In my experience speaking with tourists and college students, the general consensus is that Miami is a dream. With vivid and exciting nightlife and beautiful beaches, they often wonder why anyone could complain about this “Magic City”. However, locals (myself included) sometimes find themselves bored, because when you think you’ve seen it all, you find yourself asking yourself the same question every weekend: What is there to do in this dumb city?
In a recent dip out of my usual weekend routine – errands, yada yada yada – I visited Gramps, a hip, dark bar in the heart of Wynwood, to see my favorite The Smiths and Morrissey cover band, Ordinary Boys (and, admittedly, the only one I’m aware of). As someone who wishes they were alive during the 80s but was born too late, seeing them is always a treat for me. Unfortunately my dreams of a Smiths reunion have been crushed by former frontman Morrissey, but when my sister introduced me to Ordinary Boys a about a year ago, I was extremely happy. The band does a wonderful job of covering everyone’s favorite Smiths and Morrissey tracks as well as the hidden gems some of us forget.
When they performed at Gramps a couple of weeks ago for Morrissey’s birthday celebration, it was a packed Friday night. Gramps is interesting because there is an indoor bar, a smaller back room (with another bar) and a larger outdoor area decked out with white Christmas lights, picnic tables, a third bar, and a DJ spinning groovy jams. The bar was filled with interesting people from all corners of Miami. One of the most fascinating people I saw was a tall, thin man wearing a headband and a half-open short-sleeve button down shirt. He was dancing in the most wild yet graceful way. I wished I could dance like that, but then I remembered I’m about as coordinated as a a two-year-old.
Ordinary Boys performed in the smaller, more intimate room behind the indoor bar at Gramps. The crowd was especially hyped up and rowdy. As soon as the band occupied the stage, two guys started yelling song requests. Hearing “THERE IS A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT!” and “UNHAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!” after every song was both hilarious and terrifying. O-Boys started with “Bigmouth Strikes Again”, and the crowd started dancing, singing, swaying, and cheering in approval. They went on to play a fantastic set with songs like “Headmaster Ritual”, “Last of the Famous International Playboys”, and “This Charming Man”.
During the first few seconds of most songs I looked back at my friend and said, “Oh my god… I love this one.” It’s both strange and satisfying to feel like the happiest sad person (or the saddest happy person) in the world when you listen to The Smiths and Morrissey’s music. There’s nothing quite like songs full of heart-wrenching lyrics to make you want to dance (and cry). The band closed with “Still Ill”, which the crowd truly loved. Earlier in the show, vocalist AJ Navarrete announced that it was drummer Jose Garcia’s last show, and despite the sadness of the end of an era, he played with the same amount of energy and gusto as if they were performing in an arena with thousands of people.
It was an awesome show from start to finish. If you love The Smiths or Morrissey (or both) haven’t seen Ordinary Boys, I highly recommend checking them out. Their next show is on Saturday, June 27th at 10pm at Railroad Blues. If you haven’t been to Gramps, it’s a really cool place that has a packed weekly schedule of alternative events such as trivia nights and karaoke nights, so go on! Have a great weekend. You deserve it.