SALEM @ the WALDORF – 1/22


Salem is the soundtrack to an eerie and damp night, completely lost and alone in the middle of the woods with the uncertainty of being alone or not…blinded by the pitch black surrounding. That fear, that mystery, that spine tingling chill that you crave: that’s what Salem has accomplished with the popular album “King Knight” featuring songs about drugs and somber inner struggles. Arguably the one of the biggest current trends of the past year, Salem’s heavy dark trance music has created a wave which has effected the way music enthusiasts think about plaid t-shirts and any piece of clothing that isn’t stark, raven black. Consisting of John Holland, Jack Donaghue and Heather Marlatt, Salem brought the darkness to the Waldorf Hotel this Saturday for a highly anticipated headlining show. Regretfully, this anticipation set their loyal fan base up with high expectations that for many were not met. Read more about Salem at the Waldorf after the jump!

Salem, “Trapdoor” by selftitledmag


There is no denying that all in attendance, 90% of which were blending into the dim light of the dance floor, were frothing in anticipation for the band. The power (call it witchcraft if you’d like) they have over their following is beyond many in their music category. The dance floor was packed with talk by dedicated fans of which songs they were looking forward to such as Trapdoor, one of the many twisted and demonic songs that is nearly impossible to get out of your thought pattern for the majority of a day. The show began with screaming fans as the smoke rose throughout the venue creating an immediate Wiccan atmosphere through the eclipsed venue. Was it a good thing or a bad thing? Opinions varied but many could agree that coming to a live performance is about seeing the band members in the flesh…unfortunately it was as though they were silhouettes.


As a Salem fan myself, I was shocked to see the lack of interaction with the crowd. Some may say that their separation with the crowd and absence of merch may be a fault of the rapid fame they received through viral exploitation. During their short set of songs, which excluded many fan favorites (including Trapdoor), there was a noticeable lack of communication with their fans and recognition of being in Vancouver. Though it may not have much to do with their musical talents, it does give an impression of what their performances were like. The low, throaty vocals of Salem are one of the unique factors of their music adding to the enigmatic heavy bass aura of their tracks, making me wonder before the show how it would translate in a live performance. Once again, I regret to say that I am still unsure of whether they had to translate anything, as their set seemed pristinely identical to the tracks you can hear straight off the CD. Still, no matter what route Salem decided to take in terms of their performance, the fans were still all over it. Those devoted to them are truly and completely obsessed, which makes for an eventful evening and high-energy group.


Salem’s music has opened up many groups of people to a different view on gothic culture and music. To date, their album has been widely celebrated by many and continues to bring the best dark waves and mood to any situation whether at a venue or in a private setting. Their album and their performances may be on a completely different end of the spectrum, but by no means does it affect the way loyal Salem-ites as they continue to follow their path as a band.  If you haven’t already, check out Salem before they turn into an even bigger phenomena.


Words by PLYFE


10 Responses to SALEM @ the WALDORF – 1/22

  1. mike steel says:

    happy that I bailed on this one, who is really surprised that they’re shite live.

  2. anthony says:

    I thought I was the only one

    and by that I mean I asked everyone and they thought they were genius

  3. libertinah says:

    they’re great but they haven’t polished their performances enough to be doing the large scale venues that they’re doing. Since they didn’t have to work as hard as other groups to build this loyal fanbase, they’re not quite ready to deal with it. In my opinion.

    I’ll still listen to their album on the daily.

  4. Matthew says:

    the thing about salem is that most of their songs are all pretty slow and brooding… which doesn’t really translate to an amazing live show. its hard to put energy into a set when the song is supposed to be dark and lethargic.

  5. MYSTERIO says:

    So this show took place underwater in the afterlife/netherworld, judging by some of the awesome pictures. Nice work.

    There’s even mermaids:

  6. PLYFE says:

    i agree with you Matthew. nothing against the band, i love their music. it’s just one of those sounds that doesn’t necessarily impress in a live setting. i’m pretty confident they will improve over time.

  7. libertinah says:

    i don’t think it’s the style of music, i’ve seen similar bands really bring forward some emotion and energy when they perform.

  8. BisouBisou says:

    These photos are gorgeous.

  9. STRYKR says:

    These photos are fuckin awesome.

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