Part 1 – Miami

First leg of a three-week, multi-city adventure. My gracious host Dio had to work the week I visited him in Miami, but he set me up pretty well to keep myself entertained.

 

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Throughout the week, we held a good mix of work (Dio played, I watched), socializing, and good ol’ fashioned partying. Dio’s first gig was Andres Belli’s radio show at Klangbox.fm, also featuring Harry Männil and Alo Gonzalez, followed immediately by his weekly spot at SHOTS Miami as half of the duo Boogie Houser. With some luck, I’ll have the recorded radio show set for you soon – definitely worth a listen and features one of Dio’s latest productions, a Burning Man-inspired tune entitled Vamos Pa La Playa.

Still in Wynwood, we dropped by Coyo, a marvelous fast-food Mexican place with a great speakeasy in the back. We had some dinner and caught the end of Steve Middath‘s set before jetting off to the Electric Pickle.

The “Pickle” is a magical place I had been hearing about since first meeting Dio on New Years’ this year. This place hosts the most interesting and funky, groovy, music nerds’ music to be found in the city. Somehow both seedy and quaint, this place definitely has a raw intimacy to it that seems to invite hard-core dance partiers of all ilk.

Around 3 am(?), Dio went on for his third and last set of the night alongside two other DJs, including the Pickle’s audio guru Mitch. I was charmed by the purposeful intensity with which Mitch managed the sound levels during the other DJs’ sets, juxtaposed with both a teddy bear-like warmth (Dio and I each hugged him like 5 times that night) and a chronic, self-indulgent habit of deliberately leading his ready crowd totally astray for his own amusement. From cutting a song off abruptly in the middle to slowing a record to a crawl before playing a new tune, and even turning the master volume nearly off mid-tune, just to hear the random comment of some drunk girl standing nearby in the booth (yes, this was me), Mitch had a happy talent for keeping the die-hard late-late-nighters just thrilled to be puppetted around by his random, manic goofiness. Such a delight to witness.

After getting a pre-Burning Man mani-pedi with Dio’s sister and joining his family for dinner, Dio and I went to see Franco Alexander and Michael Colangelo play at Lemon City Studios, a large warehouse/gallery space that featured live art, a friendly guard chihuahua, and a powerful tequila-sangria concoction, cheekily named Shavasana.

The music and the vibe were lively, but we took advantage of a group smoke break to say goodbyes and head over to see Tim Sweeney at Bardot. With a 6 am flight to San Francisco pending, we reluctantly dragged ourselves from the club around 2 am to get about an hour of sleep. In about 36 hours, we’d be in Black Rock City… (Part 2!)

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