The night of Thursday, December 1, 2011, a waxing crescent moon will hang, dead and icy, in a jet-black winter sky as the souls of a thousand damned witches scream for mercy while being burned at the stake inside an abandoned house consumed by fire. And it's gonna sound amazing.
In other words, Art Basel Miami Beach weekend begins that evening with a live performance at the Gusman Center by notoriously apathetic (and possibly evil) Traverse City, Michigan trio Salem. Allegedly born June 6, 1966, this band is the demon spawn conceived during an intense three-way among John Holland, Heather Marlatt, and Jack Donoghue. So appropriately, Salem's Basel gig will be a midnight set following the world premiere of Born Under a Bad Sign, a self-described "action horror film" by cult filmmaker Isaiah Seret and skate-dude-turned-graffiti-guy-turned-twisted-art-star Neckface that tells the tale of "Satan's lonely soldier who hunts for the heads of those who wronged him."
Sometimes called witch house, gothwave, or, uh, most controversially, rape gaze, Salem's noise willfully avoids the usual and unusual genre tags. It's actually an unholy brew made from a shot of death-metal aesthetics, a double dose of promethazine-soaked beats, two spoons of viscous synth stuff, and a half-bucket of blood from the same psychopathic (and geographic) lyrical gene pool as Insane Clown Posse's hyperbolic horrorcore.
Salem at the Gusman Center December 1
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Straight up, don't sip from Salem's cup unless you wanna get fucked up.