Arboles Libres Unroot Crowd at Churchill’s

By | November 4th, 2010 | 2 Comments
Juan “Nacho” Londono

Miami band Arboles Libres at Churchill's Pub

At Churchill’s last night, Arboles Libres did me two good turns. First guitarist Eddie Moreno tracked me down to give me my phone, which I’d left on the bar out back and didn’t even know I was missing. Then, Moreno and his two band mates — guitarist/vocalist/harmonica player Juan “Nacho” Londono and drummer Anthony Genovese — roused the folk rocker who slumbers in my soul with their brand of sincere, crescendoing, simple music.

Like another great rock trio, the Violent Femmes, Arboles Libres combine the raw energy of rock-n-roll with the sonic clarity of a jazz combo. Their music passes freely from slow and soothing to jumpy to raucous as their lyrics flow from Spanish to English and back again. Within a song or two of their roughly 30-minute set last night, they had breathed oxygen into the small crowd (as arboles, or trees, are wont to do) and moved two chicks, drunk on alcohol and tight tunes, to dance on the stage. (It resembled dancing.) Playing between Jesse Jackson and Rachel Goodrich, Arboles Libres injected several doses of adrenaline into the lineup of top-notch Miami talent and more than held their own. Here are some photos from their set and a video of Arboles Libres — one of the few gems on the Miami Music Festival roster — playing “Comienzos.”

Juan “Nacho” Londono
Arboles Libres singer Juan “Nacho” Londono, with dancers at his back

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The 2010 Miami Music Festival unpromises to be good

By | October 17th, 2010 | 4 Comments

Miami Music Festival Logo

The modern music festival presents the music lover with a dilemma. On the one hand, it is a voracious capitalist beast, sucking money out of attendees’ bank accounts and nipping at the heels of corporate sponsors. In the end, organizers rake in tons of cash, the host city gets a cut, and the bands get a little richer. The attendees – here’s the other hand – they get the memories.

In its second year, the Miami Music Festival (Nov. 11 – 14) amps up the dilemma by cutting the bands out of the profit. In fact, musicians must submit a $35 application fee to be considered for the MMF lineup. At which point MMF forfeits its claim to be a festival and becomes a short-term business model with a great name.

Perhaps the $35 non-refundable application fee explains the dearth of known quantities in the MMF lineup. Among the 400-plus acts, only the Vivian Girls have national clout … and they’re from Brooklyn!

Without the allure of national headliners, one would at least expect to see Miami’s musical core beefing up the lineup. But don’t get excited for Rachel Goodrich, Jessie Jackson, Raffa & Rainer, Sloane Peterson, or Harvey and the Buckets. They’re not playing. When I asked Irwin Kornfeld, MMF’s CEO and organizer, why, he turned the table.

“We don’t choose acts,” he said. “The acts choose us.”

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