much so, we had to sit down. This is what is known as Energy Vampires, people. They cannot internally generate power to support a beaming aura, so they take the happiness and energetic fire of others. I didn’t even realize it until a friend pointed it out. Later on in the evening, we would shun them energetically, turn our backs, not engage in conversation – and we would be able to continue dancing in our own right – although sometimes not easy to fully enjoy if such usurpers are standing in aura, which extends 6 ft beyond you. (Is it a coincidence this is also pandemic measure of influence?)

And I will illustrate the difference in what is instead constructive interaction, the interaction we look for when we pay for a house music event. Later in the evening, when the vampires finally left us, I saw a young female, by herself – just trying to enjoy herself. Mind you a lot of the crowd was not invested in the music. Too much talking. Not enough dancing. Barely legal kids at VIP tables, too nervous to show authentic expression, or know anything about anything. I KNOW this about the crowd, because Boris threw down his newest track, “Spicy,” which is a fire track – and it seemed like I was the only one who lost their marbles while dancing. Wow. That was so good. And I can glow thinking on that. It’s just unfortunate that the majority of attendees did not plug in like that. Or at least the attendees that I was close enough to witness.

Back to my point, the girl. She had these big black sunglasses on, tinted so dark I couldn’t see her eyes. She wore all black. Height 5’2. Hair in pigtails. And when I thought hope might be lost for all, especially the younger generation, she and I had our moment. I stood about 2 feet from her, chucked a smile her way – maybe she would see it, maybe not if her eyes were closed – but she smiled softly back – and I knew she saw me. We acknowledged each other’s presence and joy. And I turned my head back towards the DJ, knowing with amplified energy now that one other person was appreciating this as much as I was. We were now sharing and building something bigger than either of us alone. This is etiquette. This is called being in the music.

It’s not for show. I didn’t go up to her to start talking incessantly. I didn’t throw my hands in her face to get her attention. How crude and vulgar it is for a being to mess with others’ auras that way. It’s not pleasant or cute – especially if you’re a 40-something-year-old doing it.

Energy exchange is an art. We bring the best of ourselves and share it with those worthy of it. That moment with that girl, is what house music is about. No words needed.

So the spirits soaring on Virginia Key and Damian Lazarus at Space Park three weeks ago, seemed to be pummeled over by a certain darkness, lameness, lifelessness this past weekend. A dull beating that made my energy contract, not expand.

There were some shimmers of light – as mentioned by some essential interactions I had – but generally speaking, the bad outweighed the good.

I was happy to sell my Ricardo ticket for Sunday at Space, and instead spent the day at the beach with my best friend. Sometimes, all you need is that quality time with people who build you up, not tear you down.

Word to the wise: Protect your energy. And if you choose to be on the dance floor, be highly selective, Miamians. We are living in different times.

iii points secret weekend energy has already escaped us.

iii points shines a light

It was a weekend of liberation, of soul nourishment. The beach breeze seemed to cast a charm on the key. And in its charm was clarity. We saw with naked eyes, artistic, humanly expression centered around music – something that’s been void in Miami the past 15 months.

The reckless abandon, the kindness on people’s faces, the deep appreciation for what we were all there to experience. It was where peace met welcomed chaos. Nature contributed with its sun, sand, wind, ocean, dust, dirt, rocks, trees. Humans contributed with their spirit, music, food, drinks, expressions, security, cleanliness. Technology contributed with its lights, sound, moving displays (shoutout to the massive disco ball that moved!).

And I know the word magical is overused, but this quite frankly, was a magical time in Miami, and it will not be repeated – just because of the sophisticated layout, reduced capacity, freshness of people on the scene, and the authentic love. I mean, the whole weekend was filled with so much spirit and love – more so than I’ve seen in quite some time at music festivals.

It’s as if locals and out-of-towners were humbled by recent history, and showed up with genuine earnestness. With a lot of egos left at home, many of us with very low expectations, willing, hoping for any taste of the musical life we once knew and shared, we were brought back to life with the vibrancy that a weekend like this provided. I think most of us were willing to take anything, and this was a well-executed, never-before-done “secret” event weekend on Virginia Key.

There was connection. I spoke with so many people. They’re all pretty special because my weekend would not be the same without them. And so I want to give a sincere shoutout to all the people that made this event happen. The odds were stacked against you, and you succeeded!! THANK YOU!

Now let’s get into the music. Here are some highlights, based on my opinion, which also considers the opinions of those I spoke with. Take what you want and leave the rest!

FRIDAY

  1. Luciano – Gorgeous sunset set. I was guardrail and would make friends that I would again see same time, same place on Saturday. It was fun, magnetic. I didn’t leave the rail once.
  2. Thunderpony – He’s a local who brought the heat to the stage Friday Day 1, setting up for Luciano at sunset. We expect the best from the big names, but when a local, rising star makes headway like that, recognition needs to be given where recognition is due. He is definitely one to watch out for. I really enjoyed when he dropped a remix of, “Deep End” by Foushee. That was a fun way to get the crowd hyped up.

SATURDAY

  1. Green Velvet – MVP – wow. I’ve seen him before at Space which was a b2b set with Mark Knight?? I wasn’t impressed. But this set. This set was a shirtless, booty-shaking, threesome-making, set your spirit free kind of experience. I made friends in this set at the guardrail. It is simply one of those sets, you cannot properly into words. Afterwards in the parking lot, an old friend was blasting what happened to be Green Velvet b2b w Carl Cox on SoundCloud. I definitely recommend finding that set if you want a taste of what these two hours brought out in people.
  2. Michael Bibi – comes in close second as he opened up for Green Velvet. This was a banger, where the crowd just went nuts from the very beginning. I’ve seen Bibi before at a Epic hotel pool party during MMW in 2019, and his set was just okay. So again, this was a very welcomed surprise. The bartender (front left) told me, “I’m going to jizz my pants so hard when he comes on!” And LOL I saw her 5 minutes after the start and she was losing it, hugging her bartender friend. This brought laughing and smiles to my face. We’re here to be happy, joyous, and free. I got confirmation from others and got the most reactions on IG from the Bibi clip I posted; as some telltale signs, this guy rocked it.

Notable mentions:

  • Gerd Janson – I saw just 10-15 minutes of the closing of his set and wow. He might of made it into my top 3 had I seen his set versus Green Velvet. He is definitely on my radar of DJs to catch next.
  • Eric Prydz – Oh PRYDZ. This was also a special set for me. Closing out the festival with my new guardrail friends. I really just let go, and had a different kind of experience. Not in my ranking for similar reason above. Seeing Prydz at Ultra’s 20th anniversary in 2018 stands out, with the 3-D imaging display, acoustics, set layout, space to dance near the front of the Carl Cox tent. I feel like Prydz toned it down as some point before his set ended at iii points Saturday night. It didn’t have a legendary finish, but again, it’s Prydz. And he can do what he like – and we’ll probably like it anyways. 🙂
  • Dixon – I saw a very good video and have historically heard very good things about him. He’s on radar.
  • Trikk – Another one I did not see, but heard good things. On radar.
  • Danyelino – I do not know why this guy has not gotten more recognition. I have been seeing him spin at Space Techno Loft since 2009?? I mean, the guy dropped music Saturday that other artists do not set up the beat for. There is something special about this guy. He was playing b2b with Brother Dan. But the real gems I think came from Danyelino. Put him on your radar?

I’m not impressed list:

  • Bedouin – wanted its Miami fan base to go deaf. I really don’t like it when DJs try to “fit” their set times. Luciano was on the money. Bedouin felt like they were trying too hard following Luciano. I’ve seen them before at Wynwood Factory, and it seemed they played more authentically there. With 20 minutes left, they were killing the music selection, but the bass was just far too much to handle. Not worth listening to any music over that ruckus.I did like when they dropped an intercession of “California Dreamin.” It made me want to dance, a welcomed refresher, but as a whole, the set fell flat, with what seemed like they were making up for with decibel levels.
  • Black Coffee – He didn’t have an easy job coming on after Bedouin. He also had to deafen the crowd. I was half way back in the crowd and it sounded like he was drilling out eardrums. No need for that. I did like his remix of Purple Rain. That was pretty. But in general, the set felt very much commercial.

Alright, that about does it for the iii points Monday wrap-up. There’s more to say on last night’s Lazarus soirée at Space Park, the official closing party for the iii points/secret project festival. But a woman needs her beauty sleep. 😉

WE DID IT!!!

Mamma Mia

What a weekend. We had Loco Dice this past Saturday poolside at Goodtimes, the new Vegas-style hotel on South Beach owned by Dave Grutman, owner of LIV, STORY, etc. Loco also played nighttime at Floyd. Maceo Plex spun a marathon at Space. Cocodrills played Sunday night at Lucky. It seems like things are shaking up around here, without a mask in sight, especially since curfew was lifted a couple weeks ago.

This means, Miami is making a comeback.

And I for one, am not complaining. With most of the country still on some variation of lockdown, it’s about time people rediscovered their souls via dancing, grooving, communicating, jiving, powwowing, whatever you want to call it. Skiing. Yes, the party has picked up almost without missing a beat.

And in attending the Goodtimes pool party, it seems like party-goers are still fish-out-of-water. Not that people are shy with their personal space, but imagine a whole bunch of 18-year-olds going to a college party, with their eyes in a starry-eyed surprise. That’s kind of the vibe that was going on at Goodtimes. Maybe because it’s a new venue. Maybe because it’s post-pandemic. Maybe because people are post-shock. Maybe a combination. Either way, the best way to explain the party was awkward. Awkward in a good way. Awkward in the sense that it’s new, it’s fresh. The music wasn’t crazy good, but it was good. (As we know, the DJ vibes off the crowd and vice-versa…so not the magical combination for this Saturday afternoon.) But it looked good. And surely this venue will take on its own essence. With a Vegas style pool setup, it’s bound to bring in some big names.

It’s the only party I got to witness first-hand, but I gotta say. I’m welcoming the change that’s in the air. Looking forward to letting the good times roll.

What is life?

Here we go. 13 months of pandemic. What are we doing? Do our legs even know how to still dance?

I went to Lucky on Friday, April 2nd, and that place was swarming with people standing inches from each other with no masks. And let me tell you. I’m not sure if it was Lazaro or Oscar G, but “Set you Free” by Guz had me dancing like I was a sexually pulsating bandit released from captivity. It was so liberating. It took 13 months to feel that sexiness and vivaciousness in myself, brought out by music and the scene. (It was my second time out dancing in a year – the first being the Oscar G drive-in in September.)

I love dancing so much. I think I will be one of those old people at 80 still rocking high-tops and getting my vibe on at the local underground club. Music is a fountain of youth. Drink from it, and may you never age a day past your 20s. Music unites us all. I’m so thankful for it. How much has it helped us through this time of abnormal living? The existence of music in my life, albeit experienced in different forms from normal times, kept something in my life consistent. When the world seemed to be towering over with ashes, suffocating us from a COVID volcano explosion, my Spotify, Apple Music, TWITCH TV, vinyl records were all there to soothe me. Cajole me. Comfort me. Accompany me. I could connect to music even if I could not connect to another human in person.

Music has brought no greater joy, except that of possible love. And maybe music is a conduit to love, which is why we treasure it all that much.

Looking forward to summer 2021 to see what all unfolds.

Summer 2019 comes to a close

There was much promise at the start of the summer. I envisioned a summer filled with diversity, musical parties we could hop to and from, an air of freedom and exuberance.

Well, after the five go-to parties that I mentioned in my “Summer 2019 is Shaping Up” post, four of the five are no longer with us. I even got involved in the BT’s on the River party. I made that party my own. And it failed.

And if I thought last summer made me doubt the future of house music in Miami, my line of sight has grown even dimmer.

I identify and explain why each party did not make it. Then I commiserate on why BT’s failed. Lastly, I explain that it is not my doing, it is not the club’s doing, it is national economics that have squashed music as we know it.

I begin with party failures, in order of closing:

  1. Clevelander rooftop – Someone overdosed. A stupid way for patrons to ruin the music scene. Don’t do this. When cops and ambulances have to show up, someone must be blamed, and that is the promoters of said party.
  2. Barter – The attempt of relocating the vibe at 1-800-Lucky was a miserable fail. The energy could not be transferred four blocks north for Roger Sanchez’s Undr the Radar party. Personally, I didn’t like the fengshui of that place, so I don’t blame people for not going.
  3. Mokai House’d Sundays – This actually looked to be taking off. But after two months in, after Cocodrills played, the house decided they had had enough. Not enough sales.
  4. BT’s on the River – My baby. I saw her grow up. If you were there Fourth of July weekend for the official launch party, you understand the raw environment of what we were dealing with. She has now transformed into something beautiful. The owners have put over $70K into that terrace, and they continue with renovations. It will no doubt be a prized location in the years to come, however, our meager party pulling in the bar sales it did, was not enough to sustain.

This is what gets me. We had over 100 people showing up to our after-hours party. 100 people. With our bar sales, that’s on average $25 per person spending at the bar. Two drinks per person. That’s reasonable enough to ask, right? It is not enough in today’s world. And this is the epiphany – That even rich people rule the music world.

What does music require?

  1. Good sound (Speakers)
  2. Good space for sound to bounce off of
  3. DJ equipment (CD-Js + Mixer)
  4. Electrical power to juice the equipment (it’s significant enough)

That’s not even including the frills that people take for granted, such as furniture, fans, A/C, centerpieces, lights, dancers. But I call these secondary. For any good house music party, you need the sound and space to complement each other, you need the equipment, and you need the power.

We didn’t even have proper power setup until a month in, so the music would blow a fuse and turn off. We still kept it going. But despite all the losses our brand, “Sunrise Sessions,” sustained from the venue’s failure to have what we need, we pushed through. We made the club money. We made ourselves a little money. We made our team money.

That is entrepreneurship. You create something that generates wealth not only for yourself, but for others, too. We had the capability, we had the bones. We did not have the luck. Weather killed a couple of weekends. At the start, we did not have the right promoters.

By far, the biggest issue was not having the VIP big-spenders at the right time. When we did have the VIPs, the right people, what the industry calls, “filler people,” were not in place, so dollars were never spent.

All these elements, despite our intelligence, despite the patience and capital expenditure of the club, justified the importance of Luck. So many times, it is just plain, dumb luck. And after nine weeks of weather and poor timing of promoters and VIPs, history was written. I imagine Mokai suffered a similar fate, making it two months as well before quitting.

Where does that leave house music? If our local scene, our local businesses, cannot survive on just two drinks per customer, if we must have one person to justify the rest of the people being there (because they spend $1k+), what does that say about the 99% of people attending the event?

It pretty much means, you don’t mean anything. You are there, to simply make one person happy. You are a sales tool. And that, is your purpose. Maybe you add another $25 to the bar tab, but that’s a cherry on top.

Needless to say, I have this new-found vigor in myself. I’ve never been more politically enraged. All due to Income Inequality. We are suffering. Our education, our arts, our culture, our music suffers because the 99% do not have enough funds to go around to support the the art, education, or music we believe in. We constantly feel strapped. (Yes, even when I made six-figures, I felt strapped.) Why is this?

The wealth of the 1% grows exponentially compared to the rest of society. Taxation could do something to keep a healthier middle class, but our politics have abandoned that notion altogether. Politicians are not for the many, they are for the few. Just like nightclubs and music experiences and festivals…they are not for the many, they are for the few.

And this realization has changed everything for me.

The footprint of the 1% is stepping harder and harder on all of us to make our ecosystem of finances work, including what we have available to spend on clubbing, music, drinks, etc.

I have loved Miami for as long as I can remember, and I will always love it. But this squashing, it’s not only on our economics, it’s on our creative juices. How can we create something beautiful, when it depends on just one big player, every week. That’s all it takes. That’s not creativity, that’s sales and marketing and pitching to rich people who don’t know any better.

I can’t imagine club life was always that way. It was about the majority having a good time, where $25 per head would suffice.

Our government, which encourages the rich to have power, and feeds policies that cater to the rich, extends down to us artists, who just want a freedom of movement. The beauty, the love, the freedom of dancing and sharing it with people who could afford to be there as well and share it with you. That is what we want.

Why must we feel every event needs to be free? Or that we must spend $500+ in an outrageous weekend of Basel or MMW? This growing conception is unfathomable, but it’s become the new norm in Miami. We want everything to be free throughout the year. This has become almost status-quo. And no, it’s not because we’re spoiled, but because again, the normal person is just a filler. You are there to sell the dime-piece in the room.

This makes me want to cry. Not just because I lost a party I believed in, but because this structure has been fed to us. And we accept it. Oh, it’s ok. I can be like the rich some-day. No, we can’t.

Each month, their interest gains accumulate. At year-end, those gains are taxed less than a teacher’s salary. Talk about unfair.

That being said, the “American Dream” is dead. In this Ted talk, the speaker jokes that, “If you want the American Dream, move to Denmark.” Yes, it’s true.

So I implore you to seek other countries that uphold the value of a healthy middle class, that supports creativity, the arts, and what brings good music and good music experiences to fruition. Although being crippled by the hand that feeds us, ultimately, you choose your actions. Politicians likely won’t listen because one of the 400 has just written him a check for $1million+.

My move will probably be to abandon ship. I don’t see this getting any better. It’s sad. I want music to live. It has been there so many times when I’ve been lost or confused. It was there, when there was nothing left in my world. My life was falling apart. But I knew I could be at Space on Sunday. At whatever tender age in my 20’s, I could go to Club Space and find solace.

Most people would laugh and say, how could you find solace in a place like Space? Oh, I found it so many times. In an age before smartphones, in an age before GPS. Oh, the release and the beauty I found.

So, I’m pretty sure I’m moving to Amsterdam. I say pretty outlandish things sometimes being a Cancer. The irony is, most Cancers usually follow-through on the outlandish things they say.

So I urge you to watch two pieces of media. One is a documentary on Amazon Prime Now is called, “Park Avenue.” It’s a must-see. The other is the TED Talk I mentioned.

Unfortunately, I believe this country is on the brink of violence against the rich. After having this ephiphany today of how the rich control everything, I saw a Bentley on the road, and all I can say, is that my thoughts were definitely violent. And that’s not healthy.

For the love of music. For the love of freedom. For the love of joy. I love you all. Even if you are rich. But if you are rich, consider how you can do something politically to make this country a better place for us all.

<3 My Miami Music

Summer 2019 is shaping up

In what was a deadbeat summer last year, I mean extremely deadbeat, so much so I was scared for house music in Miami, this summer seems to be taking on a whole new persona – one full of life and activity that will guide us through the long days ahead.

One telltale is the line-up for Memorial Day weekend. Usually, this is a silent weekend in dance. Hip-hop comes to town and rules the city for three days, and then we get our dance events back…or at least that’s historically how it’s been.

Well, investors and party planners have stopped this trend. In fact, there seems to be some intense competition for dance-heads that will go all summer long. Why the competition all has to be on Sunday? I don’t know, but start roll-call, organized by start time, and starting with the most obvious:

Space 12a – Best club in the world. Ok, rightfully so. Since the year 2000, we have been waiting for the sunrise, dancing ’til morning comes. So 19 years later, which is quite a feat in longevity, Space still gets some of the largest names in house music to spin. However, a magic tends to be lost when there’s smartphones in your face, and you’re trying to be incognito behind your sunglasses. On the plus side, it’s summer and it’s the best time to be there because it has the highest concentration of locals that you will see all-year round. It’s air-conditioned. You can eat proper food and stay hydrated with exotic juices now, too. Cons: sometimes it is way too smoky/not properly ventilated, the bathrooms haven’t been renovated in 20 years (unbelievable when they charge the prices they do), and it can be somewhat overhyped and overcrowded and not with the right kind of people.

BT’s on the River 4a – Yes, this is a strip-club, but hear me out. The owners of Booby Trap are doing so well, they are attempting to compete with Space. There’s not a lot of people on the scene that have the capability to do this, the funds, and the will to make it happen. Hence, BT’s Patio on the River…it is a separate vibe from the open-format debacle happening indoors. The patio has its own sound system, bar, and DJ. Actually, it’s the DJ that first started Club Space in the first place. Ivano Bellini 20 years later is still a master on the decks and may be the only one who can convert this patio into the next it-spot. The patio is outdoors, large, on the river, palm trees in view. Sunshine on the face makes it reminiscent of the old Space days. I even got that nauseous/butterfly feeling walking in, since you don’t really know what’s going to happen. 24/7 food and drinks. And the cherry on top, free. Cons: It’s summer, and there’s little to no fans. To use bathrooms, must go inside which can kill your house music vibe. It’s a new party so promotions need to get people here. Also, strippers will be in the general population, which can a pro or a con, whichever way you view it.

Clevelander Rooftop 12p – These guys want to bring house music back to the beach. They will be taking a break Memorial Day weekend festivities, but every other Sunday you can expect to have South beach, ocean views while vibing to house music. It’s a unique location and I’m thrilled to have it be a weekly installment by the Housecats label, including Ricky D and crew. Cons: Not enough shade/umbrellas. Entry getting upstairs can be a bit cumbersome with hotel staff (if they can get that streamlined). Also, being on Ocean Dr. can make getting there a creative pursuit. But the party is worth the commute, and it goes ‘til midnight.

Relic at Factory Patio 4p – These guys are the newest group to compete for Sunday action. What was previously a Saturday night gig, the label, headed by Fiin, has re-situated itself for the long haul on Sundays, which are advertised to go until 5a Monday. To pop off their new schedule, headliner Hot since 82 is doing an open-air event this MDW. This is a new party and a new part of Factory that they are utilizing, so reviews are TBD. I like Factory as a whole (former Space owner Louie Puig is co-owner) so odds are this dance series will do well.

Barter Wynwood 5p – What a move. Roger Sanchez takes his Under the Radr label parties to Barter. They celebrated their 1-year anniversary at Lucky this past Music Conference, but the deterioration in treatment by 1-800-Lucky ultimately led to Roger saying, “Bye!” So Barter becomes the new Lucky. I love the Under the Radr line-ups. From Cocodrills to Kristen Knight, they seem to have the most renowned local talent. Adequate shade, food, 2 bars, their own parking lot. Plenty of room to dance. Cons: The space is large. It will take numbers to fill the venue with the right vibe, and this will be a challenge as Barter is a bit off the Golden Path of 23rd/24th St in Wynwood. However, this is Roger Sanchez’s label and I’m pretty sure the music will convert the masses to the new location. Party goes ‘til 3a Mondays.

Mokai 11p – Yes, this club is still in business, and I may be as shocked as you. (Anybody remember the days of hopping back and forth from Gansevoort/Louis to here?) Well, they are bringing house music back to the beach Sunday nights. And it may well turn into a verifiable option once the Clevelander shuts down at midnight. I have not yet checked this out, so reviews are TBD.

That being said, Sundays are meant for rock-stars. And on no counts does it look like Miami will have a dull summer. See you out there! 😎