Art Basel Music Guide

By | November 21st, 2011 | 5 Comments
Yaaaaaay! by Robby Campbell

Put your hands in the air: The unofficial Art Basel Miami Beach music festival is around the corner. -- photo by Robby Campbell

Update (11/30/12): Looking for an Art Basel Miami Beach 2012 Guide? Look no further. And make sure to gander our ABMB 2012 Music Guide. Finally, check out our ABMB Instagram contest to learn how you can win one of several awesome prizes (including a $499 Republic Bike) just for sharing your Art Basel photos. Update over.

With Art Basel Miami Beach drawing nigh, deep-pocketed collectors, shallow-intentioned jetsetters, and everyone between is getting ready to touch down in Miami for days on end of excess in excess. For obvious reason, most people think of ABMB as primarily an art extravaganza. While it is certainly that, it is also an unofficial music festival, drawing globe-trotting live acts to Miami stages like pilgrims arrived. As in years past, there are so many worthy shows booked during the week of ABMB 2011, including Neon Indian, YACHT, and Nas, that planning your music schedule becomes a complex math problem. To help out, we’ve curated a list of confirmed shows between Wednesday, Nov. 30, and Sunday, Dec. 4, from the Miami Music Guide. With ABMB still more than a week away, stay tuned for updates on new and/or cancelled shows. Here’s what we’ve got on the radar so far.

Wednesday, November 30

Headline: Theaster Gates and The Black Monks of Mississippi (Art Basel Opening Ceremony)
Where: Collins Park and Oceanfront
Cost: FREE
Event Page: HERE

Notes: Art Basel’s opening night will feature the conceptually-heavy performance art of Theaster Gates and The Black Monks of Mississippi. Gates, who is the director of arts program development at the University of Chicago and a Loeb Fellow of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, combines his expertise in cultural planning, architecture, and various art forms to create contextual spaces for a variety of performances and exhibitions, including musical response. The Black Monks of Mississippi brand of improvisational response is directly influenced by Gates’ large-scale creations as well as African-American and Buddhist musical forms, incorporating monastic chanting, gospel singing, and jazz.

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Headline: Beached Basel Bash w/ ANR, Millionyoung
Where: Electric Pickle
Cost: $8 (prepay), $10 (door)
Event Page: HERE

Notes: As the name suggests, this is a Beached Miami event designed to limber you up for a weekend of binge art-ing. Featuring live music by ANR, PLAINS, Little Beard, and Nickly Blitz; DJ sets by Millionyoung, Laura of Miami, and Eddie P; good cooking by Ms. Cheezious and 2-for-1 Grolsch from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. For discounted prepay tickets, visit www.beachedmiami.com/prepay.

Headline: Macy Gray (performance & DJ set), Martin Luther (The Roots), Roosevelt Collier Trio, Rich Medina
Where: Bardot
Cost: $30
Ages: 21+
Event Page: HERE

Notes: In a late addition to the Basel festivities, Bardot summoned Macy Gray’s velvety rasp to kick off their four-day Basel series. Gray, who’s collaborated with Slash, Bobby Brown, Erykah Badu, and Slick Rick in the past, released her debut album, On How Life Is, in 1999, which made her an instant star. Four albums later and several gigs as an actress, Gray is working on her 2012 release, Covered.

Thursday, December 1

Headline: Neon Indian
Where: Bardot
Cost: $40 ($30 presale sold out)
Ages: 21+
Event Page: HERE

Notes: When Neon Indian last came to Miami, in October 2009, they had just plowed through the blogosphere as the mysterious darlings of chillwave on their way to Pitchfork permanence. “Deadbeat Summer” was on everyone’s playlist and the band from Denton, TX, was arguably the country’s hottest new indie thing. On Dec. 1, they’ll return as the undisputed kings of the hotly disputed genre to perform at Bardot during Art Basel.

Led by Mexican-born Alan Palomo, Neon Indian have toured with some of South Florida’s best. They summoned West Palm’s Sumsun, a chillwave duo whose music channels Palomo’s style, to the West Coast late last year for a few dates on a bill that also included Sleigh Bells. Back in ’09, ANR played three Florida shows, including the Oct. 15 midnight set at Rok Bar, with Neon Indian in support of the Miami duo’s sophomore release, Hearts. Neon Indian also collaborated on the debut album of Australian electro-pop band Miami Horror, who is playing the Electric Pickle on Dec. 3. After releasing their invigorating debut Psychic Chasms in 2009, a couple of EPs (one with the Flaming Lips), and dozens of remixes, Neon Indian finally released their follow-up full-length, Era Extraña, on Sept. 13.

Headline: YACHT
Where: Electric Pickle
Cost: $15
Ages: 21+
Event Page: HERE

Notes: When YACHT released See Mystery Lights in 2009, Claire Evans and Jona Bechtolt unleashed a shock to my system that didn’t want to hear anymore electropop duos. Funky, dramatic, funny, quirky, and totally unconstrained by the limitations of a genre, YACHT — an acronym for Young Americans Challenging High Technology — also incorporates some deeply weird but utterly good-natured personal beliefs centered around the symbolism of the triangle (read about it at teamyacht.com/what). YACHT’s musical ethos aligns closely with LCD Soundsystem’s — YACHT is actually on James Murphy’s DFA label — with an approach that transforms gadgets and gear into a holistically instrumental and musical experience. The Microphones connection: Bechtolt was in The Blow for three years with Mikhaela Yvonne Maricich, who sang on four of Phil Elvrum’s albums, including The Glow Pt. 2.

Headline: Special Disco Version (James Murphy/Pat Mahoney of LCD Soundsystem) and The Black Lips
Where: Grand Central
Cost: FREE (RSVP)
Ages: 21+
Event Page: HERE
Listen: “Raw Meat” — Black Lips

Notes: When former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy and drummer Pat Mahoney get together as Special Disco Version, it’s a sweaty, gyrating journey into the shared heart of two men who want you to love disco as much as they do. SDV (which takes its name from the outdated industry term for a “remix”) began as a DJ side project a few years ago that gave justification to the duo’s maniacal vinyl hunting. It also gave the pair an outlet to experiment with their core LCD content while introducing people to the obscure and underappreciated disco songs that originally impassioned Murphy to found DFA Records. The duo’s simple aim to throw a good party turned into an anachronistic and transformative experience through carefully curated and remixed long forgotten disco music. Eventually booking a full-fledged international tour in 2008, the duo had to set the project on the backburner in favor of LCD’s final leg. Now that LCD is kaput (for now), Murphy and Mahoney return to man Grand Central’s DJ booth in one of the original disco cities.

The Black Lips, original Bruise Cruise captains and industry rapscallions, return to Miami to lay down their melodically destructive breed of punky garage rock. Earlier this year, The Black Lips released their sixth LP, Arabia Mountain, which was produced by Mark Ronson and Deerhunter’s Lockett Pundt.

***

Headline: Music Loves Art with Nas and Theophilus London
Where: Ricochet
Cost: Invite Only
Event Page: HERE

Notes: This is the opening night of the heavy-hitting series Music Loves Art*. With his tenth album due out next year, Nas is a man who needs no introduction. Theophilus London is a Brooklyn-reared emcee who dropped his official LP debut, Timez Are Weird These Days, back in January. Factoid: His debut EP, Lovers Holiday, featured Dave Sitek of TV On The Radio, which is playing Ricochet, a new Midtown venue, on Friday, Dec. 2, for Music Loves Art’s second night.

*Do not confuse Music Loves Art with Art Loves Music, the official ABMB concert that usually goes down at Collins Park the Wednesday of Basel week (past acts include Iggy Pop and Metro). There is reportedly no Art Loves Music show this year, which kinda sucks, and not only because M<3A's organizers are getting away with particularly shameless brand-jacking.

Headline: Prince Rama, Selebrities, Pollyn, Jonti, Entresol, Steven A. Clark, Albert Vargas
Where: Mamushka’s
Cost: FREE
Ages: 21+
Event Page: HERE

Notes: The Nightdrive collective knocked the ball clear out of the park, putting together a cohesive lineup of imaginative artists who strive to make their music a holistic experience. Prince Rama, the otherworldly Hare Krishna trio and one of the more distinct buzz acts, can transform any space into a spiritual dwelling place with their repetitive chanting, angelic singing, tribal beats, chimes, and scary synths (amateur hallucinogen-users need not apply). Their Krishna background is interwoven in every story written about them, but its placement within their otherwise psychedelic music is what got them noticed (and signed) by Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks label.

Australia’s Jonti is a masterful arranger and producer, a pop savant, and a stunning vocalist, landing his music in the frustratingly indefinable land between everything and nothing. Jonti’s 2011 album, Twirligig, displays a skillful manipulation of studio gadgets as well the tactical approach to use pop music and melodies as samples.

Boasting some of the funkiest guitar sounds this side of Michael Jackson and vocals reminiscent of Beth Gibbons (they cover “Mysterons” with aplomb), Pollyn is one of the most inventive post-rock bands around. Everything you need to know about them lies within “How Small We Are”.

The new wave Brooklyn trio Selebrities released an album so shamelessly 1980s that it doubles as proof of how quickly trends become legitimate launching points for young bands. Delusions, their 2011 release, is a lush synthesizer affair that utilizes space exceptionally well and is filled with glossy, melancholic vocals and danceable sadness.

***

Headline: Salem
Where: Gusman Center for Performing Arts
Cost: FREE (RSVP is required to rsvp@onfwd.com)
Event Page: ?
Listen: “King Night” — Salem

Notes: Salem, the Midwest trio of John Holland, Heather Marlatt, and Jack Donoghue, produces a brand of dense electronic music so bleak that is sounds like they’re soundtracking suicides. With tiny glimpses of levity in the form of Marlatt’s breathy vocals, Salem’s 2010 album, King Night, has some significant highlights when the trio reaches beyond their sonic preferences. Overall, however, those moments are too few and Salem’s darkness becomes too insistent and boring.

***

Headline: Wale
Where: Revolution
Cost: $37.70
Ages: 18+
Event Page: HERE

Notes: An emerging hip hop superstar, this 27-year-old D.C. native toes the line of manufactured radio rap and legitimate party hip hop. While his lyrics are hit (“Fuck rap/I get pussy off a haiku”) and miss (“Don’t bother me/High as shit from my broccoli”), Wale can compete with Lil Wayne in phrasing and rhythm. What separates Wale from potentially succumbing to radio dreck is that all of his tracks are filled with high-end, original production. On Ambition, as on his previous material, Wale surrounded himself with a supporting cast of producers willing to inject a variety of flavors to club tracks, like on the Diplo-produced “Slight Work”, in which Wale and guest Big Sean rap over a minimalist grouping of repetitive siren sounds and snares. Born to Nigerian parents, Wale (given name Olubowale Akintimehin) will perform at Revolution with Meek Mill, Pusha T, and Black Cobain.

Friday, December 2

Headline: Moby (rare acoustic set!)
Where: Bardot
Cost: $48 (early bird tix sold out)
Ages: 21+
Event Page: HERE

Notes: We all know and love electronic pioneer Moby. Well, maybe not Eminem, but fuck him. Occasionally, however, like a groundhog emerging from hibernation, Moby will provide an unadulterated glimpse into the world of his otherwise mechanical creations. This will be one of those nights as Moby decides to step out from behind the DJ booth and deliver acoustic interpretations of his music as a three-piece unit, which usually includes the rich vocals of Inyang Bassey and the violin work of Claudia Chopek. Though demand has driven the price up a bit, there’s good reason for it. You will come away with an entirely new respect for Moby as an artist. Moby is a nifty string picker and his voice is baritone and deadpan, but astoundingly emotive. If for some reason you’re on the fence between this show and his DJ set at Mansion on Dec. 3, do yourself a favor and hit the play button.

Headline: Yelle
Where: Fillmore
Cost: $33
Ages: ALL
Event Page: HERE
Listen: “Safari Disco Club” — Yelle

Notes: Safari Disco Club, the second LP from French dance pop trio Yelle, is as much fun as it sounds. Without ignoring the fact that Yelle’s pop hovers quite closely to American teen pop and Korean pop, Yelle distinguishes its music by mixing in a heavy dose of airy new wave (not to mention singer Juliet Budet’s exotic looks and erotic voice). Like fellow countryman and ’70s pop pioneer Plastic Bertrand, Yelle isn’t afraid to ride the extremes of pop music, alternating between fits of playfulness and sophistication. Sometimes I wonder if much of America’s shitty pop music can be salvaged simply by having Budet interpret it.

***

Headline: Music Loves Art with TV on the Radio
Where: Ricochet
Cost: Invite Only
Event Page: HERE

Notes: Fresh off their extensive Nine Types of Light tour, TV on the Radio returns to Miami just two months after playing the Fillmore Miami Beach back in October.

***

Headline: Cody Chesnutt
Where: The Stage
Cost: ?
Ages: 21+
Event Page: HERE

Notes: Cody Chesnutt is starting to seem like the house act at The Stage after booking his third gig there this year. His last was on Nov. 11 and his first back in February (see photos). Luckily for us, he’s the man.

Saturday, December 3

Headline: GZA
Where: The Stage
Cost: $20 (presale), $25 (door)
Ages: 21+
Event Page: HERE
Listen: “Liquid Swords” — GZA

Notes: Gary Grice, aka GZA, aka The Genius, is 45 years old. While that makes me feel old, the legendary Brooklyn emcee knew that time would play right into his hands. GZA’s epic narratives, rife with historical color and street-wise bravado, gave way to a prescient poetic voice: “The immortality of my fame is the measure/of others’ torture, burnt offer from a flaming author/The falconer who flies enough birds for the chase/Strictly excel in what is excellence with grace/The significance was not the vocal applause of entrance/but the feeling that exits, completion of my sentence/With aging experience, my reason ripens.” GZA is as ripe as ever, still at it, with RZA on the knobs, working on the sequel to their collaborative 1995 smash hit, Liquid Swords.

***

Headline: Tom Tom Magazine Female Drummer Showcase with Miss Frankie Rose, Holly Hunt, The State Of
Where: Churchill’s
Cost: $5 adv/$7 door
Event Page: HERE

Notes: Tom Tom Magazine, which dedicates its pages to the world of female drummers, plucked some of Miami’s finest (not just female) drummers for its Basel showcase. Holly Hunt’s Beatriz Monteavaro and the State Of’s Nabedi Osori, two versatile drummers working within vastly different projects, will play sets alongside Miss Frankie Rose (formerly of the Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls) on stage at Churchill’s. The showcase includes sets from Snakehole, Bonnie Riot, Mother Popcorn, Cave Rave, and Follow That Bird, and will follow a drummer’s workshop next door at Sweat Records with Tom Tom editor-in-chief Mindy Abovitz and Nam June Psyche drummer and artist Valerie George.

***

Headline: Music Loves Art with Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings
Where: Ricochet
Cost: Invite Only
Event Page: HERE

Notes: Sharon Jones played the Fillmore Miami Beach back in March during her I Learned The Hard Way tour. Nine months later, she’s back to give Miami its Sweet Philly fix.

***

Headline: DFA Records Art Basel Bash w/ live performances TBA and DJ sets by Nancy Whang and The Juan Maclean
Where: Bardot
Cost: $28
Ages: 21+
Event Page: HERE

Notes: Whoever the secret performers are, this is a hot ticket. With DFA Records’ head honcho James Murphy, frontman of LCD Soundsystem before the group disbanded back in April, tag teaming the DJ booth at Grand Central on Dec. 1 alongside LCD drummer Pat Mahoney, this could spell out a partial reunion with LCD bassist Nancy Whang in the house. It could also simply mean performances by DFA artists already in town for DJ sets like Hot Chip, Holy Ghost!, and The Rapture. Only one way to find out …

Headline: Fuck Art, Let’s Dance w/ Miami Horror and DJ Harvey
Where: Electric Pickle
Cost: $25
Ages: 21+
Event Page: HERE
Listen: “Holidays” — Miami Horror

Notes: To give you an idea of the breed of electropop Australia’s Miami Horror dabbles in, you need look no further than the song credits for “Holidays” from their 2010 debut LP, Illuminations. One of three tracks in which Miami Horror enlisted Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo, “Holidays” also credits Luther Vandross’s “Sugar and Spice (I Found Me A Girl)”, a 1981 track from which they culled the plucky guitar and resonating bass. While the result of the song is more of a nod to disco, Illuminations is a testament to Miami Horror’s ability to funnel wildly diverse tastes into a focused set of sophisticated dance songs.

***

Headline: Basel Castle 2011 with Yelawolf, Penguin Prison, The Rapture (DJ set) et al.
Where: Overthrow Castle
Cost: FREE with RSVP (admission isn’t guaranteed); $10 (entry guaranteed)
Event Page: HERE

Notes: For the hardcore party-seekers who like their booze and sweat mixed with glitz and glam, Basel Castle is your final destination. Yelawolf, the peripatetic Southern white rapper on Eminem’s Shady Records, will headline the night along with performances by NYC blue-eyed soulster Penguin Prison (aka Chris Glover), Florida psych-rockers Bastard Lovechild of Rock n’ Roll, and a formidable group of ass-shaking DJs, including Brooklyn post-punks The Rapture and Puerto Rican former Playboy Playmate Tamara Sky.

***

Headline: Mondo Fest 2011 with Cro-Mags, Madball, and more
Where: Eve
Cost: $30 (2-day pass); $18 (day of show)
Ages: 18+
Event Page: HERE
Listen: “Age of Quarrel” — Cro-Mags

Notes: A late addition to the Basel monster, Idle Hands and This Is Not Dead Productions present a two-day hardcore fest starting on Saturday and featuring NYC thrashcore legends Cro-Mags. Day one features The Beltones, Templars, Hub City Stompers, Unit Six, Antagonizers (ATL), Liberty Call, Out of Sorts, As Kultura, and Love in Arms. Day Two: Madball, Cro-Mags, Anger, and Thick as Blood.

Sunday, December 4

Headline: Music Loves Art with Penguin Prison
Where: Ricochet
Cost: Invite Only
Event Page: HERE

Notes: The Music Loves Arts series ends with Penguin Prison, aka Chris Glover, a NY-based electro pop remixer who recently released the 7″ “Animal” through Neon Gold Records.

With ABMB still more than a week away, we expect new shows to keep popping up. We will add them to this post on an ongoing basis, so stay tuned.

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5 Comments on “Art Basel Music Guide”

  1. 1 Jose said at 2:33 am on November 22nd, 2011:

    Get Lost: Art Basel is the big one on Sunday. It’s Crosstown Rebels’ party at The Electric Pickle.

  2. 2 Valeria said at 7:09 pm on November 29th, 2011:

    What about Twin Shadow?! New times posted that they’re playing Friday @Grand Central, but now the venue seems to have changed. Any news?

  3. 3 William said at 7:34 pm on November 29th, 2011:

    Valeria,

    The show is in Wynwood (27th St and 2nd Ave), but I was told it’s an invite-only show. Email FridayRSVP@epoplife.com to see if you can wrangle an invite. If not, don’t fret as Twin Shadow is playing Bardot on Jan. 14.

  4. 4 Ashley said at 11:27 am on December 1st, 2011:

    I think Prince Rama is no longer playing.

  5. 5 William said at 11:38 am on December 1st, 2011:

    Thanks for the heads up Ashley. That’s a major bummer, but it looks like Geneva Jacuzzi has been summoned to fill the lineup hole.


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