Miami Music Festival: Day Two, Strike Two

By | November 13th, 2010 | 8 Comments
Fernando Perdomo at MMF

Fernando Perdomo, left, shredding for a sparse crowd at Tobacco Road.

After the Miami Music Festival’s disappointing opening night, my plan was to go to Tobacco Road for a promising Miami triumvirate: Madame Omine, Fernando Perdomo’s Dreaming In Stereo, and Arboles Libres (all signed to Perdomo’s Miami-based label Forward Motion Records).

Perdomo sat in with Omine on the outside stage, his guitar work adding a controlled frenzy to her rollicking roadhouse blues. Probably the foremost pleasure of the night was seeing how much Perdomo enjoys himself on stage. The rumpled man wields a wicked ax and routinely tosses off riffs that give standard chord progressions new life. Perdomo is an incorrigible local (see “I’m Not Gonna Move to L.A.”) who has done more than his fair share for Miami’s music scene, and it was good to see him get his rocks off on stage — his own Forward Motion-sponsored stage — at a venerable Miami venue.

Problem was, I was one of only about 30 people watching (29, if you don’t count Perdomo’s mother). Attendance at the other MMF stage upstairs was even worse. In fact, there might have been more people inside watching the Portland-Oklahoma game, seemingly oblivious that a music festival was underway, than there were at the two stages combined. So Perdomo and Omine gamely sent their musical energy out into an empty night, and in return they got a round of applause befitting a show-and-tell presentation.

As much as I wanted to stay for Arboles Libres, I decided to head over to Bardot for local Latin fusion ensemble Locos Por Juana. Despite the mounting evidence — a lame opening night and a dead Tobacco Road — I wasn’t ready to give up on MMF. There were, after all, hundreds of shows scheduled in scores of venues around the city. They couldn’t all be flops, I figured.

But when I got to Bardot at 1 a.m. — just in time for the scheduled start of Loco Por Juana’s set — the bouncer told me the band wasn’t playing. “Loco Por Juana said fuck the Miami Music Festival,” he explained. I don’t know any details beyond that. For all I know it’s not true. Maybe LPJ’s trombonist came down with strep. But what I can report is that the band — the venue’s headlining band — didn’t play and no one at Bardot seemed to care. As at Tobacco Road, few Bardot patrons betrayed any awareness that a music festival was underway. In lieu of Locos, a DJ stepped in and no one seemed to mind, least of all the guy getting a vigorous lap dance on a couch in the corner.

To whatever extent these vignettes suggest the Miami Music Festival remains a deeply flawed enterprise, no closer to joining the ranks of SXSW and CMJ in this its second year than in 2009, it is of course possible that things went far better at some of the other shows across Miami last night. If so, speak up in a comment. With another full day of MMF ahead of me, I need my faith restored.


Here are some photos from the event.

Omine Eager
Omine Eager, a Tobacco Road veteran

Fernando Perdomo at MMF
Fernando Perdomo, Dreaming In Stereo

Love Shoulder
Perdomo made the most of a lonesome scene.


All photos by Robby Campbell. See more photos from the Miami Music Festival HERE.

8 Comments on “Miami Music Festival: Day Two, Strike Two”

  1. 1 Scott said at 6:53 pm on November 13th, 2010:

    It’s sad to read that the second night was no better than the first. It’s like the music festival that wasn’t.

    Btw, Dig these photos. Like all of Robby’s photography. Great scene photography.

  2. 2 Jamie said at 10:58 pm on November 13th, 2010:

    Saw 3 pretty good bands at Flavour Fri nite but definitely not well attended although upstairs was slightly better than the ghost town downstairs. Sad…
    Heading to see Neveroff @ Love Hate now. Hoping it’s better tonite

  3. 3 Robby Campbell said at 11:07 pm on November 13th, 2010:

    Thanks Scott. Very much appreciated.

  4. 4 Jordan Melnick said at 11:08 pm on November 13th, 2010:

    Enjoy. Report back. Off to Gemma Lounge myself for Viv Girls and Beings.

  5. 5 fernando perdomo said at 5:43 pm on November 14th, 2010:!/photo.php?pid=243986&id=139207272797653&fbid=140863339298713

    proof the show was packed….

  6. 6 Jordan Melnick said at 7:42 pm on November 14th, 2010:

    I was there for Omine and Dreaming in Stereo, and the crowd was as described. Same thing at Cafeina on Thursday and a bit more for Vivian Girls on Saturday.
    I’m happy there was a better crowd at one point in the night, but by 11ish it had dispersed.

  7. 7 M.H. said at 3:17 pm on November 15th, 2010:

    There are always two sides to every story, guys. I can tell you what happened at Bardot… Locos Por Juana refused to play on a stage with the Miami Music Festival banner hanging over it. Why? Simply because it reads, “Emerging Artists”. Since the band refused to play (and they were the last band for the night) the venue had met its part of the deal already which was to accept wristbands at the door until the last MMF act had played. The band messed it up, not the festival. Unfortunately stuff like this happens and people don’t always know the behind the scenes story. On another note, not all shows were poorly attended. The Stage (new venue in the Design District, grand opening was Friday at MMF) was pretty booming with Cat Shell and Coffee House Gypsies on stage. And besides, Miami is not a live music town, we all know this already, so what’s the point being made here? The whole purpose to this festival is to wake Miami up to the pleasure of watching a live musical performance, particularly a local one. It will not happen over night, but eventually… it will.

  8. 8 Jordan Melnick said at 3:31 pm on November 15th, 2010:

    When a band doesn’t play its scheduled gig for a petty reason, it reflects really badly on the band. In this case, it also suggests the bad relationship between MMF and local musicians. In all of our MMF coverage, particularly re attendance, I am speaking from my experience and what people I trust have told me. I picked shows based on quality of music — across the board, the turnout was disappointing. The fact that Miami is not a live music town is presumably what MMF is trying to change. To that end, it has to do things differently next year.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.