I pulled into Miami Beach at around 8:30 in the evening. Washington Avenue was much less crowded than it is on a weekend—finding a parking slot in five minutes really hit that fact home for me.
Vinyl and Kai was already bustling when I arrived. It wasn’t packed yet, but it wouldn’t be long before the freeloaders piled in. The place was celebrating its one-year anniversary and it did so by offering FREE DRINKS from 9 to 11 pm. Nothing attracts folks on the beach like free liquor and beer.
They went so far as to set up kegs full of Miller Lite and Yuengling out front and back by the bar for guests to pour their own beer. Even the fancy red and white tablecloths, reserved for more special occasions, were brought out.
Hoosha was up on the stage, elevated about ten feet above the floor overlooking the dance floor, running a sound check. There were only three of them tonight. Having recently lost their drummer, the band decided to take this opportunity to showcase their acoustic side. Guitarists Danny Ferrer and Alessandro Martino were strapped with acoustic guitars while Kevin Tomas favored his five string electric bass.
The band kicked off the power-happy-hour at 9. The lack of a drummer and the use of acoustic guitars really took off the edge their sets are known for. It was also their first attempt at an acoustic set.
“We were trying it out for the future,” said Ferrer. Then, he said, this gig came up about a week ago and they figured they would try it in a live show setting.
Hoosha played for about a half hour. Their set featured original music, most of which could be found on iTunes, and a couple covers. One was a ballsy cover of Incubus’ “Antigravity.” It was a risky tune to play without a full rhythm section to really drive the funk, but the dual guitar approach along with Tomas’ spot-on rhythmic abilities on the bass somewhat filled that void and made the tune passable. Overall, it was an all right set, with a touch of improvisational jams sprinkled throughout.
Sparse applause after each song said nobody was really there for the music. It was mostly the free booze. By the end of Hoosha’s set, the bar was starting to get packed. Media types arrived shortly after me. A couple freelance photographers were there, as well as one from the Miami Herald. There were also some professional grade video cameras milling around the masses.
A DJ took over as the band packed up their gear. Normally, DJ’s annoy me, but what made this DJ’s set interesting was the amplified saxophonist that jammed along with the house-ish tunes playing.
The second band of the night, London Heights, wouldn’t take the stage until 11. While I was interested, having never heard them, I couldn’t stay for them. My other business wouldn’t attend to itself, so I decided to leave them for another night.