ANR ‘Stay Kids’ Release Party Photos, Recap

By | March 6th, 2011 | 13 Comments

ANR's Michael-John Hancock in Mad Man mode.

When I first got to Eve after 11 Saturday night, the place was surprisingly uncrowded even for a Miami show. I had a brief chat with ANR frontman and northern transplant Michael-John Hancock about how in no other city do the shows start at midnight. I felt for Hancock and bandmate Brian Robertson, who were celebrating the release of their latest album, Stay Kids. Driven by Hancock’s unabashed crooning and dance-or-die drumming and Robertson’s feverish synthery, the 10-track effort places ANR firmly at the head of Miami’s indie rock scene (and in hefty debt to TV On The Radio, among others).

But while the duo is getting props from as far away as London and scoring opening spots for Animal Collective (another obvious influence), they can’t even pack a medium-sized venue in their adopted hometown for the release of a really good album. What’s worse, ANR has the funk, energy, and hooks to give Miami the party it endlessly craves, but at this point in the band’s career the effort seems wasted on a paltry turnout.

I could indict Miami for its lassitude and stingy support of local music and call it a day, but I don’t think it’s as simple as that. After last night — and the many other nights when a local band played a capacity-crowd-worthy show to a half-empty room — I’ve decided that the issue is actually pretty complicated, variables including the venues, the bands, the people, the public transportation system, the layout of the city, on and on and on. In another town, say, Chicago, ANR’s local equivalent would have drawn a standing-room crowd to Eve’s local equivalent. And not only because the fans in Chicago are more passionate or supportive, but also because taking a train to a show is a helluva lot easier than driving, parking, paying the Master Meter in the middle of nofuckingwhere, and hoping no one shatters your windshield for your D&Gs. In Chicago, three inches of snow might have thinned the crowd a bit. Last night in Miami, ten minutes of rain seems to have cut the turnout in half.

The transportation issue alone is demoralizing. (Does anyone think this city’s busses will ever take them anywhere but work?) Despair’s around the corner when you factor in the other issues. You can’t guilt a populace into giving a shit about its own music. You can’t put the responsibility of fomenting a cultural awakening on any one band. And evidently $5 Heinekens (last night’s promo) have limited allure.

At this point, I think Miami’s mainland venues need to take a lesson from their Miami Beach counterparts in hype. I’m not suggesting a glass staircase and getting Jermaine Dupri to host (or Cee Lo for that matter). But I do think the downtown venues need to do something to make their events more enticing. Right now, I doubt too many people get excited to go to a local show. I’d bet in most cases the line between attending and staying in is gossamer thin. Meanwhile, people will buy a goddamn outfit to stand in line outside of LIV. I know the gulf between LIV and Eve is wider than the Biscayne Bay, but the desire of each establishment’s clientele is the same: They want to party. They want to walk into a room with energy and get lost in it.* Getting a good band on stage is simply not enough. Not in Miami.

Again, this all comes to mind because last night seemed primed to be a party. You had a really good band — two actually — cheap beer, entrancing visuals courtesy of Coral Morphologic, and cupcakes (!) … Instead of a party, though, it was a show and a fucking great one nonetheless. Unadulterated indie quartet Little Beard nailed their opening set, and ANR hit every note. Hard. Really, really hard. Eyes narrowed, hair flying, Hancock sang with the intensity of a gambler with a scary amount of skin in the game, while Robertson probably jammed a finger or two slamming the keys.

By the time they took the stage at around 1:30, the crowd had grown to almost respectable, but I’m sure the band wanted more. I was several Heinys in at this point so I could be wrong, but I interpreted ANR’s set as an act of aggression, toward the crowd that was there, the one that wasn’t, and toward themselves in equal measure. In other words, it was one of the best locals shows I’ve been to period. You shoulda been there.


Little Beard frontwoman Sarah Attias


A mini-mosh during ANR’s set


Little Beard guitarist/vocalist Michael Lee


Little Beard bassist Edwin Beauchamp


ANR’s other half, Brian Robertson, before the show

*To this end, Vagabond leads the pack downtown. Ditto for Bardot in Midtown, though in my experience the “Bardouche” nickname is deserved.

All photos by Robby Campbell


13 Comments on “ANR ‘Stay Kids’ Release Party Photos, Recap”

  1. 1 Sloth of Agnar said at 4:00 pm on March 6th, 2011:

    Dude,

    Vagabond leads the pack in downtown?! Are you mad? THEY, have the pompous attitude of a big name club, with nothing to show for it. They’re extremely snooty and only book AWFUL FUCKING BANDS. With the exception of a few great locals, they got lucky with black kids, and all the rest are shit. To say they lead the pack against GC and even Eve who just had Curren$y not too long ago, you’ve got to be sick in your little shitty head. And bardouche? Get a grip, i’m seriously thinking at this point that this website and it’s opinions will be labeled Douched Miami

  2. 2 Jordan Melnick said at 4:14 pm on March 6th, 2011:

    @Sloth Again, I prescribe that you simply read the words in front of your face. I say Vagabond leads in terms of creating a party atmosphere (see this picture for circumstantial evidence). Thanks for your comment though. Stripped of every other word, it actually has some value.

    Also, I wasn’t really thinking of Grand Central when I wrote that. To me, GC is all venue, whereas the others are venue-bars.

  3. 3 belch said at 4:54 pm on March 6th, 2011:

    I’ve never viewed the Vagabond as pompous or snooty. Bardot, on the other hand, is a midtown spot that thinks it’s on Washington Ave.

  4. 4 Gabe said at 5:03 pm on March 6th, 2011:

    Sloth,
    One: you anger me by forcing me to refer to you as “Sloth,” since the only person who should be referred to in passing by that designation was the lovable, deformed hero from my favorite childhood movie. If you’re so passionate about the scene in Miami, why don’t you grow a pair and rep by your own name?

    Secondly, Miami as a city, not just a scene, continues to suffer because of all of the reasons mentioned above. Anyone who denies that is simply not facing up to the multitude of problems the city faces by design, governance, and spirit. But absolutists such as yourself present another problem to its health and growth that went unmentioned. Every time I speak to someone about Miami they either rail against the city or blindly defend it—either way you can’t get a word in. You should give more credit to Beached. They definitely have their opinions and biases, but they give a pretty panoramic view, and they are adding to a dialogue that will only spur interest and improvement, not undermine it. As a part of the “scene,” you win either way.

    Also, all of the venues you’re so into suck. I’ve played them. (Well, I think it a few have new names) Any band that has ever toured knows that Miami can be a bust. That’s why so many only go as far down as Orlando. Sometimes it’s just not worth it. So what are YOU doing about it besides bitch on blogs and attend bad shows?

    Same number, different hood. It’s all good.

  5. 5 Jordan Melnick said at 6:17 pm on March 6th, 2011:

    @Gabe, first, thanks for the props. Second, you may want to read Senor Sloth’s spew of consciousness (if you haven’t already) on our Endless Summer II post. There are quite a few gems, and it’ll give you a good idea of who you’re dealing with. I would never want to discourage a commenter from speaking his mind. His “thoughts” are welcome here. It’s just that he has a … peculiar perspective on this subject. “Grand Central for life!”

  6. 6 Sloth of Agnar said at 7:33 pm on March 6th, 2011:

    I’ll give you a hand Gabe. Swag.

    And you’ve clearly not brought a good crowd to any of these venues, because any venue can be an amazing venue if the crowd is feeling it, and enjoying it, and the music’s good. Your music is either, not good, or you don’t bring people out, hence making the venue “suck”.

    P.S. I killed Sloth and assumed his identity by eating his heart.

    Duh.

    Jordan, why not give me my own Beached Miami section so that we might get another extreme view of the scene, because yours is clearly on the negative extreme.

  7. 7 arielle said at 8:56 pm on March 6th, 2011:

    congrats, beached, you have your first real hater. now, you’re a real site!

  8. 8 Jordan Melnick said at 9:49 pm on March 6th, 2011:

    @Sloth No.

  9. 9 Leah said at 12:40 pm on March 7th, 2011:

    This was my first time going to Eve and I was thoroughly unimpressed. I’m willing to put up with $10 cover for a place that I feel is worthy. The sound was abysmal, at least for the majority of the Little Beard set (I didn’t make it to 1:30 AM when ANR finally got on stage–too late for me these days). Shows are supposed to be loud, but not a wall of sound. Vagabond > Eve.

    As for the issue of attendance at shows in this town, I think transportation is a really big part of it. It’s also the location of “indie” venues, though. The club “district” downtown is a lonely island surrounded by sketchiness. There aren’t a big variety of entertainment options open – restaurants, coffee places, etc. If you want to step outside for some fresh air, it’s just a sidewalk and homeless people out there.

    Perhaps it’s just like our sports teams. The level of real commitment just isn’t there (yet?).

  10. 10 Sloth of Agnar said at 3:19 am on March 8th, 2011:

    And that Jordan, is why you will never be a real journalist. Just an embittered music blogger who hates on anyone that doesn’t go to shows, then hate about it on their blog. Fucking failure. I hope Scott Plaganhoef of pitchfork bitch slaps you himself, and sets you straight. Not that they don’t change ratings based on backlash from fans. But still they’re more or less credible.

    Now swag with it. Because i will destroy you, Bitched Miami.

  11. 11 Veteran Of The Scene said at 2:40 pm on March 8th, 2011:

    @sloth.. First of all, Are you a grand central operative? which if that is the case, you should be fired cuz your stinking up the clubs rep with your shit mouth. Go back under your bridge, troll.. and come back when you can actually have a mature debate. If you are trying to win us over to your point of view, you are doing a shit job of it. Try the fine art of persuasion rather than being a complete douche bag.

  12. 12 Sloth of Agnar said at 4:51 pm on March 8th, 2011:

    I have nothing to do with GC. I’m just a fan of a legit club. And not a fan of Jordan’s biased, musical purist reviews of shit he doesn’t understand or see the scope of.

  13. 13 Greed Geragos of East Agnar said at 5:49 pm on March 8th, 2011:

    “I taw a trolly cat. I did! I did taw a troll…

    Your argument…oh wait. Good name Sloth.


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