Boasting only one nationally known band and few local stars, the diamonds in the Miami Music Festival lineup are few and far between. Here’s a guide to help you in the treasure hunt. You can also click HERE to find out why all the bands you’d expect or hope to see in the lineup aren’t.
MMF really gets going on Friday, Nov. 12, but there are a few bonus performances on Thursday at Cafeina, in Wynwood.
Mike Mineo @ 11 p.m. (inside) – When Mineo puts his mouth to the mic, make sure to hold onto your pomegranate mojito. Named Best Male Vocalist of 2010 by the Broward New Times, Mineo combines a velvet delivery with a smart, playful approach to songwriting. Mineo’s songs are informed by the classics, showcasing arrangements from blue-eyed soul (“Peaceful Daze”), light jazz fusion (“Easy Livin’”), and classic pop (“Truth Plagues Plato”). mikemineo.com
So Timeless @ 11 p.m. (outside) – Smooth Bay Area big band soul-hop with a blaring horn section and organ grinder. So Timeless is a 20-plus piece outfit, and even if the whole crew doesn’t make the trip from the West Coast, you will be dancing. They perform again on Friday at midnight, same place.
These shows will be at Bardot, in Wynwood.
Liset Alea @ 10 p.m. – A globetrotting Cuban-born singer, Alea’s energetic, world-influenced sound will fill Bardot with sweaty dancing fools. Alea was the original singer for the New York cult trip hop outfit Etro Anime, a seriously talented group that is now signed to EMI. www.myspace.com/lisetalea
DC-3 @ midnight – Straight-forward powerpop, this Miami band plays addictive, purchase-worthy music grounded in solid songwriting. Fernando Perdomo, seemingly everywhere, always fantastic, plays bass. Derek Cintron befuddles a crowd with a juggling act that includes stand-up drum duties while fronting vocals. Tony Medina rounds out DC-3 with his driving guitar. Collectively, they resemble Squeeze and Jellyfish. If you want to see a professional concert and not just another “show,” go see DC-3.
Locos por Juana @ 1 a.m. – End your night with a Fela-influenced funk fusion by way of Colombia. Locos por Juana are known for their live set for a reason.
These shows will be at Bougainvillea’s, in Coconut Grove.
funkUs @ 9 p.m. – Orlando’s favorite sons are major players in the jam band world. Like their Grateful Dead forefathers, funkUs combines bluegrass and psych-rock to form a very friendly blend of jams. Perfect for Bougie’s laid-back atmosphere.
The Basiqs @ 1 a.m. – With a weird approach to hip hop and electronica, the Basiqs deserve attention for the song “Jet Pack” alone. http://www.myspace.com/thebasiqs
This show will be at The Stage, in Wynwood.
The State Of @ midnight (inside) – One of the better-known Miami acts playing MMF, Steph Taylor and Nabedi Osorio consistently find new sounds despite being a duo. They cover many genres with a chic-edgy sadness and always plays a good show.
These shows will be at Tobacco Road, in Brickell.
Omine @ 11:30 p.m. – Miami’s original folk queen will play Miami’s oldest bar, a venue that Omine has played countless times before. If you’re seeing her for the first time, buy her a drink. (She likes whiskey.)
Dreaming in Stereo @ 12:20 a.m. – More Fernando Perdomo magic. Perdomo is one of music’s best kept secrets and this project is proof of his songwriting prowess. With an encyclopedic knowledge of pop rock, Perdomo creates imaginative music with unmistakable flair, a la Jon Brion minus the quirks. Dreaming in Stereo will play again on Saturday at midnight at The Stage.
This show will be at Bayfront Park.
Tito Puente Jr. @ 4 p.m. – The son of “El Rey” carries on the mambo legacy.
These shows will be at Charcoal Studio, in the Design District.
Juke @ 9 p.m. – Dirty white blues rock played well. Not reinventing the wheel, just straight no-bullshit amplified blues.
Juke will also play Saturday at 3 p.m. at Bayfront Park on the Miami New Times stage.
Blond Fuzz @ 10 p.m. – Classic garage rockers from Boca, Blond Fuzz is one of the few bands at MMF I’m excited to see. You’ll see them on Pitchfork soon enough, so you might as well see them here first. Short, rollicking, and fuzzy with a purpose.
Thomas Wynn & The Believers @ midnight – Wynn is a backwoods singer/songwriter with the voice of John Fogerty and a rustic tinge. From Orlando, Wynn will remind locals of Jesse Jackson.
Devon Allman’s Honeybears @ 1 a.m. – This is Greg Allman’s boy and it’s what you’d expect – well-played blue-eyed blues and some honky tonk.
These shows will be at Gemma Lounge, on Lincoln Road in South Beach.
Hard Nips @ 10 p.m. – With each band member assuming the same last name (Yoko Nips, Gooch Nips, Mariko Nips, Emi Nips) like their heroes the Ramones, this is a cohesive Japanese punk bunch. Gimmicks aside, Hard Nips (word play: nipples/Nippon) can play. Their songs vary from punk to new wave, like their most obvious influence, Shonen Knife. A perfect opener for the Vivian Girls.
Vivian Girls @ 1 a.m. – I bet they never thought they’d be the biggest act at a 400+ band music festival.