|DJ Le Spam and crew tear up the main room at Jazid on Saturday|
Featuring the Spam Allstars, Suenalo, and more
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Jazid, Miami Beach
Better than: Bottle service and a roomful of fake tits.
It was 9:13 p.m. and across the street on Washington Ave., a couple hundred members of the steroid and cosmetic surgery set were waiting outside one of the Beach's so-called superclubs. No one had taken a step forward in the last hour and a half. Females in six-inch heels propped themselves on one leg, alternating left and right, like anxious flamingos. Bored beefheads double-checked billfolds and messed with their Blackberries. And, unfortunately for everyone, the doors wouldn't open for another 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, I was at Jazid, draining my third Red Stripe while Natalie Bretoneche and her guitarist finished another acoustic song in the grass-and-asphalt backyard garden. Posted on a nearby wall was a permit that read, "City of Miami Beach: The maximum legal occupant content for this special event is 100 persons." However, there were only 16 audience members huddled around the tiny eight-by-eight stage. Earlier, Jacob Jeffries and Fabian Hernandez had performed for similarly small but supportive groups. So, while the party had started before sundown, it hadn't actually started. But, at least, we weren't stranded on the sidewalk counting our cash.
Long a refuge for the local live music community, Jazid has never
had a dress code or a door charge or any other kind of exclusionary
policy. Through financial difficulties, near closure, and new
ownership, the club has repeatedly refused to abandon its commitment to
providing a totally accessible, fully sustainable nightlife
alternative. From its earliest incarnation as a jazz-only joint to the
later latin funk, cumbia, and reggae version, the emphasis has always
been the cultivation of a tight, dedicated scene. And this Saturday
night -- despite the $30 price tag -- was no different.
The crowd came late as usual. Minutes after 11 p.m.,
two-hundred-plus people suddenly flashmobbed the place. Twenty-year-old
dread-headed beach bums encircled the bar. Cliques of mature women
worked toward the center of the balloon-flooded dancefloor. Marketing
pros in rolled-up shirtsleeves, slacks, and sandals claimed their seats
along the walls. Everyone drank -- either Heineken or Corona or a glass
of red wine -- and I had a fourth Red Stripe while DJ Le Spam and crew
started a quick funk flood.
Over the next hour, the three-piece horn section, the
shadow-shrouded percussionist, and Le Spam at his decks hardly halted.
The band blasted through a non-stop set of electro latin tunes,
intermittent techno segues, and grunt-powered vocal solos. The party
had started. The high point had come with Suenalo still in the wings.
As midnight rolled past, Jazid entered yet another year, still defying
the odds and always driving toward a simple, solid standard.
Personal Bias: I could make my home in the club's upstairs
party loft -- alongside their seemingly stoned, bronze-skinned Buddha
-- smoking and drinking and sunk into a worn corner of the leather
Random Detail: A group of Miami Beach apartment residents
washing their clothes and drinking beer in a back-alley laundromat
while catching a free outdoor show from the other side of the fence.
By the Way: This one was Jazid's champagne birthday, turning 13 on the 13th.