Shore Club, Miami Beach
Thursday, December 5, 2013
It's fair to say that Art Basel Miami Beach has come under critical siege at times for its supposed devolution from world-class art festival to glorified party.
However, while plenty of people critiquing Basel are, in fact, too cool for even the coolest events and busy playing the role of the post-hip hipster, the fact of the matter is Basel takes place in Miami and Miami fucking parties.
While there is so much more to this city and its culture than partying, it is in the subtext of just about everything going on around here. And it is with that spirit in mind that Atlanta's Black Lips and Juxtapoz Magazine threw Basel 2013's ultimate rock 'n' roll gig -- a pool party at the Shore Club, complete with naked women, vomit, and fog machines.
The ATL punk rockers took to a stage constructed at the head of the Shore Club's lavish pool, following what felt like an endless string of thumping hip-hop anthems. The crowd was comprised of an awkward mix of well-heeled stiffs and rowdy rockers, with a few fans riding so high on whatever substances that they could not keep their dancing under control, even before the band played a single note.
As the theme music for a superhero played over the speakers, fog machines created a hazy atmosphere that hung over the pool with cinematic perfection, and the band cracked into its set with a glorious kerrang of reverb-soaked guitar and fuzzy bass.
The start of the set had a tame, garage-rock prom vibe that saw a few crowd members shimmying to the band's grooves. However, following a Black Lips member's harmless suggestion that "someone should take a dip," a trio of female fans took it upon themselves to take the party from stodgy to dodgy, peeling off their tops and splashing into the luxurious waters below and fulfilling the essential dream of all rock 'n' rollers since the advent of the form: To have topless women go nuts in a pool while you perform.
Beer cans flew into the pool from around the patio as the group kicked things into high gear and fed off of the new, partly nude dynamic.
By the end of the band's fourth song, guitarist Cole Alexander managed to strip down to just his jeans and find his way into the pool, though his swim was brief and ended in true rock star fashion as he climbed out of the pool and launched a volley of vomit into the water from the edge of the stage, sending the trio of topless women back to their spots in the crowd.
Later, though, when the band kicked up the kitschy surf-rock of "Dirty Hands," the pool was reoccupied by rowdy fans who splashed and danced in the water, much to the chagrin of security guards wandeing around the pool with the look of a cat that can't comprehend the voodoo of mirrors.
The Lips played a new song towards the end of the set that was a built around a churning, tremolo-drenched guitar and the band's usual garage-punk hop. And while the title was never mentioned, bassist-singer Jared Swilley did dedicate it to Gucci Mane, who we do not believe was on site. (No time for Basel. After all, he's currently facing 20 years on federal gun charges.)
The show ended with a guitar feeding back freely, as two more topless women jumped into the pool from either side of the stage to a roar of riotous applause from the crowd. Soggy fans filed out of the luxurious Shore Club to find an ice cream truck which had been completely "bedazzled" -- seriously, it looked like a cell phone from 2006 -- and was giving out free popsicles.
What a rager. A quintessential Miami rock 'n' roll party. Thanks to four guys from Hotlanta.
Personal Bias: Fan. I saw the group perform with Val Kilmer in Texas last year. The actor sang like Jim Morrison and cut his hair with a hunting knife, which resulted in him bleeding everywhere.
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Random Detail: Regular patrons at the fancy bar beyond the pool looked on with absolute horror and/or amusement throughout the set.
Our New Favorite Game: Convincing people leaning on the exotic cars in front of hotels on SoBe that they're on our ride and we're pissed.