While I grew up in South Florida and went to college in Miami, I never really immersed myself into the nightlife. As you can guess by my output here, I grew up on rock shows. So, with a Christmas break of nearly two weeks, I decided to be an investigative reporter and search for The Scene, an ever-elusive alternative/indie/underground culture, in South Florida. Something, anything, that proves my old stomping ground is more than retirees and South Beach superclubs.
Like any good reporter, I did my research, scouring the Internets for venues, performers, and promoters, without much luck. There lacks any cohesive resource for finding out what’s going on in South Florida, the nearly 75 mile stretch of communities off of I-95. Love it or hate it, at least BrightestYoungThings exists. The closest thing I found was The Honeycomb, which, while helpful, is far from comprehensive.
My search took me to Respectable Street Cafe, the “oldest alt music club in the SE USA,” for the Thursday night weekly Flaunt, which bills itself as an Indie / Hip Hop / Electro / Dance party. Nothing says “hipster bait” like $1 PBRs, so I was off to Clematis Street.
While DC was preparing for Snowpocalypse 2009, South Florida was being assaulted by torrential downpour. Ever go to The Living Seas at Epcot? The weather reminded me of how oceans were born: “the deluge.” So I’ll forgive Clematis for not exactly being at its finest on Thursday.
Respectable Street is a mid-sized venue, complete with a stage, dance floor, patio, and rows of couch/booth hybrids. The crowd was a disparate mix of tattooed punks, hipsters, and dress-to-impress kids who got lost on their way to Miami. Unity in the scene or a lack of options on a Thursday? You decide!
Musically, I was expecting something along the lines of DC9’s Liberation Dance Party: a mix of Pitchfork-approved dance tracks. I wasn’t disappointed; the DJ collective of Marvelous Kendall, The Commissioner, JJ Contramus, Glowtape, and Ozwaldus started the night with some indie-dancers like Girls’ “Lust for Life” and the Jokers of the Scene remix of “Little Secrets” by Passion Pit. As the night progressed, the music traversed down the La Roux-Calvin Harris axis, and the dance floor was packed and moving. A bit of hard techno was out of place and unwelcome to most (“What is this, the Jersey Shore?”), but after the brief Guido-foray, things were back to normal. Headlining DJ Jason Tyler brought a trumpet into the mix, a welcome but unusual addition to a DJ set. And when West Palm got down at Major Lazer O’clock, I felt at home.
I would definitely check out Flaunt again: cheap drinks, interesting crowd, above-average playlist, and a 3am close. Well done, West Palm. Well done.
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