Florida has always been behind the curve when it comes to attracting tour dates from the coolest bands on the planet. The conventional wisdom has been that unless you’re an arena-ready act like Springsteen, a pop-punk band like Less Than Jake or a death metal group like Nile, you probably weren’t going to bother coming south of Atlanta. It was considered lucky if a band like Yo La Tengo or Guided by Voices would hit Central Florida; due to the price of gas, its end-of-the-country isolation and its minimal perceived audience, the greater Miami area was simply out of the question.
Wow, have things changed. Thanks in large part to venues that take chances on smaller, cultish bands (Here’s looking at you, Fillmore), hard-working local promoters, increasing audience sizes and the general ascendency of indie rock into the pop-music mainstream, South Florida is now a must-hit destination for most touring indie bands. And we’re about to enter the best week ever: seven notable shows in seven days, stretching from Boca Raton to downtown Miami. For metropolises such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, this is practically a normal week, but for South Florida music aficionados, the week of Oct. 13, 2010 may be remembered as our growing music scene’s finest hour.
It all starts Wednesday with an appearance by Vampire Weekend at the Fillmore Miami Beach. The preppy quartet surprised just about everyone in the industry by rocketing to No. 1 on the Billboard charts with its sophomore album “Contra” earlier this year, despite the fact that the record was released on an independent label. I’m more excited about the opening act, Beach House, whose dreamy, ethereal pop should sound as great in the Fillmore’s intimate confines as it does on headphones.
On Thursday, dance-punkers Matt & Kim visit the Culture Room to promote the duo’s upcoming third album, “Sidewalks,” which boasts the insanely catchy, already released single “Cameras.” On Friday, Built to Spill will also visit the Culture Room in a rare club appearance, its first South Florida show since the Langerado Festival in 2008. In its 18 years of existence, these elder statesmen have established themselves as the guitar gods of indie, still touring in support of their 2009 masterpiece, “There Is No Enemy.”
On Saturday, you have two amazing choices in one night – how often does that happen? Up at the Sunset Cove Amphitheater in Boca, The Flaming Lips will offer a sure-to-be-unforgettable sonic experience, if previous shows are any indication. The Pink Floyd of its generation, this band of Oklahoma City weirdoes is known for its unpredictable onstage antics as much as its dense, complex arrangements. The same night in Miami, recently established three-piece School of Seven Bells brings its poetic, electronic-washed indie-pop toGrand Central.
After a two-day respite, two more cool bands will play on Tuesday, the 19th.Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros will bring its folk-rock traditionalism to the Culture Room, while Caribou, the stage-name of Canadian electronic whiz Daniel V. Snaith (Caribou does sound a tad catchier) will turn Grand Central into a bouncy, buzzing rave.
So, at least until Oct. 20, if you’re a fan of good music and you happen to live in South Florida, you’re so not allowed to complain.