Friday, February 22, 2013 - Churchill's Pub, Miami, FL
(I know this photo sucks, but it's the only one I snapped due to the flash on my phone going off like a neutron bomb...I thought I paralyzed the band)
Ah, Churchill's...Every time I'm looking for a parking spot, driving through the wastelands of Little Haiti, I tell myself this is the last time I'll ever be visiting, but somehow I always come back. I circled the area for about 15 minutes, looking for a safe and legal place to park. In the past, the local derelicts would ask for a dollar to make sure your car is safe (you always give it to them or forfeit your windows smashed & tires slashed), now they are wearing orange "construction" vests and directing you where to park. One guy was telling me to straight-up park on the sidewalk blocking both directions. Since I didn't have a good feeling about my car being there when I returned, I decided to keep looking. I was almost ready to go home, but found a spot about two blocks down on NE 54th St. There was some kind of strip-mall church on the same block with people hanging outside, so I told myself that I should be relatively safe here, being their religious and the 10 commandments, or whatnot. I got out of the car and slipped into the shadows, making a b-line for the venue, hoping not to be seen or mugged.
The venue itself is an anomaly in Miami for not being the usual glossy, high end techno dance club. It is loud, scuzzy, and most definitely has that CBGB's charm. And just like the famous Country, BlueGrass & Blues, if possible, try not to use their bathrooms...it's fucking nasty. Beer is pretty cheap for Miami standards, but the people are mainly loud, obnoxious hardcore-knuckleheads. They have that unique Floridian flair where it's not unusual to see a studded leather jacket combined with a feathered Justin Beiber haircut. But whatever, after their self-titled debut making my 2012 "best of", nothing could ruin my anticipation to see Masked Intruder. Yet another great band hailing from Wisconsin (Madison) and recently signed to big-punk-rock-indie Fat Wreck Chords, Blue (lead singer/guitarist), Yellow (bassist/singer), Red (drummer), & Green (guitarist/singer) combine to create an amazing blend of bouncy, melodic pop-punk with a stalker-like, hopeless romantic Ramones crunch. I loved their debut album, but little did I know that their live show would eclipse it.
I walked into the night with a smile on my face, knowing I had one of those rare occasions of seeing a band in their prime on the verge of greatness. I hastily walked to my car, my pockets bulging with merch, hoping to make it without getting a bullet between the eyes, or my hubcaps stolen, or "Honky Lips" spray painted on my vehicle.