TOPS at PAMM
TOPS, a four-piece Motreal native band, hit the stage at Pérez Art Museum Miami for their first show in South Florida as a part of the audio-visual cultural experience CURRENTS.
The first thing that struck me as odd about this show was the venue. I had only known the Perez for artisanal flatbreads and mac and cheese and Instagram posts of my friends dancing around in blue string billed as art- not exactly the first venue that would come to mind for an alternative rock show.
However, my opinion began to change once I arrived at the museum and it actually made a lot of sense. TOPS is a dream pop band from Canada. That sentence alone pretty much sums up why their concert would take place at a museum overlooking the still waters of Miami Beach.
The foursome - all clad in business casual attire that brutally contrasted with the night’s humidity - took the lavender-lit stage without much force. Perhaps this is because these are musicians that would much rather have their work speak for themselves, or maybe they were slightly intimidated by we weird Miamians, truly no way to tell.
Overall, TOPS music that night felt like an exhibition especially with lead singer Jane Penny displaying her wicked flute skills on three occasions coupled with the crowds utter amazement of their collective talent. Even so, about three songs deep into their set one antsy (and quite sweaty) fan concluded that “they must be saving their faster songs for later.” He was wrong. Yes, they did dip into their more sunshiny cuts like “Petals” and “Way to be Loved” much later into the set, but the energy never really picked up or elevated. We were all consistently riding the wave presented to us.
A little predictable, but thoroughly enjoyable, TOPS show at the Perez confirmed that there are few indie rockers capable of making “vibe” music elegant enough to be played at a museum. Still, for the future I’d like to see something a little more boundary-pushing than an unexpected venue.
Before the show started, people were seen mingling, enjoying drinks, and making clay figures (this is where Shianne and I spent our time). It was a very relaxed atmosphere with a hint of anticipation as we waited for the band to take the stage. I was not familiar with TOPS before attending, but am always open to discovering new music. Their style pleasantly surprised me and I can see myself adding their music to my library.
At the start of their performance, they expressed their delight to end their tour in a city they have always wanted to visit. During the set, everyone was having a good time and hardcore fans were sprinkled throughout hte crowd, singing along to every song.
For me, the highlight of the event was the location itself (though realizing my clay figure making talent was a major contender). The stage was set up on the terrace of the museum overlooking the water. Sure, it was a typical humid Miami night that we all know so well, but that was easily disregarded. It was a place where I had interacted with friends and family numerous times, in a new light, that added a special quality to the occasion.
While I met new people and listened to some dreamy pop music, PAMM reinforced its place as one of Miami’s crown jewels and I hope to see more events like this in the future.