Just when you thought you had your Art Basel plans set, NADA Miami is blowing up your schedule. The fair announced yesterday that Mac McCaughan and Jim Wilbur of the North Carolina cult favorite Superchunk will play an acoustic set Thursday at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The show will mark the band's first South Florida performance in more than 20 years.
Superchunk will perform in support of Merge Records' booth at the fair, which will present selections of 25 commissioned record sleeves from artists such as Kim Gordon (yes, the Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth), Mira Dancy, Marcel Dzama, Eddie Martinez, and others. The sleeves are being auctioned through Paddle8 December 1 to 14, and all net proceeds will go to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that uses education and legal advocacy to protect the rights of the most vulnerable members of American society from hatred and bigotry.
In June and October, the band released two limited-edition seven-inch singles, “I Got Cut” and “Break the Glass.” Net proceeds also went to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
McCaughan and bandmate Laura Ballance founded Merge Records, a cultural partner of NADA, in summer 1989, the same season they formed Superchunk. The label now represents staple bands from across the spectrum of golden-age alternative and indie rock. Among them are Dinosaur Jr., Archers of Loaf, Titus Andronicus, the Mountain Goats, and many others. Merge has earned its place as one of the last great independent labels and is a signifier of staying power in the nebulous, disintegrating world of indie.
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Though many of the above bands have made explicitly political music on the label, Superchunk has shied from direct commentary on American politics. Earlier this month, however, the band announced its upcoming 12th album, What a Time to Be Alive. It engages directly with Trump’s America as well as the anger and fear that many Americans feel.
“The scum, the shame, the fucking lies,” McCaughan sings on the title track. “Oh what a time to be alive.”
The New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) will celebrate its 16th art fair in Miami. The show is open to the public with a ticket to NADA Miami. Do not wait another 20 years to see Superchunk in South Florida.