Aussie Band Art vs Science Finds the Exotic in Miami

Oz really is on the other side of the wild world, and not just geographically. Sure, Australians speak the same language as we do (sort of); they look a lot like us, too. But thankfully, the similarities haven’t made them any less unique. Even with all the 21st connectedness, there’s a certain delightful disconnect about the land Down Under. It’s almost as if Ozzies are oblivious to their own potential oblivion. When Sydney’s Art vs Science hit Miami late last week, I was also reminded that the continent can produce some genuinely nice guys.

The odd thing was that before their arrival, everything the lads pictured about our town came from but two sources: Scarface and Ace Ventura. No True Lies or Bad Boys, Wild Things or Out of Sight. No CSI Miami or Burn Notice or Dexter. No Rick Ross or Trick Daddy or Pit Bull. They didn’t even know that There’s Something About Mary, let alone what that something might be. Instead, they saw Miami as a combination of crazed cocaine cowboys (alas not Cocaine Cowboys) and madcap pet detectives. And get this: now that they’ve been here, bandmember Jim Finn says they “believe [Miami is] only slightly different to those movies.”

Of course, it didn’t help that Art vs Science stayed on South Beach but took their pleasure in the Everglades.

“We saw a whole bunch of alligators, turtles and water. We felt like we were in a movie riding around on those giant fan [read: air] boats. The guy driving was doing these maneuvers where he’d slide the back out and whip it around the next corner, hugging the bank as he went. It was heaps of fun.”

Outside of “this little place on Collins Avenue called The Clifton Hotel,” the three nice guys struck up a friendship with “three [other] really nice guys who were out the front each day organizing tours.”

“We got talking to them and they suggested we try eating at a little place called La Playa Cafe,” says Finn. “It’s this great little authentic Cuban place with awesome food. It’s the real deal. The fried bananas blew our minds. We ate there each night.”

Now, had I known Australia’s most popular new band was in town for a couple days before their staging, they’d have experienced more than Cuban food and the Everglades, but their wide-eyed wonder did leave me seeing things in a whole new light. For Aussies, fried bananas and alligators are exotic. It’s something us natives tend to forget.

Exotica aside, when Art vs Science appeared at Electric Pickle last Thursday night, they had the fans dancing as if beat had just been invented. Even those who’d never before heard the band’s music couldn’t resist its inherent infectiousness. As Finn said, “we try to write songs that get people on the very first listen.” And get it they do. Aligned with fellow frontman Dan Mac and backed by drummer Dan W, the trio’s cogent mix of electronic kick and rock roar proved that groove is universal. Art vs Science might hail from the Land Down Under, but their sound works wonders all over the world.

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