In South Florida’s rock-and-roll underground — a scene filled with cheap beer, manic dancing and late shows that sometimes run into the early morning — the gripe from bands and show promoters is generally the same: No one’s paying attention.
The musicians — mostly young, playing loud, fourth-wave garage rock and metal music — are forced to live by the DIY (Do It Yourself) code of self-sufficiency and guerrilla-style marketing.
Most bands self-produce and then release music through streaming sites like Bandcamp. Next comes the toil of finding a venue open to the idea of rowdy stage-diving bands playing live shows for a crowd just as boisterous.
There’s a certain allure to the lifestyle, however, says June Summer, the lead singer for local garage and punk rock band called Plastic Pinks. Summer and his half-brother, Augie Pink, left Puerto Rico in 2010 to come to Miami and start the band.
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What they found was a small and intimate community that embraced the punk and alternative attitude, and most importantly, enjoyed listening to live music.
“We’re not all politically correct, but we’re going to be loud and people are going to listen,” Summer said.
For three years, Summer, rhythm guitarist Pink, lead guitarist Luigi Toni La Rocca, bass guitarist Charlie De Jesus and drummer Nicholas Ochoa have played shows around the city — mostly at venues like Churchill’s Pub in Little Haiti — and have earned a local following.
March has been a breakout month for the band, Summer says.
Plastic Pinks released their first single with Die Slaughterhaus Records on March 7. The Atlanta-based label has worked with a few powerhouse names in garage rock such as Deerhunter and the Black Lips, who will be preforming at Fort Lauderdale’s Culture Room on Friday. Plastic Pinks will open the show.
But before their Friday performance, the bands needs to come back home. Last week, Plastic Pinks left Miami for Austin, Texas, to join more than 2,000 other musical acts at the annual South by Southwest Music Conference (SXSW), one of the nation’s biggest music festivals.
Michelle Granados, the co-founder of Cheap Miami Records says Plastic Pinks’ recent success is great news for the band, but it’s also good for the city.
“There’s this stigma with South Florida — and Florida as a whole — that no good music comes out of here,” said Granados, who is also the front-woman for the band Red Nectar. “It’s an unfair statement.”
Patrick Garcia and Granados started Cheap Miami Records in 2012. The label initially was a place where bands could release music on cassette tapes, but over time Cheap Miami has evolved to booking and promoting shows for local and out of town bands.
The Cheap Miami duo works with more than 20 bands in Miami. Plastic Pinks played their first show because of Garcia and Granados.
“Cheap Miami was the first label to believe in us, even when we didn’t have anything,” Summer said.
On March 28, Cheap Miami will host Cobalt Cranes, a psychedelic and grunge rock band from Los Angeles. The show will feature a few local acts including The Gun Hoes, whose lead singer and guitarist, Gabriel Miranda, recorded the Plastic Pinks’ earlier music.
Miranda's band is another local favorite under Cheap Miami. He says the success of Plastic Pinks will only give Miami’s music scene more attention.
“All the bands that come down here have a great time,” Miranda said. “There’s talent down here. It will get noticed. I’m not worried.”
If You Go
▪ What: The Black Lips and Plastic Pinks
▪ Where: Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale
▪ When: Friday March 20 at 8 pm
▪ Cost: $20