A Quick Rundown on Some Miami Acts Playing at SXSW
Nicaragua-born, Miami-rased DJ Craze has had as many lives as a proverbial cat. In the late '90s and early '00s, he was a champion on the battle circuit, cutting and scratching his way to three consecutive world DMC championships. At the same time, he discovered the then-burgeoning drum'n'bass scene, transferring his mixing skills to a new arena and soon dominating that, too. The new millennium sees Craze again retooling, re-examining his lifelong love of bass, with a new sound that traverses freely between electro, booty breaks, and even a dash of dubstep with gleeful abandon. His spring appearances see him promoting his new label, Slow Roast, which he's co-founded with buddy Kill the Noise.
8 p.m. Friday, March 20 at the AM Only Showcase at Beauty Bar.
Look past the complicated MySpace presence, deliberately goofy promo photos, and even the hair of this Miami threesome. Jacobs Ladder is not another color-by-numbers pop-punk band. Sure, in some of the tunes there are hints of that genre's penchant for choral whoa-oh-ohs and sweeping melodies made for crowd clap-alongs. How else would this band be so wildly popular on the national all-ages circuit, which it has traversed for basically the past three years? The hookiness eventually gives way to some real band-nerd weirdness. (In fact, the three formed the group in 2002, when all were rock ensemble players at Beach High.) There is interplanetary prog, astral reggae, and even a bit of vaguely jazzy noodling. Somehow it all works out into a tight, bright thing that translates into high-octane live shows sailing along on waves of good vibes.
8 p.m. Friday, March 20 with Relient K at the Dirty Dog Bar.
The youngest of Bob Marley's sons, Damian "Junior Gong" Marley has always boasted a slightly harder-edged sound than his other musical siblings. Early on in his career, he was a frequent collaborator of choice for hip-hop and R&B artists. But with his 2005 album, Welcome to Jamrock, he, like his father before him, helped firmly pioneer another reggae crossover. The album's title track was beloved in hip-hop circles as much as in reggae ones, and for this, Marley scored a 2006 Grammy for Best Reggae album and Best Urban/Alternative Performance. Never resting on those laurels, though, he continued to record, and a couple years back started palling around with legendary MC Nas. Last year, they announced they were working on a joint album, Distant Relatives. It's due out this year, and in promotion, the two are touring and performing around the country together.
Midnight Wednesday, March 17 at the Vans showcase at Emo's Main Room.
Only a third of this heavy music heavyweight still resides in Miami, but we're still happy to claim the band as our own. Down to a power trio since about a year ago, the band has soldiered on with frontman Steve Brooks handling sole guitar duties. It's been album two years since the release of the band's much-acclaimed sophomore album, Meanderthal. Hopefully the guys will air out some new material at SXSW and during their spring tour with Coheed and Cambria and Circa Survive.
7 p.m. Wednesday, March 17 at the Brooklyn Vegan showcase, at Emo's inside stage.
8 p.m. Thursday, March 18 at the Chaos in Tejas/Kill Your Idols showcase at Beerland.