Sure, for eleven and three quarter months out of the year, the people of Miami can indulge themselves with sunny beaches and scandalous nightlife till they're burnt to a crisp, puking in a chic SoBe restroom, or both.
However, for one golden week, Art Basel Miami Beach descends upon our shady seaside digs, starts an epic arty party, and soon consumes everything around it. Everyone from sultry crooner James Blake to stalwart doom-metal torchbearer Stephen O'Malley of Sunn O))) will be popping up at hip nightlife spots around the Magic City, and we've got the inside scoop to ensure you have the best Basel ever.
See also: Art Basel Miami Beach 2014 Party Guide
James Blake, FKA Twigs, and SBTRKT. With Clams Casino and others. Presented by the National YoungArts Foundation and III Points. Thursday to Saturday, December 4 to 6, 7 p.m., National YoungArts Campus, 2100 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-377-1140; youngarts.org. Tickets cost $25 to $37 plus fees via iiipoints.com. The National YoungArts Foundation and III Points announced their Basel offerings early and to much woohoo-ing. FKA Twigs is an upcoming UK songstress making huge waves on the international pop scene, and her Basel performance arrives just after a much-lauded American television debut on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Not one to be upstaged, fellow Brit James Blake is also booked to deliver his distinct, subwoofer-heavy brand of R&B at the YoungArts home base on Biscayne.
Life and Death Art Basel. With Dixon, Bob Moses, Recondite (live), Mind Against, Thugfucker, Vaal, and DJ Tennis. Presented by PL0T and Poplife. Hosted by Aquabooty. Thursday, December 4, 10 p.m., Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-377-2277; grandcentralmiami.com. Tickets cost $45 to $50 plus fees via residentadvisor.net. Ages 21 and up. For the more uhntz-minded among us, fear not, as the annual Life and Death Art Basel bash has all of your four-to-the-floor bases (get it?) covered. Boasting a veritable who's-who of international techno purveyors, this party will feature uncommon acts like Germany's Recondite, a discerning label head and accomplished producer, as well as Berlin staples Mind Against and New York rabble-rousers Thugfucker, both on the rising Life and Death label.
Les Sins. A new project from Toro y Moi's Chaz Bundick. Thursday, December 4, 10 p.m., Bardot, 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-576-7750; bardotmiami.com. Tickets are sold out. Ages 21 and up. Indie darling Chaz Bundick reached heady alt-pop heights when his Toro y Moi project debuted a few years back. A dapper, polite, and unassuming gent who just so happens to write incredibly catchy tunes, Chaz has long been winning over audiences with his warm vocals and peppy production talents. So it should come as no surprise that his new act, Les Sins, is a heavily hyped affair. Join the fresh-faced Bundick and groove at Midtown's swankiest hangout, Bardot.
Gramps x Basel. With Iceage, Xeno & Oaklander, Quintron & Miss Pussycat, and others. Presented by Look Alive Fest, Gramps, Radio-Active Records, Church Off York, and AdHoc. Thursday and Friday, December 4 and 5, 7 p.m., Gramps, 176 NW 24th St. Miami; 786-752-6693; grampsbar.com. Admission costs $10. Ages 21 and up. Wynwood mainstay Gramps is stepping up its Basel game with the most eclectic lineup of arty parties in the bar's brief history. Co-presented by the Look Alive Fest organizers, these shows will star edgy Danish art-rockers Iceage, blippy minimal producers Xeno & Oakland, electro-noise crusaders Quintron & Miss Pussycat, and future-'90s prodigy Pictureplane. Expect a night full of niche tunes and common debauchery.
See also: Art Basel Miami Beach 2014 Bar Guide
When Pigs Fly. With Carl Craig, Matthew Dear, Dubfire, Sasha, and others. Presented by Link Miami Rebels and Verboten. Friday, December 5, 11 p.m., Trade, 1439 Washington Ave., Miami; 305-531-6666; trademia.com. Tickets cost $40 via wantickets.com. Ages 21 and up. In certain circles, you can simply mention the name of pioneering second-wave Detroit house producer Carl Craig and be met with graciousness and respect. The Planet-E Communications founder will headline a skull-splitter of a bill, with tech-house hero Matthew Dear. Known for being among the first techno artists to mix world music and electronics, Craig pioneered a sonic blend that's no doubt influenced Dear's primal, subterranean take on vocal-laden house. Add Dubfire (one-half of Grammy-winning duo Deep Dish) and Sasha, and you've got a rumpshaker for the ages.
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Look Alive Fest 2014. With Stephen O'Malley of Sunn O))) and others. Presented by Quiet Mind Recordings. Friday, December 5, 9 p.m., Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com. Admission costs $15 via quietmindrecordings.bigcartel.com. Ages 18 and up. Now, if someone were to be the Carl Craig of ambient drone metal, it would totally be Stephen O'Malley of Sunn O))). As one half of the duo responsible for down-tuned masterpieces like Black One and Monoliths & Dimensions, O'Malley has been wrecking amplifier stacks and destroying audiences' innards with his unique blend of low-frequency riffage and haunted-house soundscapes for over 15 years. Inspired by formative drone pioneers Earth (the members once joked that "the Sunn revolves around the Earth") but injecting the genre with a fresh dose of noise, ambient, musique concrète, and more, this showcase promises to be one of the most forward-thinking and beard-stroking affairs that Basel 2014 has to offer.
Crew Love. With Wolf + Lamb, Soul Clap, and Nick Monaco (live). Presented by PL0T and Slap & Tickle. Friday, December 5, 9 p.m., Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-456-5613; electricpicklemiami.com. Tickets cost $35 via residentadvisor.net. Ages 21 and up. Of course, if you choose to eschew the doom histrionics in favor of strobe lights and 808 thumps, the Electric Pickle's got you covered. Local promotion squads PL0T and Slap & Tickle will be partying with Wolf + Lamb and their labelmates Soul Clap, not to mention Nick Monaco, who's also a member of the amorphous Crew Love set. Together, they plan to rock the Pickle with "champagne raining till 5 a.m."
See also: Downtown Miami's Five Best Dance Clubs
Basel Castle 2014. With Yung Lean, Future Islands, Mykki Blanco, and others. Presented by Overthrow and Embrace. Saturday, December 6, 6 p.m., Basel Castle, 41 NW 20th St., Miami. Tickets cost $30 plus fees via ticketfly.com. Ages 18 and up. Visit baselcastle.com. On the subject of eclectic bills, this year's Basel Castle is just batshit crazy. Where else could you hope to see the Baltimore-bred hunks of burly art-pop Future Islands splitting stage time with 18-year-old Swedish rapper Yung Lean and his Sad Boys clique, along with shapeshifting hip-hop phenomenon Mykki Blanco?
MGKATWALK: A Night of Vogue. With Zebra Katz, plus DJs Bonnie Beats and Goodroid. Presented by Catwalk and MGKAT, in conjunction with #IHaitiBasel, Nikki Mizrahi, and Trigga Ebony. Saturday, December 6, 10 p.m., Little Haiti Thrift & Gift, 5865 NE Second Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $7 plus fees via brownpapertickets.com. Ages 21 and up. One might mistake Zebra Katz for a professor after he promised to take us to college and teach us literacy on his unstoppable single "Ima Read." However, as The Guardian gushes, Katz is actually "queer rap's crossover hit." For Basel, he'll be joining the Catwalk party crew, killer local DJs, and international ballroom queens for MGKATWALK: A Night of Vogue at a fun venue in the Little Haiti neighborhood, which is well overdue for some Basel love. Shit's gonna get fierce.
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Fool's Gold Day Off 2014. Presented by the Fool's Gold lael. With A-Trak, Danny Brown, DJ Mustard, and others. Sunday, December 7, 2 to 9 p.m., LMNT, 59 NW 36th St., Miami. Tickets cost $25 plus fees via ticketfly.com. Ages 18 and up. Visit fgdayoff.com. To wrap our Basel party plan, we strongly suggest the turnt-up Fool's Gold Day Off. It's always a rager, and the 2014 edition will be no exception, with headliners like label boss A-Trak and notorious party boy rapper Danny Brown. As the Fool's Gold barhead mascot might say: "Holla, if y'all feel shiny."
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