The video above I took my first day at SXSW. Salem closed the iamsound party playing after jj and Sleigh Bells. Most of the crowd bounced after Sleigh Bells and it was really, really late at this point. The sound guys were awfully slow at getting bands set up so Salem only got to play 4 songs.
John (the guy rapping above) took to the mic and performed “Trapdoor” and “Tent.” On record his voice is heavily altered, making him sound more like a 400 pound black guy than the 20’ish year old scrawny bro that he is. Frankly I’m having a hard time coming up with words to describe the performance. This is a band most will find better suited to record. I left a little bewildered.
My initial reaction was ‘this kind of sucked’ but what with the pentagram necklaces, the passed out groupie mid-stage, the girl from The Ring bobbing all over the stage in front of me, Heather’s thigh high leather boots and the unflinching death glare from John, the more I think about the performance the more I find to like about it.
There have also been stories about the band getting booed off the Faderfort stage. The comments section on this post on Fader is a pretty great read and gets into live bands vs recorded bands as well as editors possibly trying to control their staff a bit too much.
I think what it comes down to is: did you enjoy the performance? I saw them twice and until I had a few days to ruminate on the experience I don’t think I had anything positive to say though I was certainly telling everyone I saw about how bizarre it was. In the end there was certainly no band I wanted to listen to more post-sxsw than Salem. So, I think that says a lot.
Here are a couple of mixes:
And some of Jack’s other hiphop leaning tracks.