Five Free Art Basel Shows Worth the Miami Commute

We've all been there: You hear about a great show lineup, but once you look up the venue, it's at least a half hour away in Miami, and you still have to pay for tickets. Pffft. Well, this time it's Art Basel week, and we've come up with the five coolest shows you should check out this week. And they're all free!

So now you have an excuse to rub shoulders with celebs and supermodels as we clue you in to the best free shows at dive bars, beach side, and more that provide everything from local bands to seasoned national acts -- all taking place a short drive away. You're not going to want to stay in this week, so grab your Red Bulls.

Wednesday, December 1
Art Loves Music, with Metric
As someone who's seen beachfront shows a few years running, I know that nothing can really replace the feeling of sand squishing between your toes while dancing to a band that's propped up on a stage a few feet from the water. This year's Art Loves Music kickoff event is headlined by Canadian indie new wavers Metric, and with ever-so-sexy Emily Haines at the forefront, how can we really resist? Oh, and if you want to beat the traffic, the party will start hopping at 6 p.m., happy hour style, with music from Detroit.

Metric, at Oceanfront Pavilion at Collins Park, between 21st and 22nd streets, Miami Beach. 10 p.m.; admission is free. For more information, click here.

Thursday, December 2
Phantogram with Twin Shadow and Flosstradamus
Phantogram's trademark oohs and ahhs and Sarah Barthel's sultry vocals round off guitar and synths, making for very swayable songs. We're not really sure what their brand of "street beat psych pop" is exactly, but you can expect a decent mix of trip-hop, electronic beats, and Serge Gainsbourg-influenced sex appeal. What's more, Twin Shadow and Flosstradamus are joining in on the fun, which also includes a DJ set by Prince Terrence and "the Art of Recycling" with live painting and live poster printing.

Phantogram, with Twin Shadow and Flosstradamus, at Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. 10 p.m.; admission is free with RSVP here. For more information, click here.

Thursday, December 2
FriendsWithYou's Building Blocks Afterparty with Jacuzzi Boys
We all know FriendsWithYou as those cute and cuddly little animated creatures that surround Miami's lesser-known landmarks. Hey, they're no Romero Britto, and we're happy about that. Though their Pharrell and Shepard Fairey show earlier in the evening does have an admission fee, we're guessing the same crowd will make its way to Bar afterward for the afterparty. Hey, there's no party like an afterparty, and with Jacuzzi Boys' tropical death metal blend, we're pretty sure the party just won't stop.

FriendsWithYou's Building Blocks Afterparty Jacuzzi Boys, at Bar, 28 NE 14th St., Miami. 10 p.m.; admission is free. For more information, click here.

Jacuzzi Boys - Smells Dead from John McSwain on Vimeo.

Friday, December 3
Artificial Reef: A Projection Series, Opening Reception with ANR and Sumsun
If you'd like a little more art with your music, you may want to check out "Artificial Reef: A Projection Series" on Friday. ANR and Sumsun will be performing "live aquatic soundscapes" that will match up perfectly with Coral Morphologic's works that have been transformed into video displays by artist Jamie Harley, and will be on display on a bunch of HD flatscreens throughout the gallery. The bonus? It will also be projected onto the bands as they perform, too, and you can expect complementary Prestige Beer for the trouble of driving down south. If you like what you see, Coral Morphologic's work will also be projected against the West Wall Clock Tower ("Cassiopeia" at 407 Lincoln Road) and the North Wall of the Wolfsonian ("Helios" at 1001 Washington Avenue).

Artificial Reef: A Projection Series, Opening Reception with ANR and Sumsun. At the Art Deco Welcome Center Gallery, 1001 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. 8 p.m. - 12 a.m., admission is free. For more information, click here

Stay Kids (live) from ANRMiami on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 4
Basel Castle
With Theophilus London, Rye Rye, Amanda Blank with Sweetheart, JESP, and more
OK, so there's no use in denying it: The first thing that attracted us to this party was the thought of a castle. It just sounds so regal, and how many other "castles" do you know of being thrown in the middle of Art Basel? It doesn't hurt that you can snag some free PBR before 9pm, and catch exhibitions from 13 transatlantic artists. Also on hand you can check out the TOTT Carnivale, with contemporary artists reimagining the classics like dice, dominoes, jigsaw puzzles, and playing cards. You can play carnival games, and win tons of cool prizes. While we don't exactly picture carnivals and castles going hand-in-hand, it still sounds like a winning combo to us. Oh yeah, and as if all of that weren't enough, you can catch performances from Amanda Blank, Rye Rye, Theophilus London, JESP, and so many more. Phew.

Theophilus London, Rye Rye, Amanda Blank with Sweetheart, JESP, and more. At Basel Castle at the Overthrow Castle, 41 NW 20th St., Miami. The party begins at 5 p.m., and admission is free with RSVP here. For more information, click here.

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Christine Borges
Contact: Christine Borges