Memorial Day Weekend in any major vacation destination is a huge clusterfuck, so bemoaning this over and over again every year is pointless. Okay, so you don’t want to get anywhere near South Beach — that’s fine, what with the current police state there, you probably won’t easily be able to enter the island anyways if you’re not a resident.
How about keeping it local in every sense of the word? There are plenty of options this weekend that involve homegrown music at laid-back venues far away from most causeway traffic woes.
*Tonight, May 25, check out Sweat Records‘ early in-store at 8 p.m., featuring Cog Nomen, phAxas, and Pocket of Lollipops. These acts have little in common except for a sort of out-there vibe and a willingness to fuse electronics and live instrumentation. You probably know phAxas as one-third of live electronic act organicArma, and Cog Nomen features local legend Buffalo Brown. Pocket of Lollipops, meanwhile, is a husband-and-wife duo (awww) that specializes in a kind of New Wave-inflected sound. Admission is free. Sweat Records, 5505 NE 2nd Ave., Miami. All ages. Call 786-693-9309, or visit sweatrecordsmiami.com
*Also tonight, prog/rock/reggae/punk/pop/jazz/and so on trio Jacobs Ladder brings its high-energy stage show back to its favorite stomping grounds, Churchill’s. You can always count on the boys t bring along friends in fancifully named bands, and this time around, that includes Toad Eyes and another act called, simply, Queef. Keep it classy! Admission is $10 at the door. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Churchill’s Pub, 5501 NE 2nd Ave., Miami. Age 18 and up. Call 305-757-1807, or visit churchillspub.com
*More going on tonight downtown: Local Anglophiles Rebel return to the scene with a release party for their new EP at the Vagabond. They’re supported here by Boxwood, the one-man-band that’s gotten nods in Miami New Times’ best-of. If you’re riding Critical Mass before this, you can wheel on in starting at 9 p.m. with secure bike parking and fresh BBQ on the grill. The usual resident DJs, like Ray Milian and Run Sevim Run, spin your favorite indie and dance hits as always. The Vagabond, 30 NE 14th St., Miami. Admission is free before 11 p.m., $5 after. Age 21 and up. Call 305-379-0508, or visit thevagabondmiami.com
*On Saturday, May 26, you might head a little further off the beaten trail, to Bougainvillea’s, in the heart of South Miami. There you can catch a free show by Robert Elias and the Revenge, a unique local act in that Elias unabashedly plays flamboyant, vaguely glam-influenced pop. His music and live show are polished and energetic, burnished by years writing and singing backup for some of Latin pop’s biggest stars. Elias sings in English, though, and has radio domination on his mind. 10 p.m. at Bougainvillea’s Old Florida Tavern, 7221 SW 58th Ave., Miami. Age 21 and up. Call 305-669-8577, or visit bougiesbar.com
*Sunday, May 27 you have a couple of standby, reliable options depending on your personal taste predilections. At Bardot, you can catch Miami Latin jam legends the Spam Allstars for just $10. If you’ve been here for more than a week you know how that goes. 9 p.m. at Bardot, 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Admission is $10; age 21 and up. Call 305-576-7750, or visit bardotmiami.com
Over at the Vagabond, the ’90s Homecoming party returns for its second annual installment, with all of those decades’ favorites played live by a band dubbed the Bailouts. The DJs on deck promise hip-hop, dance, and “alternative” hits — remember when “alternative” was an actual genre label? Reminisce for a door charge of $10. Age 21 and up. The Vagabond, 30 NE 14th St., Miami. Call 305-379-0508, or visit thevagabondmiami.com