Concert Review: A+E District Presents Alejandro Elizondo (Rooftoop Unplugged Sessions)

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Photo courtesy of A+E District.

Sometimes love will let you down.

Honestly: that perfect girl or boy you placed so much faith in, proclaimed to the heavens would always be there, or guaranteed your parents that they were the one, they might end up shitting in your heart vessel. The cruel truth is that humans are as fickle as the promises made by untrustworthy politicians, if not more so.

On the bright side, music and the people that write songs about both the highs and the lows of said love can always be counted on to express even the most turbulent of emotions.

In fact, one of Florida’s own, singer / songwriter Alejandro Elizondo, is a paragon of stability for both his reliability in such a capacity and for the quality of his live show. Raised in Jensen Beach, Elizondo studied at the Frost School of Music and is a founding member of the Wynwoods, a bluegrass / folk group that plays a weekly set at Lagniappe every Thursday night. Thankfully, when it comes to the events put on by the Arts + Entertainment District, he’s not a complete anomaly.

Every week, once a month, it’s guaranteed that one of Miami’s brightest musicians will light up the fifth floor rooftop pool of the Filling Station lofts in the Design District. It’s a fact that many Miami natives can’t ignore considering the number of people that end up signing up for the strictly RSVP event, despite the lack of standing room.

While yes you can chill alongside the outskirts of the pool, there is a definite danger or tripping or falling in to the water, a fact not lost on several attendees who absolutely enjoyed the event, but were hyper-conscious of a watery accident.

That being said, cocktails and ice cream sandwiches on a warm night helped make everyone forget the tight circumstances, or even perhaps enhance what felt like an exclusivity. Truth be told, that might be one of the appeals to the events hosted by A+E. Although they’re free, shows such as last night’s Rooftop Unplugged and next week’s Movies Under the Stars, which will feature the Kurt Cobain documentary, Montage of Heck, can only be attended if guests RSVP first. That might not seem like a big deal, but if you want even the slightest amount of real estate, it kind of is.

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Photo courtesy of A+E District.

The rooftop pool area of Filling Station isn’t massive and only holds so much seating. What you’re paying for, or not if you don’t buy cocktails from the one bar, is the atmosphere, the experience. Overlooking downtown Miami and illuminated by strings of white light, these nights have the vibe of a neighborhood block party. With a musician like Elizondo, whose influences range from Radiohead to Stevie Wonder, the evening is made all that more special.

Playing a number of songs that seesawed back and forth between cover songs, such as a particularly engrossing James Blake track, and originals, most of them jazzy and quite beautiful, Elizondo blessed the capacity crowd with a set as gorgeous and as special as the setting. If there’s one criticism to be made about the Rooftop Unplugged idea it’s how tight of a fit it is. But again, if the folks behind it continue to book acts like Elizondo, then the intimacy will only benefit each show and serve as an amplification of this unique space.

It will be up to Miami to continue to support these sorts of outings and to appreciate the opportunity to enjoy an artist like Elizondo, free of charge. With an area this limited, and we mean that literally and figuratively to include all of A+E free events and the whole of the local music scene, people need to be moved by what’s in front of them or they’re just wasting space. Just as the artists and the creatives strive to never fail us, unlike so many lovers, we need to find a way to continue to return the favor.