Monday, May 9, 2011

SW 3rd Ave Music Festival Recap

When you love as many local bands as I do, you're often faced with difficult decisions. How do I divide my time when attending local shows? Do I support my friend's band, or see someone new? Do I travel across county lines, taking a chance on a show that might be less-than-stellar? What's a music lover to do?
SW 3rd Ave fest was the perfect cure to my woes. I was able to see a bunch of great bands in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, close to home and in venues I love.

After chowing down on tacos at T-Mex, my friends and I made our first stop at the PoorHouse for Juke Singer Eric Garcia greeted me from the stage as we walked in, and it was like being welcomed home at the end of a long day. The band blew through a few blues tunes in what seemed like a split second, reminding me of my least favorite thing about festivals: short set times. It was a tease, leaving me mentally arranging my schedule to catch them later in the week, at The Stage in Miami.

After a quick load out, Joel DaSilva and the Midnight Howl took the PoorHouse stage. This lineup may be new together, but the members are hardly new to the scene. Frontman/Guitarist DaSilva is a member of The Hep Cat Boo Daddies, and drummer Stefano Rotati sat behind the kit for Juke. Bassist Kevin Simonelic rounds out the trio, along with Scott Rowell appearing on keyboards. The 'Howl is currently working on their debut album, set for release late summer/early fall. The boys sounded great, and the band was in good spirits coming off last week's big show at SunFest, alongside several national acts. A mix of originals and covers made for a fun set.

When J.D. and the Howl wrapped up, I grabbed a friend and walked over to the Green Room to see what was going on at the New Times Stage. I'd never seen a performance at Green Room, so I tried to find my bearings as John Ralston's band did their setup. I took in the decor (lots of white furniture!) and the crowd (music geek chic!) and determined I may not be cool enough for this place. John Ralston came highly recommended, and I was excited to see him perform. His band sounded incredibly tight, and I enjoyed his vocals and stage presence. I bopped around to the music for a couple of songs, but I was anxious to get back to PoorHouse for The Shakers.

The PoorHouse was packed for The Shakers, and they were already onstage when I re-entered.
The energy in the room was more intense than I've ever seen it at this venue. I couldn't help springing up and down like a pogo stick, letting the music move me for roughly two and a half minutes at a time. This was not my first time seeing the Shakers, and definitely won't be my last. These guys had everyone's attention, as the crowd bounced and raised their camera phones. An illuminated hula-hooper at the front of the stage lit the room with glowing swirls.

When the set ended, I stepped onto the street for some air, plotting my next move. It seems one group of my friends had convened at Fat Cat's, so I made the trek down the street for shots and good times. Justin Enco Band was playing a set strictly comprised of covers, and it made for a nice change of pace. We perched on stools on the sidewalk, starting a Sublime sing-a-long and talking about the night's events. The perfect way to wrap up a night of excellent music!

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