Concert Review: Radio-Active Records' Eighth Anniversary Party, July 18

radioactivepunk.jpg
photo by Ian Witlen
Radio-Active's punk selection is serious.
Click here to view a full slideshow of photos from the event.

Radio-Active Records' Eighth Anniversary Party
With Beings, Jose El Rey, and the Shakers
Radio-Active Records, Fort Lauderdale
July 18, 2009


Better Than: Stumbling upon a rare 12" original vinyl of the Stooge's Fun House in mint condition at your neighbor's garage sale.

The Review:

In today's topsy-turvy world of bank bailouts, budget cuts and internet piracy, kudos must be given to the fellas over at Ft. Lauderdale's Radio-Active Records for adapting to the times and even persevering. The shop's key to success has been specialization, and the place has become Broward County's number one source for vinyl records. Perhaps the Don PĂ©rignon wasn't flowing at Radio-Active's eighth anniversary party on Saturday, July 18. But free pizza, complimentary drinks, solid discounts, and a blistering live rock lineup provided more than enough fizzle.

The show started with Miami trio Beings,  an outfit comprising veterans of many of the city's old scene staples. Bassist Mike Alen and lead vocalist/guitarist Ivan Marchena both most recently played in Map of the Universe, and drummer Beatriz Monteavaro played in both Cavity and Floor. As Beings, the three kicked things off with a rapid- fire set of squalling rock that challenged the limits of Radio-Active's decent but modest sound system. Throughout their rollicking performance, flashes of blue from lightning bolts striking outside shone through the glass block windows behind them. There couldn't have been a better backdrop for the threesome's unhinged feedback.
Introduced as "International Superstar" Jose El Rey, the king of ultra-machismo-Cubano schtick took the stage next. However, he appeared sans his usual gold chains and accompanied only by his electric guitar.  He went on to channel his retro-Miami-booty-shake sounds through his axe, churning out raw-boned, sloshy punk renditions of songs from his debut album, A Little Strong. El Rey also hurled out a fun cover of the Aquabat's "Pool Party" and kept things lively through this no-nonsense, 20-minute set.

The final performers were Margate punk rock superstars the Shakers. This trio has been around longer than most punk kids have been out of diapers, and unleashed a belching, ear-splitting, -chord set lead by vocalist Pat Shaker's guttural howls and  bassist Jon Shaker's up-front bass lines. Songs from the trio's recent full-length, Good Enough -- such as "Bombs and Beers" and "G-ville"-- played out like traditional frat boy punk rock a la Green Day, but with just enough Descendents-style self-deprecating angst to make it interesting.

Radio-Active manager Mikey Ramirez, who worked the register for most of the night, said that the eight-year milestone couldn't have been reached without the massive support of the public. "We appreciate every purchase," he said.  "We've always tried to listen to our customers."  Ramirez, owner Sean Kayes, and dedicated employee Paul Polete keep striving to make the record store an important musical landmark in Fort Lauderdale.  They are well on their way.

Critic's Notebook

Personal  Bias: Nothing beats that ol' hiss of the speakers when the needle hits the record.

Random Detail: The highest ticket item ever sold at Radio-Active was a "Jimmy Mack" 45 single recorded by Martha and the Vandellas for Motown Records' Gordy imprint. Final selling price? $1000.

By The Way:
Besides hard-to-find vinyl, at Radio-Active you can also pick up a copy of the Shakers' and Jose El Rey's latest releases, as well as those by many of your other local favorites.


-- Alex Rendon
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