But what happens when you couple this volatile live show with a much-anticipated homecoming after a successful trek through Europe? You get a serious party – even by Miami standards. Saturday, Jacuzzi Boys played a blistering show for friends, family, and fans that can be described as a cross between the party scene in Real Genius and an average night at CBGB during its heyday.
After parking in one of the few coveted gravel parking spots left – somewhere between the derelict double-decker bus and the hotdog vendor’s camouflage truck – I made my way into Churchill’s Pub to find out I’d missed the official opener: a juggling clown. Of course, I called shenanigans on what had to be a joke, only to later catch a glimpse of the young clown collecting his clown-accoutrements in the parking lot.
Local legends the Holy Terrors were the only billed opening act for JB’s homecoming show. Kind of like Miami’s Mudhoney, the Holy Terrors had the right sound, the drive, and even had its share of industry superlatives in its day, but apparently wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time. The members have an interesting and somewhat tragic history but come together as a great band and still-functioning piece of Miami rock and roll history. Their straight-ahead punk rock proved the perfect way to kick off the musical portion of the night. I particularly enjoyed the novelty of the Terrors’ dedicated tambourine player, Brandon Samdahl, who shook it with gusto the entire time the band had the stage.
As the Terrors broke down their gear, a bit more “what the fuck” stepped through the back door of Churchill’s in the form of a fully realized Mariachi band. The band proceeded to play their way to the stage and perform an entire set of Mexican standards. The move was a charming twist on the part of the Jacuzzi Boys and took just about everyone by surprise.
After hanging a hand-painted Jacuzzi Boys banner the band had been given in Europe, JB lead singer and guitarist Gabriel Alcala asked for some “sexy” lighting and gave a hearty “Hello Miami!” to the crowd. A red glow warmed the room as Gabriel asked everyone to “give it up for the fucking clown!” Kicking into the first number of the set, the Jacuzzi Boys wasted no time helping the hometown crowd turn Churchill’s into a rowdy dance party, complete with a moshpit full of head-shaking and pogoing, and an entire stage of dancing females.
When the second song started, a drink sailed overhead as the crowd began dancing even more aggressively to the JB’s ’verbed out jams. Churchill’s dance floor had become a beer fueled Slip ’n Slide and the stage continued to sprout even more of the dancing female fans. The band sounded tight in way that can only be honed via months on the road, and appeared even more confident than before they left – if that’s possible. They also appeared completely enthralled with the turnout for their homecoming event, which they’ve earned considering their heavy touring schedule and recent string of major accolades.
As the Jacuzzi Boys kicked off the title track from their most recent LP, Glazin’, a beer bottle flew into the wall at the back of the club seemingly on cue while one of the young ladies dancing on stage was lifted overhead by the audience.
And the energy only increased. Each song brought on a visible surge from the already out-of-control audience as Churchill’s basked in a surreal cloud of smoke, red lights, and reverb. It was an appropriate welcoming ritual for the band the gravely voiced owner of Churchill’s proclaimed to be “the best band in Miami.”
– By David Von Bader
Photos by Paige Place:
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