with Danse Macabre and Deaf Poets
October 1, 2010
Churchill’s Pub, Downtown Miami, FL
If you’ve never been to Churchill’s Pub in Downtown Miami, you’ve never truly experienced the South Florida local scene. Churchill’s shines as a beacon of dingy yellow light on NE 2nd Avenue.
Once you swam through the sea of high schoolers smoking cigarettes outside, the inside featured Slaughter House-Five playing on a projector and an audience jumping up and down to the music of just another unknown local band. The crowd cheered as a guy with a tambourine played along with the band and a trumpet player strutted around the stage. The unknown band, later discovered to be named Danse Macabre, brought an ideal opening presence to Churchill’s Pub. As Danse Macabre finished, I stepped outside to the backyard patio while Passion Pits’ mega-hit “Sleepy Head” was being remixed by local DJs.
When I walked back into the pub, I saw local big timers Jacob’s Ladder setting up their equipment as groupies assembled around the front of the stage. While Oren Maisner, the guitarist/vocalist tuned his cherry wood guitar, bassist Sammy Gonzalez seized the opportunity to yell, “Check one, check one, checking for fucking herpes!” The crowd approved of the band’s raunchy humor and threw their hands up to the sky once the first chord was struck.
This alternative-rock band made a name for themselves in South Florida and the rest of the country by playing on the Vans Warped Tour and opening for Fall Out Boy, Bayside and Forever the Sickest Kids among other major alt-rock acts.
As Jacobs Ladder got deeper into the set, the audience sang along with head banging from the young, the old, the hipsters, the scenesters… everyone.
Formed in 2002, Jacob’s Ladder attempts to maintain a strong relationship with their original South Florida fan base aiming their music at both adolescents and adults. The decidedly old school alternative-rock sound the band plays has become a bit of a rarity in the “recent” trend of music. As Jacob’s Ladder got deeper into the set, the audience sang along with head banging from the young, the old, the hipsters, the scenesters…everyone. The whole scene felt very vintage 1990s. Drummer Brian Hernandez played with an overwhelming passion harnessed by the other members. Even after eight years, Jacob’s Ladder still seems to love what they do.
“Jump on the fucking stage!” the band members yelled, giving a perfect opportunity for a young girl to scramble onstage and dance around with one of her friends. Around the third song, more people seemed drawn from outlying parts of the pub to join the band in the main room.
As Jacob’s Ladder finished their last song, “Who Pulled the Breaks,” the Deaf Poets stood near the stage looking eager to start. The Deaf Poets spent little time bullshitting and ripped into their first song with serious electricity. Singer/guitarist Sean Wouters pranced around stage capitalizing on Nicolas Espinosa’s wild slamming on the drums. The duo’s unique style can be simply described as garage, blues, indie rock, however they are certainly not another White Stripes rip-off. This two-man group played with such power and excitement, that by the second song they were completely out of breath. The crowed bounced up and down for the remainder of the set, spilling their $3.50 tallboy PBRs and jamming to one of the brightest young acts in South Florida.
When the bands finally stopped playing, the exhausted audience slowly disappeared out the front door reminiscing about their adventurous night at the infamous Churchill’s Pub… and hoping their car still had its wheels.
Review by Yarittza Almora
Photos courtesy Jacob’s Ladder