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Your Week Ahead: Oct. 17 to 23

A Belgian movie star gets his own day at a Boca brewery, the Wick pays cheeky homage to classic musicals, and a Boca-bred blues-rock duo plays Arts Garage. Plus, Conor Oberst, “The Little Foxes,” WWI aviator art and more in your week ahead.


TUESDAY

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What: Opening day of “Knights of the Air: Aviator Heroes of World War I”

Where: Flagler Museum, 1 Whitehall Way, Palm Beach

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cost: Museum admission of $18 adults, $10 youths

Contact: 561/655-2833, flaglermuseum.us

One of the many surprising pleasures of this year’s Wonder Woman movie was the unorthodox World War I setting, personified by Chris Pine’s heroic aviator. Whether planned or coincidental, this is an ideal year to revisit the romance and patriotism of classic wartime fliers, as 2017 marks the centenary of the United States’ entry into the First World War. In honor of this anniversary, the Flagler has organized “Knights of the Air,” the first museum exhibition dedicated to the pilot-heroes of World War I. For folks on the American mainland, the daredevil aviator became a national symbol for the overseas war effort—avatars of adventure and derring-do. This exhibit showcases the period art, artifacts and printed materials that brought our military might to the home front. It runs through Dec. 31.

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What: Screening of “Basic Instinct”

Where: O Cinema, 90 N.W. 29th St., Miami

When: 9 p.m.

Cost: $12

Contact: 305/571-9970, o-cinema.org

If you’ve never seen this campy 1992 thriller by movie bad-boy Paul Verhoeven, this is not the place to experience it. But if you either love or hate “Basic Instinct,” this special interactive screening is a singular way to appreciate its quirks, faults and schlocky joys. As part of O Cinema’s Reel Hottpants series, host DJ Hottpants will provide a live commentary during the screening, complete with audience participation cues, a la “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” The notorious Sharon Stone police-interrogation scene is only the tip of this iceberg of absurdity, whose two Oscar nominations and two Razzie nominations attest to its polarizing nature. Arrive at 8 p.m. for a preshow presentation with DJ Hottpants, including clips of the cast, ‘90s music videos and trivia.

WEDNESDAY

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What: Van Damme Day

Where: Barrel of Monks Brewing, 1141 S. Rogers Circle, Suite 5, Boca Raton

When: 5 to 10 p.m.

Cost: Varies per beer

Contact: 561/510-1253, barrelofmonks.com

This week is a momentous one in the history of Belgian cultural dominance on the global stage. I say this with tongue planted firmly in cheek, as Wednesday marks the 56th birthday of Jean-Claude Van Damme, Belgium’s native son and top cinematic export, known for his kickboxing prowess, limited acting skills and conveyer belt of anonymously titled straight-to-video movies (“Kill ‘em All” and “Pound of Flesh” are two of the latest, but you knew that). Barrel of Monks, Boca’s top purveyor of Belgian-style ales, will toast JCVD’s latest calendar cycle with specialty beers and food pairings from Tucker Duke’s, along with “movie spotlights, photo ops, hero moments and more,” whatever that means. Practice your best roundhouse kick if you must, but do show it off while you’re still sober!

THURSDAY

Photo by Rachel Fosbenner

Photo by Rachel Fosbenner

What: ONYX Art Stroll and concert

Where: Arts Garage, 94 N.E. Second Ave., Delray Beach

When: 7 to 10 p.m.

Cost: Art Stroll is free, $10 for concert

Contact: 561/450-6357, artsgarage.org

It’s the third Thursday of the month this week, which means Arts Garage returns for its celebration of local art, both visual and musical. Starting at 7, artists will begin vending their wares for the night, and beginning at 8, two local bands will perform spirited sets. You don’t want to miss this all-Palm Beach County lineup: Rocket to Anywhere (pictured), which began as a solo project in 2014 and has evolved into a high-energy rock group, recorded with Grammy-nominated producers and secured a show at SunFest this year with a sound that conjures New Found Glory one minute and Bruce Springsteen the next. We’re also excited to catch Anastasia Max, a teenage brother-and-sister duo from Boca that plays bluesy, garage-tinged music that belies their age, with influences such as Nina Simone and the White Stripes evident in their stripped-down sound.

FRIDAY

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What: Opening night of “The Little Foxes”

Where: Palm Beach Dramaworks, 201 Clematis St., West Palm Beach

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $90 ($75 for later performances)

Contact: 561/514-4042; palmbeachdramaworks.org

A new season begins at Palm Beach Dramaworks with Lillian Hellman’s masterpiece, “The Little Foxes.” It’s the tale of a greedy Southern family that will stop at nothing—including violence—to get what it wants. Driven by greed and ambition, Regina Giddens and her clan rely on cutthroat maneuvers and betrayal in their ruthless drive to amass wealth. Although it’s set in 1900 (and written in 1939), this classic is striking a chord with modern audiences. A much-heralded Broadway production of the show starring Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon wrapped up its run over the summer. Both actresses, as well as the audiences and critics they delighted, found the script to be surprisingly timely. “Given where we are now and given where our culture is now—particularly looking at money and power and what do you value and what do you not value—it’s sort of shockingly right on point,” Linney told NPR.

Conor Oberst's new album, Salutations, comes out March 17.

What: Conor Oberst

Where: Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $30

Contact: 954/564-1074, cultureroom.net

Emerging from the cultural hinterlands of Middle America—Omaha, Nebraska, to be exact—with a quavering voice, a deft pen and an emo artist’s confessional nakedness, Bright Eyes was, for a time, the biggest thing in indie rock. In 2008, Rolling Stone named its chief musician and singer-songwriter, Conor Oberst, Best Songwriter of the Year. After mastering a ragged strain of neo-folk rock, Bright Eyes went to sleep in 2011, but Oberst has persisted in a fertile solo career. He remains as cultishly worshipped as ever, and his lyricism has only improved with age. Pitchfork recently called him “one of the 21st century’s most mercurial and charismatic songwriters.” Oberst’s Americana-inflected latest album, Salutations, is nostalgic without being saccharine; its lyrics nod to everyone from Jane Fonda and Paul Gauguin to Ronald Reagan to Christopher Hitchens. Perhaps the best part, for longtime fans? He still plays plenty of Bright Eyes songs, and switches up the set list nightly.

SATURDAY

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What: Opening night of “The Drowsy Chaperone”

Where: The Wick Theatre, 7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $85

Contact: 561/995-2333, thewick.org

This self-reflexive musical comedy premiered nearly 20 years ago in Toronto. It was ahead of its time then, and good productions still have a wry, sophisticated sensibility of simultaneously winking and not winking at the audience. The protagonist and narrator, simply known as Man in Chair, is an agoraphobic New Yorker in a run-down apartment whose greatest joy in life is an obscure (fictional) 1928 Broadway musical called “The Drowsy Chaperone.” When he plays the record in his living room, the show flowers around us, as the man’s apartment transforms into a tony Broadway set. The musical-within-a-comedy is deliberately rife with ancient musical-theatre clichés and stereotypes—a controversial wedding, a ditzy flapper, a pair of bumbling gangsters, a Latin lothario—and the Man in Chair frequently interrupts the action to comment on it. It’s a clever night of entertainment for all, but Broadway junkies especially should flock to this. Its Palm Beach County regional premiere runs at the Wick through Nov. 12.

As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
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Concert Review: Band of Horses at Fillmore Miami Beach

On Sunday night, indie rock veterans Band of Horses stopped by the Fillmore Miami Beach for the last show on their 115-date “Why Are You OK” tour, and provided a pleasant but mostly unremarkable show.

After an opening set by fellow South Carolina group The Artisanals, Band of Horses took the stage at 9:10 to The Clash’s “Train in Vain,” before quickly slowing things down with a soft opening song that featured frontman Ben Bridwell on piano.

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Band of Horses has always been a revolving door of musicians centered on songwriter Bridwell, and this was no different on Sunday night. The five-piece group featured two new contributors on bass and guitar following the departure of longtime members Tyler Ramsey and Bill Reynolds earlier this year.

With curtains blocking off most of the seating at the back of the venue’s bottom level, it was clear that the promoters weren’t expecting anywhere near a sold-out show. What they got instead was a noticeably smaller-than-usual crowd for the Fillmore, but one that was packed up towards the stage to create an unusual sense of intimacy for the venue.

Backed by a minimal light show and the band’s customary cursive script font on a large Irish flag behind them, Band of Horses bypassed flashy stage tricks in favor of a simple setup that placed the focus squarely on the music. As with its studio albums, the band used strong dynamic contrast to keep the crowd engaged and the show moving along. Each song had its own peaks and valleys, and with each upswing in volume and tempo the crowd became visibly more active and engaged.

Photo by James Biagiotti

Photo by James Biagiotti

Though the band was still promoting its most recent record, last year’s Why Are You OK, songs off of the group’s first two records, 2006’s Everything All the Time and 2007’s Cease to Begin, dominated the setlist. These were the tracks that received the most avid response from the crowd, many of whom seemed to be devoted fans.

A few songs into the show, Bridwell took time to speak to the audience, putting on a white trucker hat and telling the South Florida crowd “We’re feeling for y’all with all that storm stuff, and we hope you’re doing alright down here. Nothing but the best for you.”

The most interesting parts of the set came when the band occasionally lapsed into rocker excess, as with standout cut “Cigarettes, Wedding Bands,” which was a pleasant upswing in the middle of the show.

After closing the main set with “Is There a Ghost,” the encore brought a one-two punch of “The Funeral” and “The General Specific,” which produced a jovial ending for the 90-minute performance and seemed to validate the decision to stay late for many fans.

While Band of Horses tried admirably to maintain the attention of the crowd throughout the evening, the considerably thinner headcount by the start of the encore spoke volumes for the mindset of the audience. It was getting late on a Sunday night, and while it may have been fun, for many attendees it wasn’t worth getting stuck in traffic on the way out.

James Biagiotti is a native of Boca Raton and music obsessive who is currently studying journalism and working as a guitar salesman. When he’s not attending or reviewing concerts in South Florida, he’s probably either playing and recording music or watching the Miami Dolphins.
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Jack Johnson Plays Upbeat, Memorable Show in West Palm Beach

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True to his music, Jack Johnson’s performance at Coral Sky Amphitheatre was exactly how I pictured it: playful and laid-back. Although the outdoor venue was packed with Johnson fans and enthusiasts, the atmosphere was akin to a small, intimate house party gathering. Everyone showed up in ponchos and rain boots due to some pretty soggy weather, but by the time Jack and his band came on stage, it was like his Hawaiian blood transformed the space into a bonfire on the beach.

Twinkling mason jars filled with colorful pieces of plastic collected from the ocean (a haunting yet beautiful illustration of modern pollution) swayed breezily in strands overhead. People swayed from side to side, nodding in tune to the beats and singing along softly.

The scenery made for a chill vibe throughout the show. Photo by Shayna Tanen.

The scenery made for a chill vibe throughout the show. Photo by Shayna Tanen.

Jack opened the show with “Sitting, Wishing, Waiting,” skipping the usual bold spotlight for softer stage lights. He quickly segued into “I Won’t Back Down,” in tribute to the late Tom Petty, followed by hits “Taylor,” “Staple It Together,” and “You and Your Heart.” The show was a combination of classic throwbacks intermixed with new hits from his July 2017 album, “All the Light About It Too.” Jack treats concertgoers like close friends, laughing and sharing stories about his college days and his kids. One especially sweet story went like this: His son was misbehaving so Jack said he’d grow a monkey tail with an eyeball at the end if he didn’t stop. His kid was delighted by the prospect, and pretended he had a monkey tail, looking at his dad and saying “You look good!” The story segued into, what else, “If I Had Eyes.” Jack even jokingly pretending to push fellow band member and instrumentalist Zach Gill off the stage.

Gill, for his part, is a great sport, and there’s a genuine friendship between the two musicians that runs way deeper than music. And Gill is an amazingly gifted pianist. He played some killer solos on “Flake,” “Big Sur,” and “Wasting Time,” to name a few. But he’s also excellent on the accordion and the melodica, a blow-organ harmonica with a keyboard attachment, which he played vibrantly. He was best when he was standing on his piano, blurting out notes on the melodica. It looked wildly fun.

It's always fun when musicians stand on their instruments. Photo by Shayna Tanen.

It’s always fun when musicians stand on their instruments. Photo by Shayna Tanen.

Jack saved “Banana Pancakes,” till the show’s nearing end, and the crowd responded in thankful applause. For the encore, Jack came back solo, opening with “A Pirate Looks at Forty,” a nod to our homegrown singer Jimmy Buffet, then rounding it out with four more songs—some quite uh, emotion-evoking—including a silly one about getting stoned with Willie Nelson. All in all, it was the perfect ending to a long day at the office, and the perfect starter to the almost weekend. Aloha.

Set List:

Sitting, Wishing, Waiting

I Won’t Back Down (Tom Petty cover)

Taylor Staple It Together

You and Your Heart

Monsoon

Flake

The Horizon Has Been Defeated

Badfish/BossDJ

Inaudible Melodies

You Can’t Control It

My Mind Is for Sale

Breakdown

Big Sur

You Don’t Know How It Feels (Tom Petty cover)

If I Had Eyes

Good People

I Got You

Belle/Bananas Pancakes

Shot Reverse Shot

Wasting Time

Bubble Toes/The Joker

 

Encore:

A Pirate Looks at Forty

Do You Remember

Willie Got Me Stoned

Angel

Better Together

Allison Lewis is the associate editor at Boca Raton Magazine and a native St. Louisan. She earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. In her spare time, Allison enjoys cooking, playing Ultimate frisbee, reading, traveling and watching sports.
Kelly Goodman Photography

Your Week Ahead: Oct. 3 to 9

Fright Nights celebrates its “sweet” 16, the Wick Costume Museum shows off its bling, and Gloria Estefan’s musical comes home. Plus, Hillary Clinton, Seu Jorge, “Blade Runner 2049” and more in your week ahead.


TUESDAY

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What: Hillary Clinton

Where: Broward Center, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $50-$375

Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org

“What happened?” is the question millions of flummoxed Americans asked themselves, slack-jawed, on Nov. 8, 2016. What Happened, in turn, is Hillary Clinton’s book-length response to that query. Clinton famously fumbled what the polls and popular sentiment considered the easiest presidential election win in recent history for reasons that have been rehashed, dissected and autopsied for nine months—by countless people not named Hillary Clinton. Now is South Floridians’ up-close and personal opportunity to listen to the candidate’s side of the story at this exclusive stop on her What Happened book tour.

FRIDAY

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What: Opening night of Free Friday Concerts

Where: The Pavilion at Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach

When: 7:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/243-7922, oldschoolsquare.org

Friday nights, fresh air and free music—what could be better? Once again, Old School Square is showing the community some love with its popular series of outdoor concerts at the Pavilion. Whether you come with the family or that one special friend, you’ll want to bring lawn chairs or at least a blanket to stretch out on. You’ll have to leave the pets at home for this one, though. No coolers or outside food or beverages are permitted either, but don’t worry: You’ll be able to buy something to nibble on and something nice and cold to drink. The new season of shows begins Friday with the note-perfect Billy Joel tribute Turnstiles, kicking off a high-energy lineup of bands that continues throughout the season.

THURSDAY

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What: Opening night of “Blade Runner 2049”

Where: Cinemark Palace, 3200 Airport Road, Boca Raton

When: 7 and 10 p.m.

Cost: $9-$16

Contact: fandango.com

Few modern directors convey creeping dread quite like Denis Villeneuve, the auteur of “Sicario” and “Arrival,” whose latest project expands the mythology of “Blade Runner,” Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi benchmark. Set 30 years after the events of the original, this audacious sequel follows a next-generation replicant cop (Ryan Gosling) designed by a globalist industrialist (Jared Leto) whose latest case leads him down a soul-searching rabbit hole into his own creation. Harrison Ford reprises his role in Scott’s film, as a retired blade runner whose own history is crucial to solving the movie’s mysteries. While Villeneuve pays homage to the 1982 feature’s grim urban cityscapes, the visual and aural language of “2049” is certifiably his own: The alien topographies and expressionistic interiors; the exotic, elephantine musical score; and the melancholy drift of its stranger-in-a-strange-land hero are largely of a piece with his impressive oeuvre. The story is plagued by occasional inertia, and it doesn’t quite grip you enough, but its meditations on bioengineering and transhumanism, and its cogent observations on corporate hegemony, surveillance and an underground slave state resonate even greater now than in the franchise’s inception. It will open Friday at most area theaters.

Kelly Goodman Photography

Kelly Goodman Photography

What: Opening night of Fright Nights

Where: South Florida Fairgrounds, 9067 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach

When: 6 p.m. to midnight

Cost: $30

Contact: 561/790-5225, myfrightnights.com

Fright Nights, one of Palm Beach’s County’s preeminent haunted attractions, celebrates its not-so-sweet 16th birthday this season with four brand-new walk-throughs filled with special effects and live scare-actors. Creative director Craig McInnis and his crack(ed?) team of designers welcome horror fans to these concepts: “Occultus,” about witchcraft hysteria run amok; “Metamorphosis,” a mad-doctor tribute to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; “Shutter,” about a fashion photographer-cum-murderous psychopath; and “The Cuckoo’s Nest,” which riffs on that old chestnut about the inmates running the asylum. Enjoy these, along with carnival rides, food, drinks and other entertainment, through Oct. 28. Through Oct. 5, you can buy discounted tickets online for $25.

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What: Opening night of “On Your Feet!”

Where: Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $29-$75

Contact: 305/949-6722, arshtcenter.org

Gloria and Emilio Estefan are the closest people Miami has to royalty. Cuban-born and Miami-bred, they personify the American dream: fleeing Communist oppression, forging a legacy in the city’s burgeoning Latin pop scene, and winning 26 Grammys between them. So it’s wholly appropriate that the city that hatched their fame will be the first national tour stop of “On Your Feet!,” the zesty and heartfelt musical based on their vertiginous life. The tunes the Estefans immortalized, including “Conga,” “The Rhythm is Gonna Get You” and “Get on Your Feet,” complement a narrative that addresses the their uphill battle in an Anglo-centric music industry as well as the car accident that nearly ended Gloria’s career. With the creators of “Kinky Boots,” “Jersey Boys” and “Birdman” behind the directing, choreography and writing, this power couple’s story is in good hands … er, feet. The show runs through Oct. 15.

SATURDAY

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What: Opening day of “Bling: The Brilliant History of Glitz”

Where: The Wick Costume Museum, 7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton

When: Reservations begin at 11 a.m.

Cost: $48 (includes three-course lunch)

Contact: 561/995-2333, thewick.org

The Wick’s fifth and latest costume exhibition is more than just a showcase of theatrical wardrobes, although there are some great ones on display from “La Cage,” “42nd Street” and “The Producers.” But this celebration of all things glitzy also integrates film accessories from lavish productions such as “Cleopatra” and “Annie Get Your Gun.” Its breathtaking centerpiece will feature samples of Liberace’s most flamboyant costumes, including his iconic King Neptune cape, on loan from the Liberace Foundation in Las Vegas. The exhibition runs through May 20, 2018.

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What: Seu Jorge

Where: Broward Center, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $45-$215

Contact: 954/462-0222, browardcenter.org

The 2005 feature “The Life Aquatic” is one of director Wes Anderson’s most eccentric films, worshipped by his cult fanbase while eliciting a shrug from much of the mainstream audience. But even viewers wary of Anderson’s stylized vision probably remember the movie’s musical selections—the ethereally beautiful acoustic covers of David Bowie compositions, sung in Portuguese, by Brazilian singer-songwriter Seu Jorge. Transforming Bowie’s glam spunk into intricate pop-samba numbers, Jorge both deepened and redefined another’s master work, prompting the Thin White Duke himself to comment, “Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs in Portuguese I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with.” Jorge will pay tribute to Bowie on this tour, in which he’ll perform the “Life Aquatic” soundtrack supplemented by movie stills and a stage design that re-creates its stylish submarine setting.

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What: Opening night of “The Humans”

Where: GableStage, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables

When: 8 p.m.

Cost: $57-$60

Contact: 305/445-1119, gablestage.org

Stephen Karam’s drama “The Humans” arrives for its South Florida regional premiere with a most impressive track record: It transferred from off-Broadway to Broadway in less than a month’s time last winter before becoming a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and winning the Tony Award for Best Play. “The Humans” is centered on a familiar theatrical conceit—a dinner party for an extended family—but it avoids the histrionics and broad comedic strokes often associated with dysfunctional-family plays. Praised for its naturalistic dialogue and documentary-style look at a middle-class family trying to stay afloat in turbulent and unpredictable times, “The Humans” features characters that probably look and sound like you. If done well, the production should strike notes that are both, as the New York Times review put it, “blisteringly funny [and] bruisingly sad.” GableStage’s premiere runs through Nov. 5.

As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
Trombone Shorty; photo by James Biagiotti

Concert Review: Trombone Shorty Brings the Big Easy to Fort Lauderdale

On Friday and Saturday night, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, along with opening act Dumpstaphunk, brought New Orleans with them to South Florida as they took over Revolution Live in Ft. Lauderdale for a two-night stand of funk, rock and jazz music.

Troy Andrews, better known as Trombone Shorty, has been performing in jazz ensembles since he was 4 years old. Over the past 25 years he’s built a reputation as one of the most talented brass musicians in the world, and has performed with a staggering lineup of artists, from Green Day and U2 to the Foo Fighters. Since 2009 he’s led his own band, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, and showcased his unique hybrid of rock and jazz all over the world.

Trombone Shorty; photo by James Biagiotti

Trombone Shorty; photo by James Biagiotti

Considering the reputation Andrews has, it’s no surprise that he’d bring along a group of bona fide New Orleans legends with him on tour. When opening act Dumpstaphunk took the stage at 9:45 each night, the group brought with them a unique blend of funk and jam music that was a thrill to watch. The musicianship of each individual player shined, with all seven members of the group receiving a solo at one point or another. Standouts included Tony Hall, who seamlessly transitioned from guitar to five-string bass both nights while also sharing vocal duties; and members of the famous Neville family, Ivan and Ian, on keys and guitar, respectively.

When Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue took the stage each night at 11:15, the group had a tough act to follow but still lived up to the challenge.

Andrews may be promoting his new album and Blue Note debut­­­ Parking Lot Symphony, but these were unique shows in that nobody in the crowd was really concerned with which songs made the set list. Compositions blended together as the group joyously performed, and the crowd was just along for the ride. Each member of Orleans Avenue received a showcase over the course of both nights, and Andrews flaunted his prowess as both a bandleader and frontman as he kept the crowd fully engaged with sing-alongs and choreographed dances with his band.

Troy Andrews is a musician’s musician, switching between instruments (trombone, trumpet, drums, tambourine and lead vocals) throughout the set both nights, and showcasing techniques like circular breathing (playing a wind instrument continuously for an extended period of time without stopping to take a breath) that left the crowd awed whether they fully understood the difficulty of his feats or not.

The only notable difference in the set lists between the two shows was the inclusion of some memorable covers from both bands on night two. Dumpstaphunk got the led out with an extended cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On,” while Trombone Shorty found time to include a spirited cover of Green Day’s anthemic “Brain Stew” in his set.

Throughout both nights, which were rife with improvisation, one of the most fun things to see was the excitement of the band members as they watched each other solo. Andrews kept a fixed concentration on whichever member of his band was being featured, and couldn’t hide his pleasure when watching them each enjoy their individual moment in the spotlight.

Neither group strayed from their New Orleans culture throughout the two-night stand, and in both sets Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue brought their own version of Mardi Gras to South Florida by playing “When the Saints Go Marching In” and tossing T-shirts and branded beads into the crowd.

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Dumpstaphunk

When Andrews closed the second show with “Hurricane Season,” he didn’t bother to address the relevance of the topic. He let the music speak for itself, not talking to the crowd other than to introduce the band and make sure the fans were still “partying out there.”

While the crowd was much more packed on Saturday than Friday, both nights brought a friendly and inclusive group of people who enjoyed the music together. Many concertgoers were either from New Orleans or shared a deep personal connection with the city. I spoke to a fan named Griffin who was the first of many to speak as if on a first-name basis with Trombone Shorty. He referred to the artist as “Troy” in conversation and filled me in on the history of the jazz legends in the Andrews and Neville families of New Orleans.

Another fan, who introduced himself as “Horacio Horn Blower,” brought a trumpet to the show in a backpack and told me that he hoped to have the opportunity to jam with the band, which predictably never came to fruition. These encounters showed me that I was dealing with something unique from most of the concerts that I attend in South Florida. These bands didn’t just bring their songs with them—they brought their heritage as well.

James Biagiotti is a native of Boca Raton and music obsessive who is currently studying journalism and working as a guitar salesman. When he’s not attending or reviewing concerts in South Florida, he’s probably either playing and recording music or watching the Miami Dolphins.
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Concert Review: Foster the People at Fillmore Miami Beach

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By James Biagiotti

Six years ago, when Foster the People’s debut album Torches was released, the group seemed to be on a rapid rise to superstardom. The single “Pumped Up Kicks” became a massive crossover hit in 2011 and catapulted Mark Foster’s newly formed band to prominence and a record deal. By the time the Los Angeles based indie-pop band reached the stage of the Fillmore Miami Beach on Wednesday night, the group was three albums deep into its career and seemed to be running in place.

The group has followed a unique track since its initial success with “Pumped Up Kicks,” delving into psychedelia for its sophomore album Supermodel before experimenting with a more electronic sound for this year’s Sacred Hearts Club, its weakest offering to date.

Though Foster’s band may not be headlining festivals and arenas like many would have expected at this point in his career, it has certainly developed a strong and fervent fan base. When the group brought its Sacred Hearts Club tour to South Florida on Wednesday night, it performed to a packed house filled with attendees of all ages.

The night’s opener, L.A. based garage rock group Cherry Glazerr, was a pleasant surprise, bucking the crowd’s expectations of indie-pop in favor of a noisey sound that was closer to grunge than to anything by Foster the People. The group had the volume cranked up as loud as I’ve ever heard it at the Fillmore for its 30-minute set, which included standout tracks “Had Ten Dollaz” and “Told You I’d Be with the Guys.” Frontwoman Clementine Creevey was a blast to watch on stage, and seemed to relish the opportunity to perform to such a large crowd.

Cherry Glazerr

Cherry Glazerr

With fans’ ears still ringing from Cherry Glazerr, Foster the People took the stage at 9:15, opening with “Pay the Man,” the first track off of Sacred Hearts Club. The six-piece band at first featured two drummers, two keyboardists, a guitarist, and frontman Mark Foster on vocals. Throughout the night, the rhythm section backing Foster bounced from one instrument to another during transitions between songs.

Make no mistake, Foster the People is Mark Foster’s group, as evidenced by his position as the only musician at the front of the stage, with the rest of the group performing behind him. The stage setup featured a massive neon sign that read “Sacred Hearts Club” on the wall behind the band, which changed colors and flashed along with an elaborate light show throughout the evening.

The Fillmore, which is usually known for its superior sound quality, struggled with the transition from the cacophonous opening set to the lush pop sensibilities of the headlining act, resulting in muddled sound throughout the night. Vocals could often barely be discerned, and lead guitar and piano lines got lost in the mix, failing to speak out over the rest of the instruments.

The large crowd reacted with fervor towards tracks from the group’s first record, Torches, and seemed to only tolerate the tracks from Sacred Hearts Club, many of which fell flat when juxtaposed next to the band’s earlier hits.

The group found time for a few notable inclusions in the two-hour set, like covers of New Order’s “Blue Monday” and the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop,” as well as the live debut of “I Love My Friends” from Sacred Hearts Club.

Standout tracks from the headlining set included “A Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon,” which proved to be the heaviest song by the main act, and the obligatory inclusion of “Pumped Up Kicks,” which was preceded by a brief speech from Foster addressing the current political climate.

“Don’t worry about the small things,” Foster told the crowd. “Love each other. Life is hard enough already, and love will always be greater than politics.”

The band closed the main set with “Loyal Like Sid & Nancy,” which felt like an embarrassing misfire, before an encore that featured fan-favorite tracks “Houdini” and “Call It What You Want” to end the night on a positive note.

Though Mark Foster exuded positive energy throughout the set and successfully kept the crowd animated and involved, he couldn’t overcome the poor audio quality and disappointing material from Sacred Hearts Club to put together a truly great show. After a fun but not quite satisfying two-hour set, it was clear why Foster the People’s career trajectory has stalled out.

SET LIST

1) Pay the Man

2) Helena Beat

3) Life on the Nickel

4) Doing It for the Money

5) Pseudologia Fantastica

6) Harden the Paint

7) Warrant (with New Order’s “Blue Monday” postlude)

8) Are You What You Want to Be?

9) Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls)

10) Lotus Eater

11) Blitzkrieg Bop (Ramones cover)

12) Goats in Trees

13) Coming of Age

14) I Love My Friends (live debut)

15) Sit Next To Me

16) Miss You

17) A Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon

18) Pumped Up Kicks

19) Loyal Like Sid & Nancy

ENCORE

20) Houdini

21) Broken Jaw

22) Call It What You Want

Stephen Sorokoff-178

The Original Wonder Woman Sings: A Q&A With Lynda Carter

 

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Gal Gadot isn’t the only actress to ride the Wonder Woman rocket to stardom.

In 1975, Lynda Carter, the Miss World USA from three years prior, had nearly exhausted her savings to pursue an acting career that had produced only three bit parts. She was close to returning to her native Arizona when her manager informed her that she’d been cast to play the iconic Diana Prince, the star-spangled Amazonian princess and all-American superhero, for ABC.

As Wonder Woman, Carter fought Nazis and criminal syndicates and extra-terrestrials for three seasons and four years, ensuring a cult audience. Carter’s popularity has grown in the past year, with a new generation of fans discovering the character through this year’s $816 million movie adaptation.

The role paved the way for a robust television and stage career, but it’s her twin calling as a cabaret singer that has been occupying her creativity of late. On her two albums, At Last and Crazy Little Things, Carter croons standards, blues, folk and rock hits, with a third album on the way this fall.

Carter, who will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next year, will offer fans a preview of her latest material this Saturday when she brings her concert tour, “The Other Side of Trouble, to Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, complete with a 10-piece complement of Nashville studio musicians.

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Tell me about your new show “The Other Side of Trouble,” starting with what the name means to you.

It’s the name of a song I wrote. My writing partner and I were sitting around one day, and we were talking about relationships. I said, “that girl’s trouble, but at least he’s on the other side.” We said, “hey, the other side of trouble!” So it’s an amusing song—“I’m on the other side of trouble when I’m on the other side of you.” And we thought it would be a good name for the show.

We mix some of our own music with some old rock ‘n’ roll, new rock ‘n’ roll and some country and some old blues. We have 10 pieces up on the stage, so it’s a lot of fun.

Is it a straight-up concert, or do you talk to the audience?

I can’t help but talk to the audience. I tell a few stories that are somewhat self-deprecating. I talk a little bit about Wonder Woman, about life, about the music.

What do you get out of singing in front of an audience that you don’t necessarily get from your acting work?

You’re right there with people. For me, it is the same as stage acting. You’re very connected with a piece of work all the way through a show, and you’re depending on the audience’s reaction, and you’re right there with the audience. It’s the same feeling and the same thrill you get when you’re performing in the theatre.

Do you conceive of your concerts like theatre pieces—like you’re moving the audience through a narrative?

Absolutely. The singers I like a lot are storytellers, and you’re taking the audience through an experience. And when I do a cover, my covers are usually telling some kind of a story, and they’re really rethought to quite an extent. If I’m doing a Motown, I’m not a Motown singer, so I retool it in a way that it ends up being a story.

How do you go about selecting which classics you want to record?

That happens over a period of a year or more. It’s usually things I’ve listened to that I want to attempt to do at the beginning of the year. It’s quite a process, going through hundreds of kinds of music, and some of it is stuff that I’ve written, or would write with Grammy-winning writers.

Moving on to your acting career, there’s a lot of pressure associated with playing an iconic character, in terms of balancing the history and expectations with your interpretation. How did you conceive that balance when becoming Wonder Woman?

There was a preconceived notion that women are not going to like you because you’re playing this beautiful goddess. And I thought that was silly, so I wanted to make sure that the women who watched me didn’t feel that way. I thought that she needed to have a goodness and a kindness and that she was a whole woman, as we all are. We’re not just one thing. We’re complicated. And that’s how I crafted the character—that she was sweet and kind, that she would not stand up to any bullies, that she’s more about intellect and integrity and character than she was about anything else.

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Has the recent rediscovery of Wonder Woman by a new generation brought renewed interest in the original series?

Of course it has. I have become good friends with Gal and Patty Jenkins, whom I have tremendous respect for. They have their hands full making the next one, and I think it’s really great for the character. I think they did an amazing job.

Do you believe Gal took anything from your interpretation of the character for her own conception of the role?

We never talked about that. That would not be something actresses would necessarily talk about, because everyone has to do it their way. I think that Patty Jenkins and I had the same original feeling of who this woman is, of what a woman is, and empowering her with Wonder Woman’s powers.

What does Wonder Woman have that the testosterone-driven 98 percent of other superheroes lack?

I think it’s just this full and rich personality that she is a whole woman, that she’s not a one-dimensional character. She fights when she needs to and protects when she needs to, and she does it for the right reasons. It’s her humanity that is so outstanding. That’s really what it’s about—the strength of a woman that can’t be victimized. She’s not out there trying to be macho at all. She’s a total feminine woman, but you better not try to take advantage of her, or you’re going to regret it.

Carter performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, 5555 N.W. 40th St., Coconut Creek. Tickets cost $40-$60. Call 954/935-2636 or visit ticketmaster.com.

As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
green-dayedit

Green Day brings a crowd-pleasing set and anti-Nazi sentiment to South Florida on the Revolution Radio Tour

By James Biagiotti

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How fitting that the packed South Florida stop on Green Day’s Revolution Radio tour would begin with a sing-along of one of the biggest rock songs of all time. When Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” began to play through the Coral Sky Amphitheater’s speakers, imitating the video that went viral from the band’s Wembley Stadium show earlier this year, it was only a taste of what was to come during the seminal punk band’s career-spanning set.

The extended introduction continued from “Bohemian Rhapsody” into The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop,” and when Green Day finally took the stage to Ennio Morricone’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” as a six-piece, the crowd was fired up and ready to go.

As soon as they kicked into opening cut “Know Your Enemy,” it was clear that 31 years of nonstop touring and recording hadn’t slowed the venerable punk outfit down one bit. Before the first song was even halfway finished, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong yelled to fans in the very front, “Just because you paid more money for those seats doesn’t mean you can sit on your ass!” Backed by LED screens displaying their name and plenty of pyrotechnics, the band proceeded to rip through 26 songs over the next two-and-a-half hours, from last year’s Revolution Radio all the way back to 1991’s Kerplunk.

Staying true to the tour’s title, the band used their platform from the stage to make abundantly clear their stance on the social and political issues facing America in 2017. In the middle of “Holiday,” the fourth song of the set and the first from 2004’s American Idiot, Armstrong screamed, “No racism, no sexism, no homophobia, and no f—in’ Nazis! This is America!” to huge cheers from the audience.

Though Armstrong was the standout artist on stage, the other two members of the trio would not soon be forgotten. Even from the far reaches of the venue’s congested lawn section, Green Day’s rhythm section shone with bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tré Cool staying incredibly tight through classics like “Longview” and “St. Jimmy.”

Throughout the band’s crowd-pleasing set, Billie Joe Armstrong led sing-alongs from many of the band’s biggest hits and brought fans out of the crowd and on stage to assist with a few songs. One of the night’s highlights came when he invited a young fan named Kate up to the stage to play guitar during a cover of Operation Ivy’s “Knowledge.” After Armstrong helped Kate play the chords to ensure that her rock star moment went off without a hitch, her jaw dropped when he told her that she could keep the guitar he had handed her.

The night’s first encore consisted of two standout tracks from 2004’s protest-art rock opera American Idiot, including its title track and the nearly 10-minute “Jesus of Suburbia.” During a second encore Armstrong took the stage alone with an acoustic guitar, ending the show with softer cuts “21 Guns” and “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).”

As the show neared its end, Armstrong told the crowd, “I think this is the best show we’ve ever had here, man.” The crowd, most of whom seemed to know the words to every song, even the newest ones, seemed to agree with him. More than 30 years into their career and with no signs of slowing down, Green Day still won’t give up the fight.

  

Setlist:

  1. Know Your Enemy
  2. Bang Bang
  3. Revolution Radio
  4. Holiday
  5. Letterbomb
  6. Boulevard of Broken Dreams
  7. Longview
  8. Youngblood
  9. 2000 Light Years Away
  10. Hitchin’ a Ride
  11. When I Come Around
  12. Welcome to Paradise
  13. Minority
  14. Are We The Waiting
  15. St. Jimmy
  16. Knowledge (Operation Ivy cover)
  17. Basket Case
  18. She
  19. King for a Day (with snippet of George Michael’s Careless Whisperer)
  20. Shout / Always Look on the Bright Side of Life / (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction / Hey Jude
  21. Still Breathing
  22. Forever Now

Encore:

  1. American Idiot
  2. Jesus of Suburbia

Encore 2 (Acoustic):

  1. 21 Guns
  2. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)
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Your Weeks Ahead: Aug. 29 to Sept. 10

[NOTE: This column covers the next two weeks ahead, to accommodate for a vacation next week.]

Mizner Park hosts a Brazilian bash, South Florida artists re-interpret the classic femme fatale, and Boca restaurants offer a month of prix fixe specials. Plus, Green Day, the Norton’s “Earth Works,” “Marjorie Prime” and more in the weeks ahead.


TUESDAY, AUG. 29

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What: Opening night of “Femme Fatale” All Girl Art Show

Where: Howley’s, 4700 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach

When: 7 p.m. to midnight

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/833-5691, sub-culture.org/howleys

The archetype of the femme fatale—the seductive beauty from many a pulp novel and noir film, who ensnares a hapless male into a web of deception—is the subject of this diverse exhibition of work by 20 female artists from South Florida. The artists will reinvent, re-interpret and recontextualize femmes fatales, in a dynamic show curated by Kelcie McQuaid of Shangri-La Creations. At Tuesday’s opening, in addition to the art, at least 10 vendors will be on hand selling their wares, and local singer-songwriter Lindsey Mills will perform an acoustic set. You’ll want to stick around and order from Howley’s extensive, classic diner menu—or come back another day to view the art in a less raucous context. The show runs through Sept. 25.

THURSDAY, AUG. 31

Photo courtesy of CNHVision

Photo courtesy of CNHVision

What: Grunge Fest

Where: Revolution Live, 100 S.W. Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale

When: 7 p.m.

Cost: $10

Contact: 954/449-1025, jointherevolution.net

Those of us unlucky enough to have discovered Nirvana posthumously can experience the next best thing at this bargain-priced tribute concert. Orlando-based Nirvanna goes beyond the call of cover-band duty, re-creating the music, clothes and hairstyles of the grunge pioneers, perfectly imitating Kurt Cobain’s distinctive howls and signature disaffected look. One listen to the music, either in a live setting or recorded, confirms the group’s note-perfect commitment. Arrive early for Facelift, which memorializes the look and sound of another platinum-selling Seattle export, Alice in Chains.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 1

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What: Opening day of Boca Raton Restaurant Month

Where: Participating area restaurants

When: Lunch and dinner!

Cost: $21 to $40 for prix fixe meals

Contact: 561/395-4433, bocarestaurantmonth.com

September is a great month to experiment with a new dish, or finally try that hot new restaurant in Mizner Park or Royal Palm Place. For the entire month, 23 restaurants will be offering prix fixe dinner (and sometimes lunch) specials, thanks to this initiative from the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. The theme of this year’s Boca Restaurant Month is “I Love New York,” and each venue will offer, as part of its special menu, a New York-themed item, from Manhattan clam chowder to N.Y.-style cheesecake. Given the number of ex-New Yorkers that call the 561 area code their home, standards will be high. But with eateries like Max’s Grille, Henry’s, Morton’s and City Fish Market participating, expect them to be exceeded. Visit the promotion’s website for all restaurants.

SUNDAY, SEPT. 3

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What: Green Day

Where: Coral Sky Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansburys Way, West Palm Beach

When: 7 p.m.

Cost: $27 lawn seating still available

Contact: livenation.com

For audiences of a certain age, Green Day became synonymous with adolescent awakening, channeling the anxieties and rebellion of the pre-college set on its 1994 breakthrough Dookie—still an awesome album, even by this 34-year-old writer’s tastes. But the pop-punk trio has remained relevant three decades later, after many of its peers have shredded and snare-drummed into the dustbin of alt-rock history. American Idiot, from 2004, became a potent rallying cry for the antiwar, anti-Bush left, and was later adapted into a musical. Last year’s Revolution Radio, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, has become a similar cultural touchstone for the anti-Trump resistance, which will be in full flower at next weekend’s South Florida tour stop. Expect fireworks (literal and figurative), T-shirt guns, audience participation, imaginative cover medleys and a frenzied, eclectic set list spanning nearly the band’s entire career.

TUESDAY, SEPT. 5

Earth Works image 1

What: Opening day of “Earth Works”

Where: Norton Museum, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach

When: Noon to 5 p.m. Cost: Free

Contact: 561/832-5196, norton.org

Art and science share canvases in this collection of more than 30 environmentally alarming works by photographer Justin Brice Guariglia. The New York City artist flew over Greenland seven times during 2015 and 2016 as part of NASA’s Operation IceBridge, which surveys the impact of climate change on the country’s melting glaciers. The resulting exhibition, subtitled “Mapping the Anthropocene,” is both a striking collection of abstract photo-paintings and a clarion call about sea level rise. Printed with an acrylic process Guariglia himself invented, the impossible-to-replicate aerial close-ups of “Earth Works” are both placid and tempestuous, astral and arctic, forcing us to look anew at the geography we’re slowly losing.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 8

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What: Opening night of “Marjorie Prime”

Where: Lake Worth Playhouse, 713 Lake Ave., Lake Worth

When: 2 and 6 p.m. Cost: $6-$9

Contact: 561/296-9382, lakeworthplayhouse.org

This much-anticipated science-fiction movie arrives in theaters with an impeccable provenance: It’s based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. It’s set in the near future, where holographic projections of deceased loved ones are de rigueur, helping widows cope through the illusion of immortality. For the 86-year-old title character (played by Lois Smith), this technology becomes her link to the past and her crutch against Alzheimer’s, manifesting in the form of John Hamm’s virtual simulacrum of her late husband. A meditation on memory and mortality from the cerebral sci-fi auteur Michael Almereyda, “Marjorie Prime” co-stars Tim Robbins and Geena Davis, and it currently boasts a 93-percent “fresh” ranking from Rotten Tomatoes.

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What: Opening night of “Dual Frequency”

Where: Art and Culture Center, 1650 Harrison St., Hollywood

When: 6 to 9 p.m.

Cost: $10

Contact: 954/921-3274, artandculturecenter.org

Not all of the best local artists struggle financially, but the romantic cliché of the starving artist still carries a lot of truth. Hence the continued importance of grants to ensure their impactful, unifying work can proceed without extreme financial hardship. “Dual Frequency,” an initiative/exhibition from the South Florida Cultural Consortium, showcases work from 14 preeminent South Florida artists pegged for 2017 grants of either $15,000 or $7,500. The diverse group show crosses many disciplines, with Art and Culture Center curator Laura Marsh stating in a press release that “this group of artists represents some of the most committed and community-engaged in South Florida.” Catch the exhibition through Oct. 22.

SATURDAY, SEPT. 9

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What: Brazilian Beat

Where: Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton

When: 6 to 11 p.m.

Cost: Free

Contact: 561/367-7070, downtownboca.org

Brazil will celebrate its Independence Day Sept. 7, and for us in South Florida, that means it’s a great excuse to party like we’re South Americans. Downtown Boca hopes to draw thousands to Mizner Park for the sixth-annual Brazilian Beat, which has become the region’s premier celebration of Brazilian culture. The evening will feature gourmet and authentic Brazilian cuisine, a Zumba showcase, a Capoeira circle, carnival dancers and samba drummers, along with a couple of outstanding music acts courtesy of Miami’s Rhythm Foundation: national headliner Vanessa de Mata, the longtime Brazilian songstress whose reggae career included a stint with Jamaican legends Black Uhuru; and Batuke Samba Funk, an Afro-samba Big Band whose funk-influenced sound aims to bridge the gap between American and Brazilian music.

As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
New West Palm Beach nightclub Voltaire will look something like this when it opens Thursday night.

New WPB Venue Voltaire to Open With Three Concerts

New West Palm Beach nightclub Voltaire will look something like this when it opens Thursday night.

New West Palm Beach nightclub Voltaire will look something like this when it opens Thursday night.

When Voltaire, West Palm Beach’s newest nightclub and music venue, hosts its grand opening Thursday night, it will be the first time in weeks that its owner and manager can just relax. Nightlife maven Rodney Mayo and promoter extraordinaire Steve Rullman have been toiling around the clock for weeks to ensure the venue will be ready for this weekend’s three-night unveiling, work that is steadily continuing at the time of this writing.

I swung by Voltaire on Tuesday night, and the club still had the air of a construction site. Circular saws and piles of plywood littered the open space in front of the stage, which was covered with electrical wires and tubs and boxes containing countless tech components. The bar, in a state of mid-paint, was heavily newspapered, and instead of bottles, tool kits and electric screwdrivers lined the shelves.

At the time of my visit, a local artist was meeting with Rullman to discuss his tweaks to a commissioned painting of Voltaire, the French Enlightenment writer and the venue’s namesake. The original commission disappointed management, so this pinch-hitter had less than 48 hours to make it work before the giant, framed portrait would be hung at the club’s entrance, welcoming visitors.

The clock was ticking, but Rullman, ever cool under pressure, was used to the feeling. He had built up venues like Delray Beach’s City Limits and West Palm Beach’s Propaganda more or less from the ground up. For too-brief spells, these clubs served as flagship locations for Rullman’s imaginative concert bookings, which drew heavily from psych-pop, shoegaze, dream-pop, alt-folk and other under-represented indie genres. For the past few years he’s been a freelance promoter, scheduling shows at places like Respectable Street, and he’s enthused to once again have a place, in Voltaire, that he can fully manage and shape.

“Instead of trying to find rooms for different shows that are coming through, I have a home base now,” he says. With a capacity of 216, Voltaire can draw sizable indie bands with national footprints, while serving as a laid-back lounge on nights without bookings. As a nod to Voltaire’s era, the bar will serve absinthe and mead. There will be cabaret-style tables and chairs up front, and a sushi bar in the back, along with a cluster of comfy, mismatched chairs and sofas.

“It’s not a room where we can do punk rock and heavy stuff,” Rullman says. “That stuff will stay at Respectable Street [also owned by Rodney Mayo, a couple doors down]. There’s no room to slam-dance in here. That’s not to say there won’t be room for people to dance and move around, but it’s not set up for something too extreme. So ideally I will be booking stuff that’s a little out of the ordinary. The idea is to book special events, parties, experiences, happenings. If your band wants to play here, come up with a reason to do the show. Let’s turn it into a party—maybe it’s someone in the band’s birthday, maybe it’s a reunion show, maybe it’s an album release, maybe it’s a charity benefit show.”

South Florida singer-songwriter Brady Newbill played a “sneak preview” show at Voltaire on Aug. 18. On Facebook, he praised the venue’s “great sound, great aesthetic, great atmosphere. A cozy vibe for performer and audience alike. It finally feels like the South Florida music scene has a home court again.”

A performance from last Friday's sneak preview show. Photo courtesy of Joseph R. Steiner.

A performance from last Friday’s sneak preview show. Photo courtesy of Joseph R. Steiner.

“The space is set up to do all kinds of things, and it doesn’t need to be music-related,” Rullman says. “We might be doing some comedy nights. We’ll be renting the room out for parties. I can see wedding receptions and rehearsal dinners happening up here from time to time. We can bring in food from Kapow and Hullabaloo.”

These restaurants, across the street from Voltaire, speak to Rodney Mayo’s growing dominance of the 500 block of Clematis Street, established over three decades. Mayo also runs Subculture Coffee and Lost Weekend. As a second-floor speakeasy, Voltaire is situated just above the latter, a lively lounge with pool and foosball tables, arcade games and a hip soundtrack. Before Mayo opened Lost Weekend, its address, at 526 Clematis St., had been vacant for some 35 years.

“It’s one of those buildings that’s always been here, and people just walked past it, and didn’t really notice it,” Rullman says. “Rodney purchased it six or seven years ago. It was an apartment building, and from what people say, it was an old hippie crash pad. The wallpaper was newspaper, and they’d drawn over it, and there was a lot of really trippy artwork. That’s the rumor, anyway. I don’t know if it’s haunted; I like to think it is.”

You can draw your own conclusions this weekend, with three nights of eclectic 9 p.m. concerts presented free of charge. Thursday night will feature the funk/jazz/soul group Public Sounds Collective; South Florida psych-punk amalgam Dead and Loving It will headline Friday night; and Miami’s Gold Dust Lounge, an instrumental hybrid of self-described “post-surf, noir, spy-fi rock-n-roll,” will play Saturday night.

Rullman has also scheduled major touring bands through the fall, including post-rock favorites Unwed Sailor (Oct. 6); Marbin, a Chicago by way of Israel jazz-rock band (Oct. 8); and New York shoegazers Shana Falana (Nov. 9). Expanding its sonic palette, Voltaire has also dedicated future Saturday nights to a drag cabaret in the spirit of the late Clematis Street venue The Lounge, and Sunday nights to blues.

To start, the venue will be open Wednesdays to Sundays, with possible special events slated on select Mondays and Tuesdays. For the full schedule, visit sub-culture.org/voltaire.

As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.