Posted March 19, 2014
By JESS SWANSON
The Facebook invite might’ve said to come at 9 p.m. but this, after all, is Miami where wristwatches come pre-programmed two hours behind Eastern time. At 10 p.m., Brickell hot-spot Blackbird Ordinary was mostly empty, with the exception of a few over-eager girls leaning over the polished bar counter to give their free drink order.
The air conditioner blasted inside. A security guard explained the cold air will be much-appreciated when the dance floor fills up later. It was hard to imagine the then-desolate dance floor thumping and full, but oh was he right — about the turnout and the air!
It was Mardi Gras Tuesday and everyone on staff was expecting a big night, even if technically the midnight shift to Ash Wednesday made no real difference. Inside young women made rounds to the bar for free drinks. Most girls clutched a Blackbird, a cocktail of ice tea vodka, blackberry syrup, mint leaves, and crushed ice. However, others were ordering well drinks and sneaking the complimentary rum and cokes to the men they were with.
The outside courtyard filled faster than inside; the South Florida humidity was a much welcomed shawl from the overactive air conditioning inside. The Metrorail could be seen overhead along with other high-rise apartments jutting into the night sky. There was a wall outside of different types of herbs, and as the night carried on and more alcohol pulsed through everyone’s circulatory systems, they began being picked to garnish cocktails and then devoured as late night snacks.
A little before midnight, the headlining band, Dinosaurs and Disasters had not come on. The lead singer Pablo Chacon-Alvarez waltzed through the crowd with a toothy grin, charismatically introducing himself to his future audience. The four other members of the band –Sebastian Delgado (drummer), Agustin Mas (bassist), Ricardo Lopez (guitar), and Mauricio Vildagutt (guitar) — huddled in the courtyard feeling the vibe of the joint. DJ A Train opted for 1990s rap classics by a Tribe Called Quest and Mos Def.
Everyone began mouthing the words in harmony, dancing in their seats and a particularly intoxicated pair of friends took to the makeshift dance floor in the outside courtyard.
At 11:30 p.m., the night’s host Veronica Gessa explained it was time for Ladies Night Trivia. Her shrill voice over the microphone shattered the laidback mood. Gessa swiftly handed out answer sheets and conducted a lightning session of movie trivia. The questions were too obvious and five teams tied for first place. That made splitting the $50 bar tab prize awkward and an elimination round of trivia was conducted hastily and without the microphone (so it was unclear how the winners were actually decided).
After midnight, the bar began to fill up in the indoor and outdoor areas. DJ A Train’s hip hop beats were a good opening for Dinosaurs and Disaster’s alternative mesh of rock and reggae. As the five band mates set up their equipment, young girls rushed to the dance floor in anticipation. (It was unclear whether they were fans of the music or had schoolgirl crushes on the boy band who, after enough ice tea vodka, did begin to resemble One Direction.)
The band interacted with the audience. They said hello “to all the beautiful ladies out there,” and all the beautiful ladies smiled back. Chacon-Alvarez, the lead singer, naturally warmed the crowd (despite the blasting air condition — the dance floor wasn’t packed yet) and created a fun energy for fans and first-timers to sing and dance.
The band played its most recognizable songs (Groovy, Gemstone, and Believe You and Me) from its first EP, Life After Youth. The other nine songs came from their soon-to-be-released EP, For The (Unrequited) Love of Laura. The group had released only two songs before and for most people in the crowd, it was the first time hearing songs off the new album, which sounded more experimental and alternative than the first with edgy instrumentals.
The melody and rhythm of the songs made people in the audience want to dance along. It made you feel warm and, as the dance floor filled up, the artic gust from the air conditioning was much appreciated. The instrumentation was infallible, particularly Vildagutt and Lopez always staying in sync on the guitars. The overall sound was not as smooth as the recorded tracks online, but considering it was past 1:30 a.m. at this point, no one seemed to notice or mind.
Past 2 a.m., the band had captured everyone’s attention. No one was leaving to order another drink (they complimentary drinks stopped at 2 a.m.) and those who didn’t have work the next day and had been drinking seemed to have reached a steady plateau of enjoyment. They nodded along to the music.
When Dinosaurs and Disasters came to an end a little before 2:30 a.m., everyone was sweating: the band, the audience, the bartenders who have been serving rowdy customers for the past five hours.
DJ Alex Markow took the booth next. He played more electronic beats that had a calming effect. A few ardent party girls, most of who were clutching empty drink glasses, stayed on the dance floor swaying to the tunes.
It was a little before 3 a.m. when the place started to clear out, but oh that air conditioning did feel so good!
- Performance on Tuesday, March 4, 2014
- Blackbird Ordinary
- 729 SW 1st Ave., Miami
- Dinosaurs and Disasters (main act), DJs A Tran, DJ Alex Markow