Salem, “Redlights” at the Levi’s® FADER Fort

There seems to be a little bit of misinformation surrounding Salem‘s performance at the FADER Fort last Saturday and our own reception of it. We’ve long loved the group, put them on one of our limited edition 7-inches and in the magazine and on this site about a billion times and are grateful they decided to risk playing at a venue that was never going to serve them well. So when FADER editor Matt Schnipper used a portion of his latest column to address the show, and said that they were “booed offstage” and were “not good,” it was within the context of saying how much he likes their music and how ill-suited the Fort was to display it. And of course a few people took it out of context and tried to make it seem like we were clowning a band that we’d booked, which is not the case.

Salem needs heavy bass, crushing synth and vocals buried—this is not a secret or a cover-up, it’s how they do things. We know this. We like this. One of the necessities of throwing a mini-festival like the Fort, though, is that bands don’t really soundcheck. They get baseline set-ups and the sound is tweaked by our excellent crew for like one minute before the bands play. So Salem didn’t sound “bad” so much as they didn’t sound like Salem. It’s like if we’d put Nas up there with a paper bag and an accordion—it would’ve been awesome to watch but not really Nas. BUT the fact that a few people howled (and this is probably more accurate than “booed offstage”) isn’t really a bad thing. Salem’s whole shit is to make people uncomfortable and maybe wonder what is going on. They had a girl sitting on the floor of the stage doing nothing for chrissakes, it’s not like they’re unaware of their image. So anyway, take that for what it’s worth but don’t think that we’re piling on over here, we thoroughly enjoy whatever it is that Salem is doing.

And now, here’s Salem’s performance of “Redlights” from the Fort, and here’s what it sounds like on their album Water. Feel free to discuss in the comments.

POSTED March 26, 2010 11:30AM IN LEVI'S/FADER FORT, Levis Fader Fort Main Category, Levis-Watch Comments (73) TAGS: ,




  1. If you’re that bored about playing music (and if your music isn’t meant for a live performance in front of a bunch of the music industry’s frat boys), here’s an idea: KEEP THE MYSTERY AT HOME. Keep smoking resin out of an old Pepsi can at home, keep recording your poodle farting, keep sleeping in wizard’s robes, and don’t ruin the “mystique” by playing some giant “fest” show.

    Again, musical taste is subjective, so sticking up for these clowns is totally a matter of opinion. That said, if you want to go down with the ship for thinking that this somehow has some merit, then by all means, go for it.

  2. Ashley says:

    It’s all blurred out! Trapdoor is our shit. Dude was awesome…girl like a cat in heat. Maybe that’s a good thing?

  3. Luke says:

    I think salem is whats up. SxSW is for lame 30yr olds, im sure they didn’t feel them. I don’t know how they are live, but id rather see them take a nap then another indie band or electric band dancing around trying to be cute, but if that’s what you all are on, your in luck cause there’s fucking millions to choose from. SALEM <3 for me though


  5. Bea says:

    What is most confusing about Schnipper’s Salem review and this attempt to clarify the backlash it created is the amount of strange insincerity and tactlessness amongst what I recognize as a supposedly legitimate source for music opinion. This in its entirety is disappointingly unprofessional.

    Fact is, Salem’s music doesn’t lend itself to being played live and as a developing band they are trying to cohesively structure their live performance in a way that mirrors their recorded releases.

    It’s a shame Fader fell ill to recognize their own self-promotion by booking a popular band like Salem for SXSW knowing their sound would be difficult to reproduce in such a large venue.

    If they played a poor show and the overall criticism is that they need to work out their live performance…that’s really it. There’s no need to get cute or “Schnippy” about it.

    : )

    Haters need to stop trolling.

  6. Also, is it just their background that makes them interesting? Aren’t there a billion kids farting out this same stuff on Garageband right this moment?

  7. Bradley & Susan Thomas says:

    Greg “kentuckychrome” Fraklin is weird. How you gon try to judge someone when you have is you trollin?…bitch you might be!

  8. Bradley & Susan Thomas says:

    “farting out” Greg “kentuckychrome” Fraklin…LOL your so gross!!!!! I bet you have a pony tail.

  9. Bradley & Susan Thomas says:

    @Greg “kentuckychrome” Franklin (again)

    ok, sorry, we were trippin’. we were the ones trollin’ hard just now. but like, all i wanna say is:

    u blog is like u talkin 2 thys carrot [aint no one listenin', juss u n the carrot] LOL….but like, we finna stop now, we done gunnin on yo ass greggy.

  10. JUDEY says:

    whats the deal with the levi guitar pic shot @ :31 ? i don c no guitar..
    n the guitar center kick drum shot @ 1:25 ??
    and the budweiser shot @ 1:08 ???
    wait SALEM was playing?!?

    lil drummer boys kinda hot. no homo

  11. Patrik says:

    This sounds good, I don’t really understand the controversy. If you don’t like them, don’t listen to them. <3 SALEM 4EVER.

  12. matt d. says:

    the most pathetic thing i’ve seen posted here has to be the use of “hater” more than once. seriously? “oh no, somebody didn’t drink the kool-aid. has to be a hater” please…

  13. Chives says:

    COMICAL. Please leave Chicago.

  14. Jahmal says:

    Hey Fader, can you please post the song “All Blurred Out” where your boy on the drums has the lyrics “stupid nigga I grew up in the streets”? And then write a really long essay about how it’s OK that this white guy (probably from the suburbs) uses the word nigga freely, because we now live in a post-racial society.
    Or perhaps he grew up around black friends in 8 mile Detroit and they say it’s OK for him to use the word nigga.
    Or maybe because he used to be a gay hustler and how the struggles of gays and blacks are at times parallel, and it’s cool for their mostly white audience to cheer this on.
    Whatever, I don’t get this music, I admit that. However that you guys can co-sign some bullshit like that is pretty fucking wack.
    I wasn’t at this show, but perhaps with the vocals up like they were and not drowned out the audience members heard your boys lyrics for the first and began to boo because they did not appreciate the post-racialpseudoqueer genius of his use of the word nigga.
    On a side note I think I’d rather hear Nas on a accordion.

  15. JBLOW says:

    you think salem reads fader?
    they dont have to sell out in order to sell out of lps
    or 100$ tshirts
    who da fool now

  16. w/e says:

    Jahmal…are you drunk? “I don’t get this music, I admit that.”…so ugh, shut the fuck up. stop trying trying to write your dissertation on blog-o=sphere…cause your not saying anything new,just making people bored

  17. Jahmal says:

    @w/e you’re white right? I’ll make it really simple for you.
    If you’re not black don’t use the word nigga, if you use it in front of the wrong people there is a chance that you will get knocked out.
    As much as your boy looks like the art school kid rock, had these clowns been on before Bone Thugs (w real live black people! in the audience) chances are they wouldn’t have left the stage in one piece.

  18. Julian says:

    Salem is an internet band, it’s obvious all of their stuff is made on garageband, it’s just lazy. If it weren’t for the internet they wouldn’t exist. I hate bands or anyone who capitolize on the internet, it’s such a shame. The fact is rock n’ roll is coming back, people want to hear full bands, real drums, real guitars. They’re just so whiney and boring, emo is dead, there’s nothing to be sad about, just man the fuck up. People want to have fun, noone cares if you were a prostitute, that was your stupid decision, so go hangout in your bedroom and play with your butthole, you’re pussies and everyone can tell. Fuck sellouts, fuck fader, it’s just all so boring. I know you guys wish you could play real instruments, you’ll never feel the satisfaction of playing a guitar or a real drum set, sorry. Poor babies wouldn’t last a day without their macbooks. And Peter chillout man you’re a nerd. I hope salem blows up, that way it will help sort out the fags from the cool boys.

  19. John Doe says:

    Fake music, fake people, please stop. You’re all very ugly, Heather you’re a melted ass hoe with a nasty ass face. John you look like a sad little twink with a greasy ass pizza face. Jack you are an awkward ass troll with an awkward ass face and stupid London hipster style. You think you avant garde saying nigga and rapping and shit, art school babies need to chill and stop being so ugly it’s hurting my eyes.

  20. Sarah Merkle says:

    Ew stop with the hateful comments. There’s more constructive ways of criticizing music. I don’t like that Salem is glamorizing this sort of vice magazine lifestyle. I’m sure they’re very depressed people, but they shouldn’t spread this darkness around. They don’t realize what they’re doing. It’s so easy to get caught up in negativity, and it’s also very fashionable at the moment, but it’s not original and it’s time for young people to move on, which i think they are. Noone really wants to be depressed anymore, people want to have a good time and love eachother. Prostitution and satanism are sad and hurtful. Please stop glamorizing these things, Vice, salem, artists, etc….. <3

  21. Bunch of haters. You don’t understand that it’s just that you can’t understand; and when ignorant people can’t understand, then they hate. if you don’t like it just don’t listen, it should be easy.

    You won’t believe me now, but this making underground music history. SALEM FOREVER.

    P.D. “Prostitution and satanism are sad and hurtful” yes, that’s why we like it!(not that i want people to be satanists and prostitutes, but it’s also cultural and antropologically interesting). No offence Sarah, really : )

  22. Chronic666 says:

    It’s not hate if it’s true Eduardo. I like Salem RECORDED. I don’t think they’ve achieved an adequate live show that is demanding of the audience in any way though. I find both this and ‘Tent’ great recorded but live I am bored to death and it just sounds like all that force and vomit that this band possesses on record tries to push through a fucking terrible P.A system. Dudes need to get some 8 stack Ampegs stat.

  23. Hey, do you maybe habe a prove