One night, three years in the making

Photo by Andres Bedoya

Jonathan Szydlo

With every kick of the bass drum a cloud of dust and ash from the past three decades of local acts rises from the ground like the holy ghost tending to its flock at Churchill’s Pub.

After three years as a band, and countless shows throughout the Miami scene, Arboles Libres threw themselves a birthday party on Feb. 18 with Ketchy Shuby opening up the shindig and setting the bouncing off the walls vibe of the night.

The show kicked off at midnight, and in no small part thanks to Ketchy Shuby’s amazing showmanship, the seven piece band turned Churchill’s into a scene straight out of Animal House, you know, the one where they stumble into Otis Day and the Knights playing Shout.

Needless to say, the crowd was getting down, like Downtown Julie Brown. You had shoeless vixens on the left and lady killers on the right, all of which got together for a sloppy dance party with all dignity lost in the wind.

Ketchy weaved back and forth through the musical realms with some Beatles like tunes that had the sax man put down the brass and pick up the flute sending his band mates into a synchronized shuffle, to the surfer rock drum beats that lead to the closing of their set that gave a Ramones meets salsa feel.

Even Miami blues-man, Jesse Jackson looked as if he had fallen head over heals for this seven piece.

And then, cue Arboles Libres.

Photo by Andres Bedoya

It’s pretty difficult to followup the type of performance that Ketchy Shuby put on, and even for a seasoned act like Arboles Libres, a bit of excitement that had the crowd bouncing around like preschoolers on trampolines was lost by the guitar driven three piece.

Fortunately, the crowd was loaded enough to go from ballroom salsa dancing to a belligerent sway.

Consisting of two guitars and a drum set, Arboles’ driving force is the strength of their guitars and their ability to make even the sternest of the rock gods shed a tear of joy while the guitarists had more shredding going on then an Enron accounting department circa 2001.

With a bit of metal, a dash of blues, and a trip down the rabbit hole, the set was brought to a close with the members of Ketchy Shuby joining Arboles Libres, filling the pint-sized Churchill’s stage with 10 guys jamming to a 10 minute cover of The Grateful Dead’s Fire on the Mountain that caused my heart to grow triple it’s size.

With a three song encore wrapping up a three hour show that had members of both bands shuffling on and off the stage bringing different personalities within the different sets, I can’t help but give this show two thumbs up.

The crowd was jamming, the bands were having a blast and it oozed out of each note played, and the venue was vibrating with the sounds that do justice to the three decades of Miami music history that has set off the careers of countless local acts.


Video by Andres Bedoya

1 Comment on "One night, three years in the making"

  1. Thank you for the review :)

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