Basel Castle 2012: Twin Shadow, Trinidad James, and Purity Ring

Photo by Ian Witlen
Basel Castle
With Twin Shadow, Trinidad James, Purity Ring, and many more
The Overthrow Castle, Miami
Saturday, December 8, 2012

Better Than:
Getting stuck on the wrong side of the entrance ropes.

While most of Art Basel Miami Beach week involves outsiders swooping in with dollars and largesse, trying to show everyone how to party, Basel Castle is a true homegrown success.

The Overthrow crew's annual blowout started in 2010 as a (very, very fun) rough-around-the-edges affair, powered by warm beer and underground artists. Since then, the event's exploded, along with hype and demand.

See also:
-Basel Castle 2012 at Overthrow Castle: The 44-Photo Slideshow
-A$AP Rocky Swarmed by Art Weirdos at Art Basel Miami Beach Show (Video)
-Danny Brown and Shepard Fairey Go Bananas for Art Basel at Bardot Miami
-Fashion Freakouts at Basel Castle 2012

On Saturday night, Basel Castle had morphed into an all-out twisted, artsy street carnival and block party with a full gauntlet of promotional sponsors, multiple stages, and lines on lines on lines to get in.

Photo by Ian Witlen

The Castle's gates opened at 6 p.m., and as organizers warned, bodies started filling the place almost immediately. As with previous years, The Overthrow gave would-be revelers a free RSVP option. But that came with the caveat that they'd have to show up before 8 p.m. to get access to the Castle itself, and not just the block party.

Even that wasn't guaranteed, though, if the Castle filled up first with party people who secured their spot by buying $25 priority tickets. Guess what happened? Yes, things filled up quickly, and not a single extra soul was going to squeeze in, thanks to watchful fire marshals posted up everywhere.

Photo by Ian Witlen

After early-evening sets by locals ranging from Jacuzzi Boys to hip-hopper J Nics, the event reached critical mass by around 11. Straggling rave kiddies danced to L.A. Riots on an outdoor stage while other attendees inexplicably lined up by the dozens for a PBR- and Pollo Tropical-sponsored coloring booth. Artist-designed midway games lined the street next to artists painting live, giving off the distinct scent of aerosol paint fumes.

Photo by Ian Witlen

Then past another line, there was the main party and stage inside the Castle itself, where the run of major headliners started with former-South-Floridian-made-good Twin Shadow. As the "band" is really sort of a solo project by George Lewis Jr. -- one of a few Dominican-Americans rising in hipster-y music circles! -- his live appearances in Miami have varied wildly in quality. During last year's Basel, for instance, an outdoor Twin Shadow performance at an Asbolut vodka pop-up venue was marred by spotty sound and slightly off-key singing.

Photo by Ian Witlen

Not so at Basel Castle, where Lewis showed up backed by a fully fleshed-out band and livelier stage patter. All the requisite hits, from "Five Seconds" to the older "Slow," coasted on the sleek, synth-y sound of the recorded versions, with just enough meatier low-end to keep things interesting. Lewis, in between, hammed it up like a pro. He waxed nostalgic about his South Florida upbringing at one point, and urged audience members to strip off their shirts and wave them in the air at one another.

Photo by Ian Witlen

There's probably not a weirder juxtaposition than following a Twin Shadow set with one by rising Atlanta rapper Trinidad James, but such is the Basel Castle booking M.O. Taking the stage around 1 a.m. (almost early for a rapper), James benefited from a turnt-up crowd lubricated by Bacardi and beer and OK with getting a little ignorant for an hour.

The 25 year old's a lightning rod for critics and rap-watchers right now, and it's easy to see why. His songs are unapologetically not for sober listening -- his viral hit "All Gold Everything" repeats lines like "Popped a Molly, I'm sweatin" ad infinitum. Nor is James particularly literate or nuanced. Over the course of the set, we learned he hustles, hates snitches, and loves Asian and white women.

Location Info


Overthrow Castle

41 NW 20th St., Miami, FL

Category: Music

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Basel Castle event management needed to do a better job of "herding" attendees thru the entrance gate particularly from 7:30 to approx 9 PM. There was no clear signage and attendees stood packed like sardines, mocked by the clowns head at the entrance. Many of BC goers stood for more than 2 hours. VIP endured the same fate. First impressions are everything. 


@ariellec is such a dope writer. We're lucky to still have her down here! lol


@kelliann.mcdonald The signage mistake was my fault and I take full responsibility, due to the very nature of the printing industry, when prints get damaged or print weird, they need time to be reprinted... and time was extremely limited. By the time i got there to install signs all hell had broken loose.

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