On the night of Thursday, December 1, 2011, a waxing crescent moon will be hanging, 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 totally consumed by fire. And it's gonna sound amazing.
In other words, Art Basel Miami Beach weekend officially begins that evening with a live performance at the Gusman Center by notoriously apathetic (and possibly evil) Traverse City, Michigan trio Salem.
Allegedly born on June 6, 1966, this band is the demon spawn born of an intense three-way between John Holland, Heather Marlatt, and Jack Donoghue.
Practicing a certain kind of sonic black magick, they've been worshipped (and reviled) for -- in the words of Pitchfork -- "not giving a shit" and being "dickheads"; remixing Gucci Mane tracks like "Bird Flu," ""My Shadow," and "Round One"; and releasing seriously twisted slabs of electronic tuneage, such as 2008's Yes I Smoke Crack EP and last year's debut long-player King Night.
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 makes noise that willfully avoids both the usual and unusual genre tags. It's actually an unholy brew made from a shot of death metal esthetics, a double dose of promethazine-soaked beats, two spoons of dark 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.
Straight up, don't sip from Salem's cup unless you wanna get fucked up.
Salem as part of the world premiere of Isaiah Seret and Neckface's Born Under a Bad Sign, presented by Friends of Gusman, Onward + Forward, and The. Thursday, December 1. Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, 174 E. Flagler St., Miami. Doors open at 10:30 p.m. and admission is free with RSVP via [email protected]. Visit onfwd.com.
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