Come One, Come All: Fridays at The Vagabond

Come One, Come All: Fridays at The Vagabond

by Marcos Colón
09.02.2008

Friday nights in Miami are a time and place that many across the nation would kill to be a part of. But while many who aren’t from the Magic City glorify the nightlife without actually experiencing it, Friday nights may be a bit of a shocker. With the majority of nightclubs and venues blasting out similar tunes and selling drinks with prices that could feed an African family for a month, a lot of times these characteristics could pose as an encouragement to stay in for the night. Luckily, there is light at the end of the tunnel in the form of Fridays at the Vagabond, a night served up as a ‘home’ for those who opt out of the ticky-ticky sounds and popped collars that plague the city’s nightlife.

To kick off the weekend The Vagabond’s Carmel Ophir and Sweat Record co-owners Lauren Reskin, aka Lolo, and Jason Jimenez have teamed up to bring everyone a fresh breath of air in the form of a no-holds-bar dance party that features live music every week. The combination of both establishments makes for one of the most unique nights in the city.

“Fridays at The Vagabond is the party extension of the whole mission and the vibe of Sweat Records,” says Reskin. “Sweat was born because Miami is so spread out and I saw the city’s indie scene needing sort of a ‘home base.’ The Vagabond was also started to be a ‘home’ to people who didn’t fit in elsewhere or hadn’t found a solid, fun place to spend a night out.”

Instead of opting for the cheese-tastic brandings of other parties around, conjuring up phrases like ‘a new staple in nightlife,’ or ‘bringing sexy to Miami,’ the simple title given to the party makes it known to all that a weekly party is about the music and the vibe, not the name.

“The title of the party, Fridays at The Vagabond, is in a sense as basic as it can be,” says The Vagabond’s owner Carmel Ophir. “It’s a party within of itself, without any use of branding. If you take all the components we offer here, mix them up, spice them up with our staff and bartenders and in-house crew, it’s a real amazing combination.”

The blend of music pumping out of the speakers on the average Friday night is what highlights the night. From the eclectic mix of indie-rock that Reskin serves up at the start of the night, to the, as Ophir likes to put it, ‘slaying the dance floor’ electro that Mike Deuce and Ray Milian provide in the main room, variety is what seems to attract the ever increasing mob of fans.

“It’s very unique because we put music before everything,” Sweat Records’ Jason Jimenez says. “We like to stay on the razor’s edge with the latest music, which is an ever-growing part of the party. We’re not concerned about dress codes, buying bottles, or whether you arrive with a group of models. When you put music quality first, the style and vibe just fall into place.”

When looking for an alliance for Friday nights, Ophir knew where to go since he had previously worked with Reskin at Studio A’s old Friday night weekly, Plastik Fantastik. Teaming up with Sweat Records just made sense to him.

“The Vagabond as a business is in collaboration with Sweat Records versus individuals,” he says. “Sweat commands an immense amount of respect in our eyes as an independently owned and operated record store with an incredible array of music, also doing their own events and marketing, from movie night to political sound boarding. I think that we’re a compliment to each other. We call it ‘a great way to start the weekend off.’”

Since the start of the party in April, Friday nights at The Vagabond have snowballed and continue to do so. The unique angle in the presentation of their sound and aesthetics may be what’s at fault. Their support for local music, showcasing a live act outside weekly, draws in a new crowd every week that eventually become return visitors. Most importantly, the party represents a different side to Miami’s culture that for the most part is shadowed by the commercial entertainment found in the city.

“We get to be an ambassador for the massive amounts of culture happening here that doesn’t get the kind of mainstream media exposure that South Beach does,” Reskin says. “The party’s a representation for good music, reasonable drink prices, no dress code and discrimination at the door, and dancing all night to a kick-ass sound system.”

 

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