Afrobeta: I have to apologize to these guys for being originally afraid to listen to them, but a very terrible person recommended them to me. Okay, with that out of the way, this is what they sound like dance/electronic/spanish/latin goodness… The lead singer usually bounces off the walls and infuses the whole audience with energy.
Arboles Libres: This is a local Funkadelic/Rock Band. They sing in Spanish and they tend to be a little out there. Sometimes they also say very stupid things on stage, but this only adds to the fun of their show. You can ensure that they will be high energy, if you catch my drift. (I don’t…)
ArtOfficial: This local band has had great success all over the world (I say world because they’ve even played in Barcelona) and they continue to get better and better. Their sound is a mix of Hip Hop, Jazz and even a little Funk and they are specialists at getting a crowd going. They were also selected as Miami’s Best Band of 2011 by the lovely people of the Miami New Times.
Araka: You have to roll the R when you say it… go ahead… try… ARRRRRRKA! It sounds fun, right? Well they are incredibly fun to watch and very high energy. Just try and keep still while they are playing, it’s impossible, you’ll be jumping and “skanking” (this is what ska people call their dance) along.
BredCrumbs: These guys are mainly a hip-hop/alternative rock band. Does it make you dance? No but it is nice to have music in the background. They’re a little heavy for my usual taste and the sound isn’t quite unique, but then again, what is these days.
Cris Cab: okay, I’m gonna be honest. The first time I saw this kid (I call him kid because I think he’s 18 right now) I thought he was adorable. His cover of “Black and Yellow” was mindblowing and his attempts at mixing reggae into his music was endearing. However, I kinda think he’s a cocky douche now… The reason I like local acts is because they tend to be mostly humble (this includes Mr.305 himself who is an example of gentlemanliness and kindness), but he’s still young and it just may be an issue of age rather than a character flaw.
Community Property: The first time I heard these guys they came on after a showcase my company had at Bardot. Lucian came up to my friend and I and told us about his band. I don’t know if he was aware as to who we were or where we worked, but he was polite and asked us to check them out. I was tired and wanted to leave, but I did just get a new beer so I would stick around and finish it at least. Then this amazing soulful and funky sound came on and I couldn’t leave. There’s nothing Latin about them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have flavor. If you have a chance to see them, please do, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Conjunto Progreso: is a local Salsa band, but I mean Salsa… So get ready to be spinned or to learn how to be spinned because that is the kind of dancing that will be going on whenever this band plays. Oh and don’t worry if you don’t know how to do the steps, it doesn’t matter. I’ve never learned how to allow someone to lead me, so I generally just dance by myself and I kill it on the dance floor.
Cleaveland Jones: a chill mix of samba, reggae, cumbia & soul. This band stands out because even though they have a very latin sound they also sing in English. I feel like everyone can dance to this band, even the drunkest of them all can be supported by the crowd and swayed from side to side…
Elastic Bond: the most recognizable feature of this group is the sweet, sweet voice of their lead singer Sophie. Their sound is urban, funk, Islandy and, of course, Latin. My parents and grandparents love them and so will you!
Electric Piquete: To be completely honest every time I’ve seen them, they haven’t really made me jump up and dance right away. However, they are pretty amazing to watch, even if you’re just drinking a beer by the bar. After a few drinks you will notice that everyone is dancing the night away and jamming along with the band.
Ephinko(y Sus Tesos): this band is a beautiful blend of many genres. Ephinko is from Colombia so their sound is primarily reminiscent of Cumbia.But they also mix sounds of hip hop, rock & reggae. Here’s a quote from his site: “EPHNIKO has baptized his sound with the name ‘Latin Boom Bap,’ which he describes as ‘the musical translation of his Latino world view through the eyes of the microphone.”
Hoosha: alternative rock with splashes of funk. Usually good on a mellow night.
Jahfé: I’m not entirely sure where they came from but I’ve known about them for about 4 years and ever since they’ve blown me away. They blend Reggae and Dub-Hop and somehow manage to be young but in a old way. The point is they are not to be missed!
JUke: You know how your dad’s weird long haired friend plays blues all the times and tells you how cool it is, and you agree but can’t really get into it? Well JUke is the kind of blues that will probably push you over to the light side. Their blues are heavy and nasty, even a little sexy… Trust me on this one, you’ll like it.
Kolabo: they are a Spanish reggae band. I think that is the best way to describe them. They’re not as upbeat as other local bands, but it’s reggae, so you will be swaying from side to side…
Lanzallamas Monofónica: usually this upbeat Latin band that keeps everyone dancing. They feature two very lovely female lead singers and their music also offers social commentary. I would describe their sound as primarily Latin, but they do throw sounds of Jazz & Funk in their mix.
Locos Por Juana(LPJ): a Latin Grammy nominated local act that has earned the name of Miami’s Best Latin Alternative band. The Miami New Times and BBC News have raved about them, and most locals know of their amazing music. They will have the entire room screaming “Cumbia!” before the first song is finished. They also have a DJ set called Afro Kumbe.
Los Amigos Invisibles (LAI): the band is from Venezuela, and they’ve been around for as long as I can remember. (Back to the days when I lived in Ecuador, but this is another post) Also, they usually come to Miami once a year so it’s a very popular event. What do these Invisible Friends Sound like? I don’t know exactly how to describe it. Their music is a little bit of everything, words like Electro Funk, Acid Jazz and Disco are thrown around to describe them, but they also have some Salsa, Ska, & Merengue. I wouldn’t put them under a specific genre, instead I would just say their sound is fun.
Los Herederos: These guys are legit old school Cuban flavored musicians. Their sound has a tones of nostalgia and tons of flavor. They use words like Guaguancó and Rumba to describe their sound. It’s hard for me to specify what it is about them, but be assured that you will get an infusion of rhythm that will push you to the dance floor. For me, it sounds like my grandparents and it’s incredibly magnetic.
MayDay: These guys are usually paired with ArtOfficial when they perform locally. They’re an intense mix of Rock, Hip Hop and Latin beats. They also really know how to put on a show, every time I’ve seen them they infuse the stage with color and energy.
Mr. Pauer: He’s not a band, by any means. But he’s been around for such a long time. (I remember being in undergrad and getting invited to his parties) I like to think of him as a staple of Miami, he’s a DJ that spins Latin music fused with new electronic sounds. You can be sure he’ll play way more than Salsa… Update!! He was nominated for a 2011 Latin Grammy
PALO!: this band’s sound is also characteristically Miami. Their sound is afro-cuban funky goodness. Their crowd is generally a little older but I think this is because not everyone has heard of them just yet.
Psychic Mirrors: one time I’ve seen this band, and I must admit I was already tipsy. This is all I remember… FUNK!
Rosa Max & Ramatis: this the Brazilian band of the bunch. If you want to listen to Samba & Bossa Nova you go check these guys out. Her voice is melodious and smooth and the instrumentals are guaranteed to keep you moving.
Spam All Stars: this is probably the longest running act in Miami. I don’t think they’ve always had this name but they have been around under variations of this name. It was founded by DJ Le Spam who got the brilliant idea of mixing a DJ’s electonic set and turn tables with magnificent instrumentalists. The result is a sound that forces audiences to dance as they best can. "Pase lo que pase, la vida continua…"
Space Between Words: Alternative rock music. I can’t say that they’ve ever managed to retain my attention, but I do have slight ADD. They’re good for a chill night where you just want live music on the side.
Suénalo:their sound is Funky/Latin/Hip Hop/R&B, they are an incredible Jam Band that feature amazing musicians. My favorite part is seeing their trombone player hit the conch shells as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Their name means to make a sound out of something. Be prepared to dance!
Xperimento :actually born out of Locos Por Juana, and as a result some of the music is reminiscent of LPJ. But don’t assume it has the exact same sound, there is something very unique about Xperimento’s ability to blend sounds of merengue, cumbia, ska, jazz & reggae. Xperimento will make you dance but they will also make you sing along. Not to mention the horns section will blow out your ear drums and leave you in hip-shaking- heaven.