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NEW DARK AGE – Nov 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn November 7, 2019 @ 10:26 pm

New Dark Age – Nov 2019

Dia de Muertos – Day of the Dead

Nov 1-2, 2019

This year we decided to do something really special for Halloween. Well, let’s just say for the Halloween season. Because the Mexican Dia de Muertos – Day of the Dead – is a distinctly different holiday that occurs right on the tail end of Halloween — extending from Nov 1 through Nov 2. One day is dedicated to remembrance of departed children, and the other is for deceased adults, usually ancestors. It traces its origins to the Mesoamerican, indigenous holiday, when Aztecs and other Nahua people celebrated this feast honoring the dead as far back as one or two thousand years ago. As with so many pagan traditions, it became appropriated by the Roman Catholic colonization by Spain, i.e., it was made to coincide with All Saints Day, celebrated by Catholics around the world. Now it is a national, public holiday in Mexico.

Dia de Muertos is not to be confused with Halloween although distinctions have blurred in recent years. Day of the Dead is celebrated with colorful remembrance and displays of fearless love for departed relatives, whereas Halloween is a dark, macabre event evoking horror and mischief. The ubiquitous displays of skulls and skeletons – however joyfully presented – has created a false convergence of the two holidays in the minds of many observers, and not just those north of the border. Even some Mexican celebrants don zombie attire and makeup that more reflect the latter rather than the former. Mexican children have incorporated trick-or-treating on Halloween that continues through the next two says of Dia de Muertos.

Pre-Columbian/ Mesoamerican Day of the Dead

To prepare for what we were about to witness, we toured the Anthropological Museum where we found ample evidence of a death-centered religion including death by human sacrifice. The museum is filled with artistic representations of skulls and skeletal remains of sacrificial victims from pre-Columbian civilizations that flourished long before there was a Mexico. We climbed the steep, monumental Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan and walked the Avenue of the Dead connecting it to the nearby Pyramid of the Moon, both thought to have been the sites of human sacrifice.

The Offerings Altar

The central element of modern-day Dia de Muertos is the construction of household altars with flower arrangements and food items tailored to the special likes and tastes of departed relatives being honored — parents, grandparents and others — whose photos are posted atop the edible offerings. Special, sweet, delicious bread – the pan de muerto — is always included. The dead are remembered and are thought to return in spirit to enjoy the consumption of their food favorites by their living descendants.

In Mexico City’s main square, we observed the construction of enormous, temporary structures to house over-sized, public versions of the altars that are universally set up in virtually every home. Costumed individuals, their faces made up as skulls in stark black and white strolled amidst colossal, colorful skulls and skeletons present on every corner, in the streets, in stores, hotel lobbies and parks. Indigenous performers danced in the street to the rhythm of native drums and conducted healing rituals amidst clouds of fragrant incense. Three-dimensional representations of Calavera Catrina, the elegantly dressed skeletal lady in 19th century attire with her wide brimmed hat, were everywhere, coming in different sizes, ranging from monumental to miniature.
Venturing out into the rural environs, our host drove us to the village of San Andres Mixquic where spectacular displays in the local church, its courtyard, the local school and cemetery had drawn crowds from around the world to join in the festivities. Food and souvenir stands lined the path leading to these church-based attractions. Households along the way offered their backyards to provide parking spaces and opened their homes and allowed use of their bathrooms by the public for a nominal fee. As a measure of their profound hospitality some invited us in and offered us pan de muerto or other treats while we viewed the family’s altar.
Once we had passed through the rows of merchandise and food stands, we joined the crowd of revelers, many of whom wore costumes or skull-face masks and makeup, as we walked from attraction to attraction in and around the church and cemetery. The cemetery and its graves were decked out with candles, incense burners, bouquets and carpets of marigold flowers. Besides the myriad family tombs, there was a nameless pile of bones dignified with a crucifix to commemorate the native people killed during the Spanish conquests. There were cheerful altars — big and small — everywhere we looked, with food offerings, flowers and photos on exhibit. We dined in a makeshift restaurant set in the schoolyard of the local kindergarten.
A stage was set up where comedy routines, song and dance were performed with a traditional, folkloric Mexican flavor. The overlap with American country & western, cowboy music was unmistakable.
The whole experience was mind-blowing as well as enlightening. We could see how the ancient, Mesoamerican religion, so obsessed with death, served as a substrate for the equally death-obsessed elements of Christianity and Catholicism. Both worldviews focus on immortality and concern themselves with the mortal remains of ancestors, but the Mexican-based approach is cheerful, and jubilant, whereas traditional European Christianity takes a more somber and solemn approach. These two morbid traditions clearly complement each other, and with their synergy have produced a uniquely intense celebration of life and death.


Gothic Vampire Cruise
Oct 19, 2019
NYC
On a Saturday night in mid-October, electro-industrial band The Sedona Effect hosted a 2-hour cruise on the Hudson on a fully-rigged, 150-ft schooner. When the crew hoisted sail, guests were treated to a comfortable tour of New York Harbor, passing near Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, plus the gorgeous views of lit-up Manhattan. DJs Mike Stalagmike and Aengel with sound engineer Chris Savo provided ambient and atmospheric music between live acts. That included a performance by The Sedona Effect, namely charismatic vocalist Kai Irina Hahn, Joe Dallarda on guitar and Nicole Eres on keyboards.
The ever-present and ever-contributing Madame X served as stage manager. Statuesque actress Katherine Crockette, performing as Lily Langtry, put on a riveting, one-woman dramatic ballet. Both the performers and the audience of guests were decked out in Victorian or Steampunk attire, creating the atmosphere of a 19th Century gothic novel.
Live theatrical performances included interactions among Dr. Van Helsing (Victor Noirlocke), Sir William Gull a.k.a Jack the Ripper (Drew Nardone), the Prince of Wales (Zen Mansley) and Sarah Bernhardt, played by Kai herself. Socializing, watching the shows and imbibing kept guests well entertained the entire evening.
The bar served standard beverages plus hot cider and hot toddies. Cameras were everywhere, and photos as well as videos by Swav Jusis, Jesse Kleitman and Dario Valdivia are to be seen on the event’s Facebook page.

Ritualists
Oct 18, 2019
Bowery Electric
NYC
New York-based quartet the Ritualists, brought their latter-day glamrock/stadium rock sound to the Bowery Electric on this mid-October Friday night. Frontman for the band was vocalist and hyperactive stage performer, Christian Dryden, whose feet were seen to leave the floor more than once during the show. They performed the eight tracks of their debut album Painted People to a notably packed audience.
Opening with “Rattles,” the first track from the album with intensely plaintive vocals layered over sweeping, symphonic elements, they moved next into “She’s the Sun,” that has melodious, wailing vocals and middle-eastern-flavored accompaniment. Frontman Christian Dryden’s amazing vocal range became apparent as they transitioned into the new, third song, ”Queen of Dolls,” distinguished by its driving bass-line and Dryden’s facile falsetto vocals. The slowed-down, ballad-like “Starry Night” followed after giving Dryden another chance to showcase his strong and impassioned voice. Then came “Ice Flower,” the hook-laden, emotional and vocally-challenging first single off the album.
The sixth song, “Forbidden Love,” presented alternating styles between the feel of Black Sabbath and that of Duran Duran, and may be the best track on the album. Dryden justified to the Gen-X crowd his reaching back to the doo-wop era – in deference to his own mother in the audience – with the Elvis cover “One Night,” a stroll-cadenced retake of “One Night of Sin” by R & B singer Smiley Lewis. Both versions are worth searching.
The show concluded with the raucous title track, “Painted People,” and mash-up with the Bowie ”Heroes” medley, leaving the audience emotionally fulfilled.


Aether
Aeon Sable
Solar Lodge Records
Aether is the sixth release by this deep, dark, gothic rock band out of Essen Germany. We first ran into them when they took the stage at Castle Party in Poland, the Dark Alternative Music Festival in Poland where they were the most outstanding act of the whole event. Aether was released in 2018, but we feel sure that it is new to most American audiences.
Consisting of only seven tracks, it is nonetheless over one hour in length, featuring a couple of monumental pieces.
The first track, “Hand of Glory & The Nihilist,” opens in a wind-swept fantasy environment and is largely an instrumental dirge that lumbers along at a funereal pace, with groaning guitars to accompany Nino Sable’s melodious cries of desperation. From then, on, there is one irresistible song after another, with ringing guitars that reappear in several tracks as a kind of signature sound of the band. The rhythms are compelling, and will have one eager to get up and move freely on a dance floor. Nino’s vocals are distinctly confidant and the lyrics, persuasive.
A couple of tracks slow ominously down as guitars wail, growl and mingle with Nino’s impassioned vocals, but most set an irresistible pace out of which clear vocals rise mournfully and the guitars respond sympathetically.
The fifth track, “O Senhor Do Medo (The Lord Of Fear)” is a ten-plus minute work, sung in Portuguese. One doesn’t have to know the language. It is built on a repeated minor key arpeggio that climbs deliberately up and then relentlessly back down, which translates to inevitability in any language.
Several tracks feature ponderous, plodding cadences with restrained, despondent, echoic vocals and eerie background sounds giving a mystical, mesmerizing effect. Eventually these sonic elements gather and merge into a crescendo before reaching an exultant conclusion.
The seventh and final track is a monumental 17-minute opus that runs the gamut from soft, wistful vocals to harsh cries, angry, belching guitars, driving rhythms and soaring symphonic elements. It features a false conclusion at around 11 minutes, but then undergoes resurgence and concludes with an unmistakably Middle Eastern melody-and-rhythm conclusion.
The album is available on Spotify, Bandcamp, Youtube and as a CD from Aeon Sable’s website/Facebook page. It captures the gothic musical aesthetic feel like few other collections, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

NEW DARK AGE – OCT 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn October 14, 2019 @ 12:57 pm

Oct 2019

Massive Attack – The Mezzanine XXI Tour
Radio City Music Hall
NYC
Sept 26, 2019

The appearance of Massive Attack, the British electronic audio-visual music project took place at NYC’s venerable temple of art-deco design, Radio City Music Hall, five months later than originally scheduled due to prior cancellation of the April date. Headed by multi-media artist Robert Del Naja, a.k.a. 3D, Massive Attack is viewed as one of the seminal originators of the subgenre trip hop, and is noted especially for extraordinary light show accompaniment with their performances. Also noteworthy is MA’s heavy message of progressive, liberal-left politics both onstage and off.

On this Thursday night, while awaiting MA’s appearance on the stage, the crowd sat restively during an hour’s delay filled with lo-fi, cringe-worthy pop through blown speakers (think Britney Spears and Chumbawamba) before the much awaited band took the stage. No sooner than they did, a spectacular light show filled the back screens. After a bombastic, explosively dazzling intro, the oversized video imagery settled on peaceful CG-animation of aerial sequences – flights over idealized landscapes. Meanwhile, the stage was kept so dark that it was hard to discern how many band members or even how many drum sets (two) were on stage.

The opening number was a cover version of the Velvet Underground’s “I Found a Reason,” the first of eight covers that would comprise about half the songs performed that night. Other covers included The Cure’s “10:15 Saturday Night,” Bauhaus’s “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” one by Horace Andy, one by Ultravox, one from the late Swedish DJ and electronic musician, Avicii and Pete Seeger’s folksy “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”
All the other nine tracks that constituted the set were from its one source only, its most successful album: Mezzanine (1998). These included the eerie title track, the laid-back and jazzy “Exchange,” the slow-paced “Risingson,” the tribal/percussion piece “Inertia Creeps” and the galloping “Dissolved Girl.”

Unlike the peaceful imagery of the video accompanying the first song, the rest of the light show consisted of strobiscopic and rapidly flashed animated as well as still images of diverse and very disturbing sights, sometimes coordinated with the rhythm of the music, sometimes not. Large-letter text headlines and slogans overlaid many of the images as they flickered and resonated on multiple screens with messages pertaining to such timely and timeless issues as individual freedom, government control, conspiracy theories, pollution, militarism, conformity and the opioid crisis.

The high points in terms of crowd response came during the 14th and 15th songs (of a total of 17), namely “Angel” and “Teardrop,” the two seeming favorites from the Mezzanine album. The crowd’s roars of appreciation indicated that they had been amply repaid for the uncomfortable hour-long wait for the show to begin.

Assemblage 23
QXT’s 28th Anniversary

Sept 14, 2019

To mark the 28th anniversary of QXT’s, the area’s premier alternative/industrial nightclub, Seattle-based electronic band Assemblage 23 took the stage. The opening act, Helix, a collaboration of A23’s Tom Shear on keyboards and vocalist Mari Kattman performed a Synthwave set that was well received.

The first time A23 played at this venerable institution was 20 years ago, so it was a special anniversary for the band as well as the club. In celebration, the band put on an incredible, 85 minute set covering virtually their entire repertoire, i.e. all their hits plus a few rarities. Crowd favorites included “Damaged,” “Naked” and “I Am the Rain.” Vocalist Tom Shear was joined on stage by long-time keyboardist Paul Seegers and new addition to the group, live drummer Michael Jenney of the band Alter Der Ruine. The floor was packed approaching full capacity.

That a relatively small, unpretentious club like QXT’s continues to summon some of the top names in modern music like A23 is a noteworthy benefit to local NJ fans as well as commuters from the greater NYC area. Rarely does one get to see and hear performers of such national and international status close up and personal as this. Much can be attributed to the tireless planning and sometimes difficult arranging done by the production staff who have few of the resources available to major venues such as the nearby Prudential Hall, Madison Square Garden or Radio City.

Cold Waves NY
Brooklyn Bazaar

Brooklyn NY
Sept 18 & 19, 2019

The annual Cold Waves Festival crossing the country stopped for two days in NYC this year at Brooklyn Bazaar hosted by Saint Vitus Bar, Xris SMack and bands from that particular genre.

Severed heads and Xris SMack! at Cold Waves Festival

Wednesday Sept 18 featured post-industrial electronic duo Statiqbloom, “machine rock” group project Chem Lab and English alternative rockers Pop Will Eat Itself. Xris Smack did the honors deejaying.
The following evening Thursday Sept 19 featured Jenna from Anatomy, Ministry’s Paul Barker with his “Min Dub Sound System,” Severed Heads and British soundtrack artists Test Dept.

An afterparty show was held at nearby Saint Vitus club featuring Seattle metal rockers Confines live and DJ sets by Patrick Codenys of Front 242 and famous author/lecturer and DJ Andi Harriman.

Goth Symposium: An Afternoon of Illustrated Lectures
Brooklyn Bazaar

Oct 5, 2019

Noted author on all things dark and 80s-centric, Andi Harriman hosted an all day symposium on the Goth scene as it relates to society, culture, art and music.

Topics included the following:
“Black on Black”
“Gothic Queer Culture”
“A 40-Year Love Affair Between Goth and the Occult”
“Mexican Gothic: The Thematic and Aesthetic Presence of Goth Culture in Mexico”
“Post-Punk Album Art from 1978 – 1990”
The symposium was followed by a performance of the German band Pink Turns Blue.


NYC
Oct 5, 2019
The October occurrence of Necropolis took place – as it always does – at NYC’s Windfall on the first Saturday of the month. Host DJ Father Jeff was joined by Aengel and Patrick taking turns in the booth. Sara from QXT’s manned the bar and Paradox hawked her unique merchandise from a table just off the dance floor.

DJ Father Jeff at Necropolis

Father Jeff opened the night with “Evelyn” by Clan of Xymox, setting the initial mood, but eventually “Für” by And One and “Crucify Me” by Moev turned things considerably more lively. Eventually Siouxsie and the Sisters of Mercy served as definite anchors to the timeless substrate of Post Punk music.

Making the scene that night were breath-taking beauties Ashley, Chloe and Lauren, each of She-Devil events fame; Matt V Christ, who seemed inseparable from the aforementioned trio of lovelies; DJ Arsenal and Monica; long distance scenester from the Jersey shore, Michael Kennedy; late arrival, William Welles; and Bill, the omnipresent pencil-&-flashlight artist.

The floor was, as usual, crowded with dancers who responded enthusiastically to the compelling mix of darkwave, goth and industrial tracks that filled the air.


NYC
Oct 12, 2019
Saturday Oct 12 saw another occurrence of the Red Party at Mercury Lounge, this one featuring two live bands, plus the customary deejay skills of DJs Sean Templar and jarek Zelazny. Notables in attendance included George Grant, Xris Smack and Jeffo! and hostess M Banshie Templar among others.

Doors opened earlier than usual, at 10 pm. The opening band, post-punk, Brooklyn-based Bootblacks, came on at 11 pm with a set heavier on percussion and electronic sound than vocals or melody. Shortly after midnight, Vancouver-based quartet, Actors put on a crowd-pleasing post-New Wave set with guitar and synth-accompaniment to a lead male vocalist plus a positively thrilling female vocalist and keyboardist.

Actors on stage at the Red Party


Turnout was unusually high and the price of admission reflected the double-bill.

Paradise
KMFDM

This is the twenty-first album by German industrial band KMFDM, a guitar-laced, electro-industrial re-statement of the band’s persistent message of defiance and denunciation. It contains eleven tracks, most in the four-to-five minute range with a the fourth, title track running eight solid minutes.

Today, KMFDM consists of a new core lineup with founder, frontman and principal composer/vocalist Sascha Konietzko; along with Lucia Cifarelli, frontwoman/ principal writer lead female vocalist; and includes Andy Selway on drums and Andee Blacksugar on guitar. Guest performers include Raymond Watts, an original member who contributes his deep, rumbling growl on the ninth track; vocalist Andrew Lindsley; and bassist Doug Wimbish.

In the opening track, “K.M.F.” a hoarse mantra repeatedly issues the call to “Kill, mother-…” in response to the alleged injustices by the powers-that-be, enumerated by rapping vocalist Andee Blacksugar and female vocals that alternate with audio samples. “Oh My Goth” showcases Cifarelli’s feminine vocal appeal as she alluringly declares herself “the queen of hell,” to the backdrop of relentlessly belching and squealing guitar riffs. In the title track, Konietzko and Cifarelli lay out the cynical rejection of utopian assertions to a sharply choppy break beat and guitar cadenzas.

Founded in 1984, KMFDM has never abandoned their post-punk industrial roots, nor have they done so with this latest release. New synthetic sounds, elements of world music as well as vocal novelties have even been introduced here. Nevertheless, galloping rhythms continue to prevail through most of the album, often with pleasingly melodious synths and varying vocal styles. Reggae rhythms make their appearance in the final track “No God” before transforming into a funky rhythm when Konietzko and Blacksugar make their harsh, whispered statements before the track ends with an industrial sample of an unanswered phone call (to God?)


Last Rites Gallery
NYC

The Last Rites and Booth gallery is holding an exceptional art exhibition titled “The 13th Hour” at its location on Manhattan’s West 38th Street. An opening night gathering took place on Saturday Oct 12, to which the public was encouraged to wear “costumes and macabre fashion.” While there was little outright compliance with this request, the grooming and attire of the New York art scene crowd would fit the description of “macabre” most anywhere else in the country. As is the consistent style represented at this establishment, the trend is predominantly surrealism. Furthermore, in keeping with the general spirit of the institution, the subjects and images are mostly iconoclastic if not downright horrific.

Attendees at Last Rites gallery’s “13th Hour Exhibition”

I counted around twenty-five works of art, mostly paintings in oil, but also acrylics, sculptures, constructions and drawings. Some beautifully rendered, intensely detailed paintings portrayed juxtapositions of serene still-life subjects with gory, disembodied anatomical organs. One layered construction in a shadowbox resembled a textbook of dental-facial anatomy gone terribly wrong. Nightmarish images and explicit renderings of horrors like drowning or ecological catastrophe were disturbing enough. Skulls, bloody faces and anatomical distortions were in abundance including distortions of feline as well as human anatomy.

Some of these works were further enhanced with imaginative, elaborate custom framing. Metal, clay and epoxy sculptures were shocking for their hideous representations of body parts, desecrated religious symbols and portrayal of monstrosities. One or two dreamy, serene images were rendered eerie by virtue of subtle artistic effects. Prices ranged from the low thousands to eight, nine and ten thousand dollars. A good number of works were already listed as sold.

Complimentary wine was served, and the space was crowded with enthusiastic, studious and sociable representatives of the underground, counter-cultural art community.

NEW DARK AGE – Sept 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn September 18, 2019 @ 9:39 am

Castle Party 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn August 13, 2019 @ 10:08 pm

Peter Murphy interview with New Dark Age

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn August 8, 2019 @ 2:24 pm

NEW DARK AGE – JULY 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn July 27, 2019 @ 9:21 am



New Dark Age – June 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn June 20, 2019 @ 12:31 pm



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May 2019 NEW DARK AGE

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn June 5, 2019 @ 2:13 pm

New Dark Age May 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn May 22, 2019 @ 7:51 pm

Johnny Marr at the Wellmont

May 1, 2019

Prolific singer-songwriter Johnny Marr is was born John Maher to Irish Catholic parents and raised in Manchester England where he began his musical career at age 13. The area surrounding Manchester is dotted with numerous American and British Army and Air Force bases that were established during and active after the Second World War. The exposure to American blues, rock and country & western music had an intense influence on the young people growing up in that vicinity, and the number of world-renowned bands coming from the area is legion. Opening with the unbelievably rousing anthem, “Tracers” from his third solo album, the “Call the Comet” (2018) Marr set the stage for an emotionally intense and enthusiastic show. He followed with the Smiths’ “Big Mouth Strikes Again” with characteristic 80s sound from the Smiths’ album “The Queen Is Dead.” Next came the brand new composition “Armatopia” then he returned to “Call the Comet” for “Day In and Day Out,” which Marr described as a dealing with the issue of obsession. Several more tracks from that new album were interspersed with Smiths songs, most especially the revered “How Soon Is Now?”

So it went, alternating between more from “Call the Comet” and iconic Smiths songs, right through the encores which were represented by two from each category, concluding with the powerful “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet.”

Besides Marr’s famous work with Morrisey and the Smiths, he has played and collaborated with such well-known bands as The Pretenders, the Crib, Modest Mouse and the supergroup, 7 Worlds Collide. Marr’s jangly and unique guitar style has had incalculable influence in the alternative music scene.



NEW DARK AGE – April 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn April 22, 2019 @ 11:43 pm


Darkside of the Con – March 29, 30, 31 – 2019

There are almost countless “fandom” conventions that cater to one or more pop culture phenomena. Prime examples include the Comic Con, Steampunk Con, Dragon Con, and the cons devoted to Anime, Manga, Star Trek, gaming and many more. Most fandom cons include a significant component of darkside interest. E.g., the first con I ever attended was Goth Con in New Orleans in 2001.

For the past three years, under the auspices of his online community, Vampire Freaks, impresario and producer Jet Berelson (Jet VF) has hosted an increasingly popular, annual convention that caters to the fans of dark entertainment and interest – those generally known as Goths.

Jet Vampire Freaks & friends

Darkside of the Con 3 was a three-day convention held at a castle-shaped, luxury hotel, the Sheraton in Parsippany NJ. Its scope, as in two previous iterations, included everything dark and creepy, whether musical or fashion related, especially those morbid phenomena with a sly, tongue-in-cheek aspect. Goth – as the subculture labels itself – is a “big tent” phenomenon, built around post punk, electronic and industrial music, its adherents identified by predominantly black attire.

The Long Losts on stage


Performances by some eighteen bands, including such famous acts as Stabbing Westward, Aesthetic Perfection and Assemblage 23 were held in a Grand Ballroom. Beloved local and indy bands filled the bill. Renowned deejays from New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia spun appropriate tracks for late night dance parties, balls and nightclub-themed events, including Cybertron, Stimulate, The Red Party and QXT’s. Naughty burlesque performances and costume contests featuring outrageous and diverse characters took place. Some contestants wore incandescent and LED-illuminated total body garb. Others appeared as villains and victims of sci-fi, fantasy and horror fiction. A live theater troupe performed the action of “A Nightmare Before Christmas” simultaneously while the movie itself ran on the big screen behind them.

Some costume contestants

Panels and lectures/workshops abounded with such interesting and useful subjects as Goth Parenting, the Paranormal, Rope Bondage, Gothic and Horror Literature, Mask Making and Elders of the Goth community. Live action role playing theater invited attendees to participate in the action. Artisans of all ages got to paint in a workshop, and an introduction to making electronic music was held for aspiring composers. History buffs got to learn about the Original Goths and How They Shaped the World.

A lecture and demonstration of live bats was presented in a side room by state licensed wildlife exhibitor “Batman” Joe D’Angeli. Joe’s background as a singer in a 90s glam metal band and as a frequent presenter at Chiller granted him a certain theatricality in addition to his take on conservation science.

Hallway beauties


The halls were lined at all times with vendors selling artworks, jewelry, garments, accessories, literature, and more.

Vendor stands

Those same halls were replete with the most astounding and alluring eye-candy that this subculture can put forth. Both scantily-clad beauties and decidedly overdressed models, some in steampunk, outlandish or fetish attire strolled the corridors displaying their costumes, corsets, headdresses, footwear, horns, studs, spikes, armor and the like.

Mr Haunt and friends

Not only does Goth flaunt the norms of mainstream culture and society, but encompasses numerous subdivisions and outliers that go against the norms of Goth itself!

Sights in the corridors


No one, not even Jet VF himself – who was omnipresent, seeing to the smooth running of events – could take it all in. Without intending to slight or overlook many of the fine and fabulous participants, I offer my own observations on those few highlights I was able to attend, given the fact that I was confined for most of the three day schedule to my table where I was vending artworks from the opening hours on Friday night right up until the closing on Sunday evening.

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Panic Lift on stage


At around 10 pm Friday night, one could attend a screening of the original “Dracula” (1931) starring Bela Lugosi. Friday’s lineup in the Grand Ballroom included Jersey boys Panic Lift, who wed electro-industrial to melodious song, sometimes sung full-throat, sometimes delivered in a distorted growl. A video of their performance at Darkside is linked on their Facebook page.

Stabbing Westward

It is not a shortcoming, but a virtue that Friday’s headliners, Stabbing Westward, rest upon their laurels that go back more than thirty years, because this is music that never fails to excite. The industrial rhythms, the recurring hooks, Chris Hall’s plaintive scream and mantra-like lyrics constitute a formula that is hard to beat for sheer musical enjoyment. Their performance was followed by a show of voluptuous beauties on stage as the Darkside Burlesque.

Around the same time, and going on into the night were two party events. The Red Party hosted by Sean Templar et al. ran a night called “Stay Sick” playing Deathrock, Goth and PostPunk. A few doors over, Cybertron teamed up with Stimulate to host an industrial dance pajama party.

One of several dance parties


Saturday performances in the Grand ballroom started at 2:00 pm with Lorelei Dreaming, an electro-EBM group with a bewitching female lead. Also on the playbill was the horror-rock couple, the Long Losts, who spiced their act up with a sexy dancer/contortionist. Later Rexx Arcana’s FGFC820 performed harsh EBM as a lead into LA-based industrial/pop trio Aesthetic Perfection, just before another round of costumes and burlesque.
Meanwhile in the various salons were panels on Gothic literature, on “What the Hell is Goth?” and on Dark Visual Arts. A panel of Elder Goths brought their combined life experiences to bear on the issues of the Goth subculture and the Goth lifestyle as they relate to personal values.

Elder Goths Panel

The evening ended for many with a QXT’s-hosted dance party at which one could stomp to Sisters of Mercy, Skinny Puppy and Covenant.
On Sunday, those wishing to participate could wake up to morning yoga. There were panels dealing with race issues in the alternative music scene, on polyamory, on Gothic horror in cinema and a conclave of the Iron Garden community. Kids were entertained in a salon that offered Spooky Story Time, Spooky Coloring and the chance to paint a ceramic skull with or without supervision.
Stone Burner performed a violent, primal kind of tribal rock music in the Grand Ballroom. Andy Deane’s singing solo with the backup of percussion as The Rain Within was nothing short of spectacular and not to be forgotten.

Andy Dean of The Rain Within

At 5:00 pm the festivities ended with EBM favorites Assemblage 23, and the vendors closed down amidst last minute impulse sales.
Happiness, a sense of community and a feeling of exhausted satisfaction prevailed as attendees, participants and the staff brought the festival to a conclusion.

Play It Loud – The Instruments of Rock & Roll

The Metropolitan Museum just launched a mega-exhibition entitled Play It Loud – Instruments of Rock & Roll, co-organized with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This is the first time a major museum examines the instruments of Rock & Roll. It’s impossible to overestimate the influence of Rock & roll on 20th century culture. The instruments have had a profound impact on the form that rock music has taken.
Guitars and bass guitars make up the essential bedrock of the exhibit, and include the first ever Fender from 1949, Les Paul’s early “Klunker” (1942), “The Hoss” Telecaster, the Stratocaster, the Gibson Southern Jumbo (1944), Rickenbacker’s Twelve-String and Eddie Van Halen’s “Frankenstein” composite electric.
Radical designs include such novel shapes as the “Flying V, the skewed Explorer and the SG by Gibson. But the collection also includes a petite grand piano, a Tama drum set, an upright bass, the Aztec 5-string, and a bass violin.
The Hammond organ is represented along with the Moog synthesizer and numerous compact electric keyboards. The venerable saxophone made the transition over from jazz and blues to rock & roll, and is seen in the collection along with such special items as the autoharp, Brian Jones’s Appalachian dulcimer, the Rolling Stones’ violin. Trumpets, trombones and the Sitar and even the Theremin are on view.
Rigs, amps and Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP piano with custom housing round out the music-making machines.
But there are also stage costume garments and iconic posters that demonstrate the rock & roll sensibility in graphic arts. Many show wear and tear as well as actual destructive abuse, The term “Loud” in the title refers not only to the sound but to a whole style and attitude.
All in all there are 185 objects that make up the exhibit, and there are both a catalog and a photo book available for purchase.
The exhibition is free with Museum admission.

Album : “Invocation” with image of Bulgarian “kukeri”

Dead Can Dance
Dionysus – Act II: The Invocation
Back in October last year we reported that Dead Can Dance was releasing their ninth studio album. It went on sale in November 2018. Now they have released a fascinatingly beautiful video of “The Invocation,” the second movement of the Act II of this album, “Dionysus.” It was directed by a Bulgarian company and contains breath-taking imagery including Bulgarian folk dancers – called “kukeri,” in colorful, exotic costumes. They perform ancient Balkan ritual dances as a form of exorcism to ward off evil in a tradition that is believed to date back to the cult of Dionysus, the Greek god who is also the title and the subject of DCD’s album. Mingled with the dance sequence are magnificent time-lapse landscape and skyscape sequences that are the signature style of video artist Ron Fricke, previous videographer for DCD and responsible for “Koyaanisqatsi” (1982) and “Baraka” (1992).
Above all, it features the glorious and blissful music of Dead Can Dance and vocals by Lisa Gerrard that are of surpassing beauty. It’s easy to access and view on Youtube by searching for it under the title and Dead Can Dance. DCD will tour Europe in May and June of this year. They haven’t announced an American tour yet.

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