doktorjohn.com

June 2017 New Dark Age

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn June 9, 2017 @ 7:18 pm

Svmmon at Talon Bar

Brooklyn
A new dance night, Svmmon, self-described as a “decadent, dark experience” opened at the downstairs space of the Talon Bar in Brooklyn’s Bushwick section on Friday May 12. And, no, it is not misspelled. Host deejays Joe Hart, Andi Harriman and Hi-Fi Hillary filled the air with new and classic goth, darkwave deathrock dance music. Heard during the night were such prime movers as “Poison Door” by Sisters of Mercy, “Stranger” by Clan of Xymox and “The Calling” by Death in June. A rather repetitive video loop showed silently on a brick wall in the passageway between the bar and dance floor. The bar was well stocked and the friendly barista a most adept and accommodating mixologist. There was seating along the walls for those who needed a rest from hoofing it.

An early highlight and photo-op occurred when gorgeous ecdysiast Casandra Rosebeetle took to the dance floor in black, fetish-inspired attire and – to musical accompaniment – removed her garments right down to and past an attractive lingerie outfit and beyond.null

Facebook counted around 62 attendees. There appeared to me at least that many. It suffices to say that the place was packed to capacity with enthusiastic and black-clad dancers and imbibers.

For an opening night event, Svmmon appears to have set some king of attendance record for a small, downstairs venue, portending a very serious revival of the Goth scene in the greater NYC area.

Tribute Night at Maxwell’s

Hoboken

SIN
Battle of Los Angeles
Schism
June 2, 2017

There aren’t many ways to better spend a musical evening than taking in the performances of 3 superbly accomplished bands as they pay tribute to 3 of the best bands of the 90s. So, for the third time in as many months we headed to the venue where SIN, the region’s top Nine Inch nails tribute band opened the night .

SIN onstage at Maxwell’s

Lead guitarist Keith Williams, mastermind behind Tool tribute headliners, opened SIN’s set with a virtuosos rendition of the short , menacing riff known as “Pinion” from the “Broken” album. Lead vocalist Byron Huares then led the group on an 8-song set, starting with “Terrible Lie” and then “Head Like A Hole,” the monumental piece that lays at the roots of the whole electronic-industrial craze of the 90s.

At one point, a semi-transparent screen went up between the stage and the audience, on to which elaborate animate graphics were projected. When the screen came down, Byron was stripped to the waist except for leather forearm gauntlets and a blindfold-mask of black tape.

Proceeding through the NIN time sequence, SIN next executed faithful selections from “Downward Spiral,” “The Fragile” and “With Teeth,” then returned to “Downward Spiral“ with “Closer,” remembered for its shocking phrase that ends with “…like an animal,” and which changed forever the acceptance of the “f-word” in the world of popular music. Their set concluded with “Burn” from the movie soundtrack of “Natural Born Killers” and “Wish” from the debut EP “Broken.”

Besides keeping faithful to the strenuous vocal demands on the NIN oeuvre, Byron threw himself enthusiastically into the physicality of the style, capturing Trent Reznor’s early, acrobatic stage style.

Speaking of physicality, nothing could top Battle of Los Angeles’s lead vocalist, Christian Alcantara who performed the stunts of leaping and hopping while also capturing the cadence and timbre of Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha’s defiant rap.

Christian Alcantara airborne – Battle of Los Angeles at Maxwell’s

The tribute set list, dubbed “The Battle of Hoboken,” consisted of 9 songs, all familiar to fans of RATM, starting with “Bombtrack” and “People of the Sun.” Alcantara’s angry vocals and wildly animated stage ballet was set against a backdrop of grainy black & white and color videos displaying politicians mouthing platitudes, street demonstrations, military displays, and riots. Favorites like “Bullet in the Head” and “Bulls on Parade” kept the crowd in constant motion, although fortunately a mosh-pit never emerged in the relatively tight confines of Maxwell’s back-room performance space. The set concluded with a ferocious performance of RATM’s signature piece, “Killing in the Name.”

The final act, Schism, masters of Tool’s music, has been reviewed in glowing terms previously in these pages. What more can be said about what is surely one of the most accomplished cover bands ever to take the stage, covering what is one of the most impressive musical projects of all rock history? Superb vocalist Angelo Rivera is supported by left-handed guitarist and band mastermind Keith Williams and his virtuoso team of Sean Murray on bass and Don Pusateri on drums. Touring since 2001, and now increasingly in demand nationwide, Schism is acknowledged by Tool itself as the best purveyors of their original sound.

Tool tribute band Schism at Maxwell’s

Their set that night covered a broad swathe of Tool’s oeuvre, delving deep into the formidable complexity of Tool’s works with such favorites as “Sober,” “46 & 2,” and “Prison Sex.” Schism is so well versed in Tool’s body of work that, as at previous shows, they called to the audience for requests of any and all songs by the band, easily satisfying all requests and leaving nothing is off limits.

The audience, as on each prior performance of Schism which I have witnessed, was stunned and awed by the sheer mastery and delicious re-creation of Tool’s revered repertoire of hits. Energized, yet transfixed by the music the crowd rocked rhythmically in place, many mouthing the lyrics that were long-ago committed to memory.

Ward 6 at Windfall

Manhattan

May 27, 2017

On the Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend, DJ Fr Jeff Ward held yet another occurrence of the long-standing, revered dance night featuring “new wave/ dark dance/ goth/ synth and industrial” as he likes to describe it.

Ward 6 dance floor at Windfall

In addition to his usual hospitality-related duties, Chris Savo was observed installing sound insulation to contain the music within the confines of Windfall’s fancy bar and dance floor. As usual, the friendly and capable bartenders Gerard and Julia kept imbibers happy, and a sizable crowd danced the night away in defiance of tradition of leaving town on the Memorial Day weekend. And as usual, dancers were motivated to enjoy the dance floor early on with such irresistible masterpieces as “Love Come Quickly” by Pet Shop Boys, “Where Greed Talks” by Wolfsheim and “The Silence” by The Rope; and later on by “Military Fashion” by And One, “Kick in the Eye” by Bauhaus and “An Eye for the Main Chance” by Rosetta Stone.

DJ Jeff Ward presiding at Ward 6

BODYLAB at Le Poisson Rouge
Manhattan
June 1

Deejays at Bodylab at Le Poisson Rouge

BODYLAB, standard bearer of Old-School EBM/Industrial returned to LPR where it got it’s start. A growing following of NYC Industrialists attended. The night featured DJs EISDRIVER (Qxt’s, Assimilate) and STRYKK9 from Philly (DeMolition, Spellbound) laying down the heavy EBM beats that kept the dance floor moving. This night was a special tribute to the Industrial act SPAHN RANCH and featured an all SPAHN RANCH guest dj set by the band’s vocalist Athan Maroulis.

Athan Maroulis of Spahn Ranch at Bodylab


Human Music

May 27 & 28, 2017

Human Music

QXT’s in Newark hosted an extraordinary 2-day festival focused on the revived popularity of what is termed “synthwave,” the retro futuristic style of techno-wave that adapts newer technology to 80s darkwave synthesizer-based music. This may in fact have been an unprecedented gathering of no less than twenty bands representative of the genre plus 8 deejays steeped in the style, supported by sound, lighting and video specialists with the same aesthetic sensibilities.

Tickets were priced at from $40 – $50 single-day/ $70 – $80 for both days depending on how far in advance; and $60 single-day/$100 at the door.

New Dark Age didn’t attend, but reports from those who did termed it a unique experience and spectacular success.

A listing of bands the first night included Magic Sword, mysterious group whose songs are featuring in video games; Betamaxx, famous for the “Kung Fury” movie sound track; Dead Astronauts in their only USA performance, Trey Frey from Philadelphia; The Rain Within from Charlottesville, VA; Boaconstrictor; and Protector 101 out of Ventura CA.

Davey Partain of AEON Rings at Human Music Festival

The second, full, day-into-night event started off with Dance with the Dead in their first east Coast appearance; Gost; Bit Shifter from NYC; Night Club (L.A.); Teeel from Trenton NJ; Street Fever (L.A.); Defiant Systems; Arcade High (Pittsburgh); STRNGR; Skeleton Hands (Cincinnati OH), AEON Rings (Brooklyn); Hunterquinn (Cincinnati); AndaruGO (Cincinnati) and The Encounter (NY).

Governor’s Ball

Randall’s Island NY

June 2,3 & 4 2017

Governor’s Ball, held over 3 consecutive days and night in New York’s Randall’s Island Park was jus too large a commitment in time and money for New Dark Age to fully attend, but the lure of Tool as headline band on closing night, Sunday, was irresistible. So our crew set out late Sunday afternoon, enduring unbearable traffic jams to reach the ferry slip where we boarded one craft in a steadily running shuttle service that ran from Manhattan’s East River shore to the park on Randall’s Island.

Ferry slip at entrance to Governors Ball on Randall’s Island

Disembarking there, then traveling on foot, we hit each of the four active stages, mingled with countless throngs of young – very young – attendees, and grabbed beers and snacks at various stands set up for the occasion.

Prohibited items at Governors Ball

Cage the Elephant from Tennessee held a vast crowd enthralled amidst whom was a smattering of skilled, self-entertaining hula-hoopers. Across the island, Phantogram, natives of Saratoga Springs, NY captivated the audience with a fine repertoire of hits and with the dazzling statuesque beauty of vocalist Sarah Barthel.

What we came for was, of course Tool. A fervid crowd had begun packing the area around the stage before 8:30. They were scheduled to appear on the main stage at 9:15 P.M. Tool made its grandiose appearance, opening with “The Grudge.” This was followed by “Parabola,” an extended version of “Schism” and a new version of “Opiate.”

Twelve songs made up the set list, each in a terrifyingly bombastic, yet deliciously accessible signature style; plus there was a spectacular but nameless, extended drum solo that utterly mesmerized the crowd.

The giant screens flashed images from Alex Grey’s hallucinatory art, Adam Jones’ creepy stop-motion music videos, psychedelic imagery and more. The late drug advocate Timothy Leary’s gigantic and distorted face, floated, dream-like and rendered a monologue that is standard fare at Tool events, promoting the philosophy of “Think for yourself.” The mysterious, spidery silhouette of Tool mastermind, Maynard James Keenan, darkly costumed in some kind of robotic armor, remained inconspicuous and elusive at the far back of the stage.

Maynard James Keenan revealed in the recesses of the stage

The crowd was moderately aggressive, especially close to the stage as we were, with many near-altercations that converted instantly into joyful and convivial mosh pits. Having started the show a couple of minutes late, it ended somewhat past the scheduled conclusion. The final piece, “Stinkfist” was still audible in the distance as we hurriedly crossed the vast field to catch a late ferry back to the City.

Solace at Paul Booth Gallery

Nature at Last Rites Gallery

The Booth and Last Rites Galleries on West 38th St in Manhattan are ever the places to visit for the latest in art with a gothic/punk/industrial flavor. Founded by renowned tattoo artist, Paul Booth in 2007 as an adjunct to his legendary tattoo parlor, these galleries operate in tandem to exhibit surrealist art with a grotesque and morbid leaning.

June 3 saw the opening reception for 2 simultaneous exhibitions. The one on the first floor was called “Solace.” On display there were, among other works, large-scale (up to 9’ X 10’), high-priced (up to $40,000) oil paintings by Adam Miller in the style of old masters depicting allegorical histories, anachronistic mythological characters in modern situations and bizarre images, all done with incredibly masterful technique. His magnificent “Dream of Paradise Remembered by Moonlight” served as the cover image on the flyer for the event.

Lou Ros, a former graffiti artist had smaller, whimsical works of oil and acrylic, some of which looked like he had purposely vandalized cleaner, neater works with pastels, added childish scrawls and the like.

Jean-Paul Mallozzi’s mixed graphite, ink, oil and acrylics also had a playful, vandalized look, featuring portraits literally defaced i.e., rendered anonymous by obliterating identifying features with gobs of medium.

Upstairs the exhibit was called “Dark Nature.” Exquisite, elaborate graphite drawings by Zoe Keller were attention-grabbers, as were metaphorical works by Annie Terrazzo.

Black Line

Treason, Sedition and Subversive Activities

Available on digital download

Black Line is an evolving, LA-based collective fronted by Nitzer Ebb vocalist Douglas McCarthy and founder, electronic music producer, Cyrusrex. The long list of collaborators is a who’s who of the electro-industrial scene, and includes such famous names as Paul Barker (Ministry/Puscifer) and Mark Walk (Skinny Puppy/OhGr) plus many more, equally famous. “Treason, Sedition and Subversive Activities” consists of 14 tracks with a decidedly high-tech sound.

McCarthy’s voice is familiar to fans of Nitzer Ebb. Whether hissing, growling or full-throated, it is generally up front, rendering the elaborately complex synthetic music personal and emotionally accessible. At once angry and desperate, his singing brings a welcome, melodious element to the busy, manufactured music. The instrumental intros to each of these songs afford the artists opportunity to create a variety of auras, some ghostly, others pregnant with a sense of impending significance. The manifold layers of sound include both familiar and unfamiliar synthesized electronic voices, plus menacing, low-pitched buzzing sounds, high-frequency arpeggios, simulation of a human heart-beat and something suggesting banging on an electronic trash can. The listener’s interest never has a chance to lag into boredom.

There is breadth to this album, with tracks that range from those that feature rapid disco-beats to those that sound like a remorseless, plodding, zombie march. McCarthy’s vocal narratives, some with backup male vocalists, hold it all together. A few tracks are voiceless, sounding like eerie, ethereal soundscapes or soundtracks for an apocalyptic sci-fi movie.

Alison Moyet

Other

Cooking Vinyl

If Alison Moyet ‘s name isn’t a household term in the U.S. it isn’t for any lack of recognition in the U.K. and the rest of the English-speaking world. In the 80s she co-founded duo Yazoo (“Yaz” in the U.S.) with Depeche Mode’s Vince Clarke. She then she moved to a solo career with the album “Alf” (her punk nickname) that reached number 1 on the U.K. charts. Since then she has put out a number of albums with varying degrees of success. She has collaborated or appeared with Paul McCartney, the Eurythmics, Bob Geldof, Bowie, Sinead O’Connor and Pete Townshend.

“Other” contains 10 tracks of a predominantly synthpop style, highly accessible, and obviously the work of an accomplished music professional and veteran with mastery of a variety of vocal techniques. Famed for her impressive contralto, her voice is “bluesy” although the music isn’t Blues by any means.

The first track has a trip-hop feel reminiscent of Portishead and affords the artist to showcase her powerful and emotionally evocative tremolo – as do several tracks that follow. Melancholy, but not morose, her vocal style fits equally well with slow-paced grooves as well as mesmerizing, rapidly paced dance tracks. She sounds sweet – like a string instrument – in the fourth track, then goes deep during the funky, explosive fifth track. The seventh track is an engaging, existential spoken word poem layered on a menacing, hissing soundscape. When, on the eighth track she is accompanied by a limited piano, she modulates her singing to the same sparse, exquisite level, but raises her presentation to almost operatic level when reaching for her raw, rock roots on several other tracks.

Listeners will find this album with its variety of styles accessible, appealing and quick to grow on them. This is artist knows how to express herself and therefore how to engage and please an audience.

Alison Moyet will tour the USA and Canada later this summer, hitting the Philadelphia/Boston/ New York circuit in early to mid-September.

Ne7w Dark Age May 2017 – First Anniversary Issue

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn May 16, 2017 @ 6:17 pm

Steampunk World’s Fair 2017

Jeff Mach has been hosting the SPWF since 2010, but the concept of Steampunk, that mix of space-age science and steam-age technology,goes way back to April 1987, when writer K.W. Jeter came up with the name to describe the category of that Victorian fantasy literature. Held annually the SPWF has grown so large that it now takes over two hotels, The Embassy Suites and the Radisson in Piscataway NJ – as well as the large courtyard between the two hotels, where a performance stage and vendors of antiques, crafted items and curiosities line a fairway where bizarrely costumed attendees can promenade.

QXT’s – Human Music Warm Up Party
Strict Machine

The Red Party

The Red Party held its 10th anniversary celebration on April 8, 2017 at Manhattan’s Mercury Lounge, its current home hosted by Mother Goth, Mandana Banshee Templar. Starting out as a dedicated Goth club at 200 Orchard St in NYC’s Lower East Side, bucking the then-trend of synth-pop and EBM, the Red Party made its way to Le Poisson Rouge for a while, then took up residence at Mercury. In the meanwhile, Communion, the Limelight, the Bank, the Batcave, Absolution, CBGB’s and CB’s Gallery left the scene.

The original Red Party deejays, Sean Templar, Jarek Zelazny were joined by Peter Holikaris Holik from SWitzerland for the anniversary event. The setlist consisted of a strictly curated mix of Goth, Post-punk and Deathrock in keeping with the histoprical theme. A live performance by The Long Losts , represented by the couple, Anka and Patrick created the highpoint of the celebration, bringing their year-round Halloween style to the party. Look for them at the upcoming Steampunk World’s Fair.

The Strange Exchange at Wellmont in Montclair


Strange Exchange April 15

The Aquarian and Weird NJ held their several-times-a-year odd-ball flea market at the Wellmont in Montclair on April 15, as they have been doing for a couple of years now, featuring vendors of offbeat crafts and collectibles, music and clowns . Stationed outside are a variety of food trucks and an entourage of eccentrically clad patrons, promoters and curiosity-seekers.

Grainy footage and trailers from classic horror movies and cult films shown on the stage big screen overlooking the market as one wends one’s way through the various levels and aisles where books, custom-printed pillows, scented soaps, homemade sweets, second-hand garments, hand-made accessories and punk-art pieces are sold. Alcoholic and soft beverages were dispensed by bartender Ike. A towering Easter bunny and a jovial, horn-honking, costumed gorilla mingled and posed for photos with guests.

Museums

Ripley’s Odditorium Times Square
Ripley’s Believe It or Not

Robert Ripley started this venerable franchise, which highlights the bizarre and incredible, as a syndicated newspaper feature back in 1918. As a kid, I remember cherishing the appearance of the weekly cartoon panel in whatever papers carried it. That childish fascination with grotesque humanity has informed the aesthetic sensibilities of many within the gothic, punk and industrial communities. It was an important cornerstone in the all-too-brief existence of the now-defunct Morbid Anatomy Museum, whose exhibitions were featured frequently in the reports of this column.

Ignoring the risks that I would be poisoning the minds of our two 4 and 6 year-old little girls, we took them on an outing to the commercialized but still fascinating “odditorium” on Times Square where there were some surprises along with the usual displays related giants, midgets and tattooed individuals.
I was pleased that Ripley’s thought enough of old-school punk couture to clothe a couple of manikins with the outfits and tattoos our tiny tots might aspire to wear when they grew to adolescence.
Other “teaching moments” occurred when taking the kiddies to tour the medieval torture chamber, the electric chair, Ripley’s collection of shrunken heads and Napoleon’s semi-authentic death mask. They also benefitted from a display case featuring the contents of the recommended kit for hunting and killing vampires.

Asbury Park Music and Film Festival

April 20 – 23
Various venues
Asbury Park, NJ
We decided to break out of the gothic-punk-industrial dungeon we normally occupy in order to examine one of the cornerstones of mainstream rock music where it resides and is on full display at the annual music and film festival in Asbury Park NJ. Starting on Thursday night of what unfolded as a four-day weekend oh live performances and film presentations covering everything for which the music scene at the Jersey Shore is famous, adolescent prodigies to Asbury’s own classic rock’n’rollers to a late-blossoming octogenarian blues man.

Along the way, and with the aid of some carefully produced and directed documentaries, we were able to piece together a portrait of the unique culture and roots of what makes this town of 16,000 such a legendary location and the breeding ground for its own brand of world-renowned music and culture.
With more than 10 venues and numerous acts and countless peronalities, it would be impossible to report on more than a small fraction of what went on at the APMFF.
The first event we attended was at the Langosta Lounge where the movie “Late Blossom Blues” traced the recent discovery of a then-81 year-old (now 84) blues man, Leo “Bud” Welch, one of the few living masters of down home, delta blues. Welch is unique in having not been discovered until he was in his 80s. After the screening, Welch moved to Langosta’s performance space and put on a live show that would be near impossible to experience anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon line.

The next day, Friday, the documentary “Just Before Dawn” was shown at the cavernous Paramount Theater, situated at the northern end of the boardwalk. Employing creative cinematography and archival footage, it told the story of the Upstage Club where musicians reconvened, afterhours, to jam and hone their skills after they had finished performing at the many music venues that prevailed in the golden age of Asbury. It was at the Upstage that famous talents such as Springsteen developed their style and skills.

Later we stood cheek-by-jowl with a tightly packed audience at the Stone Pony to see famous pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph and the Family Band perform some vigorous R & B. Over at the Wonder Bar, a 5-piece brass band, Lucky Chops performed unbelievably energetic jazz in a manner suggestive of a high school marching band gone wonderfully berserk.

On Saturday we sat for a series of film shorts at the Cookman Avenue gallery, Art 629. Entries included an affectionate documentary on the popular cover band, The Nerds, then an eco-minded appeal in “The Pines,” and a positively delightful animation, “Where Do the Seasons Get Their Names” which wound up being named winner of best short film at the festival. One disappointment was the film “Boujeloud; Father of Skins,” which should have told the tale of an Sufi community in Morocco who still honor – musically – the ancient Mediterranean god Pan, but turned into tedious, boring footage of male dancers and musicians playing traditional instruments against a backdrop of women preparing meals by hand.

The film “Local Legends” picks up the story of Asbury’s renaissance after the 1970 riots left it in shambles. Dilapidated and boarded up buildings are seen to prevail for the decades of the 80s and the 90s, yet the majestic and monumental, but equally abandoned Conventional Hall, the towering Old Heating Plant and the massive Carousel always hinted at a return to grandeur. In fact, the decrepit environment and cheap real estate fostered an influx of artists, the LGBT and – inevitably – musicians. Veterans, hot-rodders, bikers and photographers collaborated with furniture and antique dealers, investors, clergy, police, and other community leaders. All were connected by music and the town’s musical heritage rendering support to ownership and rehabilitation of music venues, clubs, bars and restaurants.

The Asbury Park signature musical sound, cultivated by all night, unpaid jam sessions at the Upstage emerged as a hybrid of classic rock, blues and metal that developed from playing covers of top 70s radio hits. This was brought to life at the APMFF when Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul took the stage at the Paramount, featuring a stadium-sized sound made up of Van Zandt’s vocals accompanied by guitars, bass, drums, native percussion, piano, synthesizer, a 5-piece brass band and 3 soul sister back-up singers. Bruce Springsteen himself, the sainted idol of this community, with whom Van Zandt had long ago collaborated, made an unscheduled appearance and by joining in, endorsed and sanctified the band, the Asbury sound and the festival.
Meanwhile, at the Stone Pony, Me First & the Gimme Gimmes performed spoofy, over-the-top covers of saccharine favorites to a packed house, while at the Wonder Bar, Waynard Scheller’s band reprised the jam style and music of the Grateful Dead.

Sunday morning gave us an opportunity to check out Danny Clinch’s large format celebrity photographs at Transparent, his studio which also houses Tina Kerekes’ vintage furniture gallery attached to the hotel.
The afternoon highlight was the incredibly polished performance by a highly accomplished band of pubescent hard rockers, The Junior Pros, shredding and drumming out covers of familiar hits by Heart and Guns’n Roses at the Wonder Bar. This crew of highly trained and talented kids were among the entries from the Lakehouse Music Fest, a showcase of a dedicated music school that could have served as a model for the film “School of Rock.”
Back on Cookman Avenue, at the House of Independents another such group of gifted youngsters calling themselves Morricone Youth performed a live, original soundtrack to accompany an unfortunately glitchy screening of one of the Mad Max movies.

On Sunday, the final day at the APMFF, we returned to the Paramount where singer-songwriter, vocalist and harpist Mikaela Davis and her group warmed the sellout crowd with melancholy folk and psychedelic rock chamber music prior to the performance of The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. This venerable New Orleans-based touring group of virtuoso musicians is dedicated to preserving the heritage of original New Orleans jazz. So joyous, so earnest, so captivating was the band that about half the audience rose up and crowded the foot of the stage in overjoyed adulation and rhythmic swaying right through to the end of the show.

Final thoughts: A celebration of the history, culture and heritage of Asbury Park and the integration of film into the festival is the right thing to do if this community is to be restored as the gem of the Jersey shore, especially in light of the decline of Atlantic City. And while the emphasis has to continue to be on the unique place that Asbury and its progeny have in the cultural life of New Jersey, there must be – in future festivals – a further broadening into the musical styles and genres that have emerged from the rest of the world, lest the APMFF become fossilized into stale nostalgia. This is imperative because comparisons are being made in reference to the famous South by Southwest festival. Happily, the attention APMFF gives to young performers and their new interpretations foretells a potentially spectacular future for the festival and the city itself.

World Music meets Blues

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn May 9, 2017 @ 8:20 pm

April New Dark Age

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn April 7, 2017 @ 10:59 pm

Brighton Asylum

Mr. Haunt at entrance to Brighton Asylum

On Saturday night, March 11th, I joined Mr. Haunt and his team, “The Haunt Hunters,” to visit the tri-state area’s only year-round Haunted Attraction, “Brighton Asylum,” on the border of Clifton and Passaic, NJ. Besides being open for most of September and October, this particular haunt opens its doors approximately one weekend a month to showcase different themes, including “Santa’s Slay,” “Dark Valentine,” and this Saturday’s “Night of the Creeps,” which paid homage to some of our favorite modern horror movies.

Terrifying interior at Brighton Asylum


The entire indoor, walk-through lasted about a half-hour on this frigid winter night. We saw characters working the line, referencing “The Purge” and once inside we met up with a very talkative Sheriff Hoyt from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” The next hallway was lined with broken mirrors featuring “Candyman” scrawled in blood. Soon after, we were chased by a convincing Jack Torrance from “The Shining.” Further down we met Mother from “Psycho,” Jason Voorhees, and eventually Leatherface himself.
Deeper still was a creepy room with a television set and Samara from “The Ring.” One of the better elements was Freddy Krueger realistically forming out of a wall in a cloud of steam. And more clowns and zombies than you count! The crowd was enthusiastic and a great time was had by all! Brighton Asylum is located at 2 Brighton Ave, Passaic, NJ, on the Clifton border.

Darkside of the Con

March 17, 18 & 19
Impresario Jeff Mach, in cooperation with Vampire Freaks, the online Goth-culture community and clothing store, took over the Radisson Hotel in Piscataway NJ for the three-day St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The majority of attendees including a vast array of vendors took overnight rooms on Friday and Saturday to enjoy late night parties and imbibing events. Single-day visitors however were present in force, especially Saturday.

Left – Chelsea Goodwin, host Right Mr. Haunt at Darkside


Musical events galore were ongoing, and included such stars of the scene as Aurelio Voltaire, whose Anti-Folk style and stand-up monologue are notorious for spoofing the Goth scene; recognized veterans of the NYC music community, Night Gallery; and NJ-based industrial rockers Xentrifuge; plus many more acts. DJs manned the turntables at various venues within the hotel grounds, such as The Villains Ball, and kept things lively until 4 a.m. for the willing and able.
Lecture halls featured slide shows touching on various topics such as the history, literature and psychology relevant to the dark-interests community.
There were dedicated vendor areas where large inventories of steampunk and vampire-style clothes and accessories were on sale, as well as individual hotel rooms for smaller scale vendors hawking jewelry, accessories, crafted items, fetish accoutrements and artwork.
Attendees chose to appear in thematic attire, ranging from basic black to outlandish costumes. A giant “Green Man” on stilts and faux leafy attire roamed the halls, affectionately embracing passersby. Friendly monsters, sexy vamps, top-hatted gents, and winged creatures abounded. It wasn’t just the eye-candy, but the sense of camaraderie that drew the most appreciation, such that next year’s 2018 Darkside of the Con is already in the works and reservations at the Radisson are going fast.

The Red Party

Sisters of Mercy Theme Night
With live performance by The Bootblacks
Saturday March 18 saw another monthly iteration of the well-attended Red Party hosted by Mandana Banshee and DJ Sean Templar, now consistently held at the Mercury Lounge which is technically on the leading edge of Manhattan’s Soho (SOuthside of HOuston) district.
The theme for the night was the Sisters of Mercy, paying homage to the seminal British rock band that, founded in 1980 and defunct since 1986, laid a cornerstone in the edifice called Gothic rock, with all that it implies musically and otherwise. Little known fact: Frontman for the Sisters, Andrew Eldritch (born Andrew William Harvey Taylor) took as his stage name “Eldritch,” which the dictionary defines as an adjective meaning “eerie; weird; spooky.”
Besides regular deejays Sean and Jarek, the guest deejay was Glen Maryansky, who plays synthesizer and percussion as well as doing the digital programming for Tiers, a delightfully morose, minor-key ensemble that played the Red Party last July.
In keeping with the theme, we heard – and the crowd danced enthusiastically to – “Black Planet,” “Gimme Shelter”,” “Dominion,” “This Corrosion,” “Lucretia (My Reflection),” and “Marian,” plus many more. This was a particular pleasure, because nowadays – in their efforts to introduce new and rare tracks – deejays sometimes neglect the Sisters of Mercy as mere classics and “old hat.” Maryansky served the cause with the Sisters’ “Vision Thing,” “Detonation Boulevard” and the obscure “Long Train,” He also broadcast Australian alternative band Midnight Oil’s “The Dead Heart,” a 1986 single that later appeared on their album “Diesel and Dust.”

Bootblack at The Red Party


Notables in the crowd included DJ Joe Hart and scene patrician Jeffo Bang who were spotted in the audience, enjoying the spectacular and mind-jarring performance by frantic, frenetic, electro-industrial quartet Bootblacks, whose deliciously jittery and explosive music managed to somehow include mesmerizing and appetizing hooks as well as a soundtrack by which to have a nervous breakdown.
For combining artful, dance-friendly deejay sets with entertaining live acts, the Red Party seems to have mastered the game.

At the Drive In

Terminal 5
March 22, 2017
On this night I fulfilled a 20-plus year desire to see what is widely recognized as one of the greatest rock songs of all time, the “One Armed Scissor,” performed live by the extraordinary band, At the Drive In off the 2000 album, “Relationship of Command.” This punk-emo quintet formed in Texas back in 1993 and broke up in 2001, splitting into the progressive-rock Mars Volta and the more accessible emo band, Sparta. Both those bands have since gone by the wayside, but At the Drive In has reunited twice since then, once in 2009 and again in 2016. Last year’s reunion had them booked for Terminal 5, but was cancelled at the very last minute due to a sudden illness of lead vocalist Cedric Bixler, so this 2017 appearance at the same venue was doubly anticipated.
An eager crowd of alternative music fans stood in the brutally cold wind-tunnel that is 56th Street’s extreme West Side, to be funneled at an agonizingly slow pace into the cavernous venue where there are several levels of balconies overlooking a large floor space and numerous bars where chips and booze are sold to those wearing identifying wrist bands.
The opening band, Le Bucherettes, came on at 8 p.m., fronted by a demonic, guitar-armed female vocalist and free-form dancer/contortionist in high heels who performed a deranged stage ballet while accompanied by a hard and heavy bass player and relentless bass drum assault. She and the bass guitarist alternatively manned keyboards producing harsh electronic effects. As unpleasant as it sounds, it had a certain appeal, and certainly set the mood for the headliners.

Bixler leading At the Drive In onstage at Terminal 5


At the Drive In exploded on stage shortly after 9 p.m. with “Arcarsenal,” off the 2000 album, “Relationship of Command.” Bixler’s screams and the wild chaos of the instruments started then and there, and continued unabated through their eleven song set constituting an orgy of delightful excess. At times, the volume diminished and the pace slowed down, allowing the audience to enjoy some luscious, melodious hooks and enigmatic lyrics. What makes At the Drive In so great and so special is the unique fusion of raw punk with masterful, crowded arrangements featuring long and virtuoso instrumental segments.
Bixler’s acrobatics on stage and ferocious lead vocals (the instrumentalists also sing accompaniment) have not been in any measure subdued over the 25 years that he has been at it. Whether screaming at the top of his lungs or high-speed rapping, he leads the band in what has to be the most energetic, pressurized execution of a rock music show that is physically possible. An unrestrained mosh pit developed, into which Bixler himself leaped and crowd-surfed briefly. This is ironic, because in 2001 he interrupted a show and left the stage when he couldn’t persuade the crowd to stop slam-dancing.
After the eleventh song, “Catacombs” they took a brief break, then returned with “Governed By Contagions,” off the soon to be released 2017 album “in-ter a-li-a.,” due out on May 5. Then, of course, to the delight and ultimate satisfaction of the audience, the show concluded with the final encore, the masterpiece, the magnum opus, “One Armed Scissor.” There were no calls for more, because this is nothing more that the world of rock music has to offer beyond this jewel, this classic, this masterstroke of musical perfection.

Up-and-Coming

Xenogoth

Promotional poster for the first Xenogoth event to be held at the Redrum Ball

Impresario and promoter, Sir William Welles, famous for his widely used New Goth City website which provides multi-angle focus on the nationwide Goth scene, including an invaluable calendar of local and national events, has announced that on May 4 he will unveil a much-anticipated project termed “Xenogoth.” This promises “to propel Goth culture future-forward by inspiring fashion designers, artists, musicians, D.J.s, event promoters, and Goth individuals alike who crave something new, ultra-modern, and energizing to their precious scene.”
We have since learned that everything implied by the term Xenogoth will be introduced at the next Redrum Ball and will include elements of classic Goth music and fashion, combined with science fiction lore, cosplay and comic book aesthetics. The Redrum Ball is scheduled top take place on May 28 at Arlene’s Grocery in NYC’s Soho neighborhood.

April Tool’s Day

TOOL
Wappingers Falls NY

Is there any dispute that Tool is the greatest heavy band in the history of rock? With their uncanny knack for fusing thunderous rhythms to novel melodies, and layered complexity to Maynard James Keenan’s frank, challenging lyrics as well as disturbingly creative videos, they have truly brought this genre of music to another level, which no other band has attained. Perhaps they’re not for everyone, but I don’t know who is left out of their fandom. Anyhow, they have the endorsement of Alex and Allyson Grey – who are a sort of conduit to the Universal Mind – the New Age artists who own and operate the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM) – a non- denominational spiritual retreat, museum and vatican of the Cosmic Consciousness – on the Hudson River in upstate N.Y.

Gazebo in the woods for quiet, solitude and meditation at CoSM


Every April 1st, the acolytes of CoSM join with devotees of the band Tool to stage a semi-religious and somewhat incongruous celebration of the band’s body of work in an environment of mystical and hallucinogenic art for which the Greys are world-famous. This year, for the first time since 2012, CoSM was privileged to host the supremely accomplished Tool tribute band Schism, whose mastery of the original band’s sound is nothing short of astonishing. So polished is N.Y.-based Schism’s proficient reproduction of the repertoire that they are endorsed and recommended on Tool’s website.
Alex Grey’s art, termed “visionary,” is influenced by experience with hallucinogens, and represents themes of universality and transcendence through the integration of concrete religious, anatomical and philosophical imagery into kaleidoscopic visual metaphors. To some extent it resembles Hindu and Buddhist art, but emphasizes the inter-connectedness of all religions, philosophies and sciences – Western as well as Eastern – for contributing to the Cosmic Mind. As such, there is a definite tie-in with themes specified in the lyrics of Tool’s songs, touching as they do upon metaphysics, cultural anthropology and the theories of psychologist Karl Jung.

Alex and Allyson Grey lecturing on their connection with Tool

“Cosmic Christ” monumental art piece by visionary artist Alex Grey


A further and deeper connection between the visual artist and the musical group developed when Alex Grey was recruited to contribute album cover art and to collaborate on dream-like music videos. Thus, on the April 1st occasion, in the intimate environment of CoSM’s parlor, both Alex and his wife Allyson held a frank and insightful talk on their history, their inspiration and their involvement in producing artwork for Tool. Both Alex and Allyson showed themselves to be amazingly warm, generous and profound as well as utterly sincere in their interacting with inquisitive and adoring guests.

Two of the many points of interest on the grounds of CoSM


Sixty-five miles north of NYC, CoSM is a forty acre sanctuary where there is a main building that provides dormitory-like accommodations for overnight visitors and houses a vast collection of artworks; a retail shop where artifacts, clothing and accessories designed in their signature style are sold; a dining hall which doubles as a concert space; and the Mushroom Café where a charming staff of enlightened hipsters serve healthy but tasty sandwiches, soft drinks and deserts. Wristbands were applied to designate who had access to the dormitories upstairs and those who were attending the concert.

Examples of Alex Grey’s “Visionary Art”


We wandered the halls and the grounds, taking in the wondrous art to be found everywhere then took a nature hike and visited totem poles, quiet spaces, shrines, and an intricately designed, domed gazebo in the woods, conducive to solitude, meditation and silence.
The climax of April Tool’s Day finally came at 9 p.m. when Schism took the stage in the great dining hall. Opening with “Intolerance,” Schism sent the room into a state of heightened awareness and perpetual motion as they embarked on three hour-long sets, covering essentially the entire body of work, with two short intermissions. Familiar as well as obscure videos shown in the background including the groundbreaking “Sober” video and other Adam Jones animations as well as those with Alex Grey images set to motion. A bonfire roared behind the building, casting an orange glow through the windows of the hall. The indoor audience was able to enjoy the spectacle from within the warm concert hall, and those outside were able enjoy the music as they danced by the fire.

Schism performing live at CoSM on April Tool’s Day


Unparalleled stamina was called forth from Schism to pull off the 10-plus minute-long “Right in Two,” from the “10,000 Days” album and “Reflection,” from the “Lateralus” album. The title track off the latter album, “Lateralus,” itself around 10 minutes in length, served as the fully satisfying conclusion to the show, after which worshipful fans crowded the performers to extend congratulations and express gratitude for an exemplary performance. Schism mastermind and guitarist, Keith Williams, gifted bassist Sean Patrick Murray, incredible drummer Don Pusateri and rapturous vocalist Angelo Rivera received the adulation with appreciation and friendly good cheer.

(Front left) vocalist Angelo Rivera – (Front right) Bass player Sean Patrick Murray – (Back row tall guy) drummer Don Pusateri – (Lady in middle) Allyson Grey – (middle row to the right of her) Alex Grey – (far right) guitar and Schism mastermind Keith Williams

Covering the 90s at Dingbatz

Filed under: live music,Uncategorized — doktorjohn March 16, 2017 @ 4:24 pm

Dingbatz March 3 hosted a sensational celebration to the 90s with three spectacular tribute bands playing covers of the three giant bands that represented the musical highpoint of that decade.

Nine Inch Nails cover band SIN

SIN

Starting early, but well-prepared, lead vocalist Byron led NIN cover band, SIN in a ten-song set starting with “Somewhat Damaged” which Trent Reznor co-wrote with Lennie Lohner, off their third album, the double-disc opus, “The Fragile.” “March of the Pigs” from “Downward Spiral” followed, then a welcome turn to “Sin” off the debut album, “Pretty Hate Machine.”

NIN music videos played silently on the backdrop screen as SIN ran through masterful renditions of select representatives of the most loved tracks on all the major disc releases. ”Burn,” the single from the movie, “Natural Born Killers,” enters the discography in the 2004 Deluxe 10th Anniversary re-release of “Downard Spiral,” but it doesn’t appear in the original (1994) album. When SIN performed a really accurate rendition of “Closer,” it caused those in the audience to recall not only its ground-breaking video, influenced by the eerie animations of the Brothers Quay, but also went a long way toward opening mass media to the daytime use of the “f-word.”
Other faithful covers included “Wish,” from both “Broken” and “Fixed,” “Only” from “”With Teeth” (2005) and two more from the first album, “Terrible Lie” and ending with the all-time most influential industrial-to-mainstream-crossover piece, “Head Like a Hole.” NIN fans were satisfied with the meticulously accurate and utterly sincere re-creation of their idol band.

Rage Against the Machine cover band Battle of Los Angeles

Battle of Las Angeles

Founded in 2007, The Battle of Los Angeles takes its name from Rage Against the Machine’s third album. Opening with a mild, but rapid riff of single guitar notes, the opening song, “Bombtrack” released its sudden explosion on stage and lead singer Christian Alcantara leaped half his height in imitation of Rage’s Zach de la Rocha as he rhythmically screamed political leftist complaints against patriotism and capitalism. Next, “People of the Sun,” gave voice to the rage of indigenous tribes. Alcantara has effectively captured the original timbre of the Zack de la Rocha voice, just as he has mastered his athletic stage promenade.

Battle of Los Angeles (one of two RATM cover bands with that name) pulled no punches lyrically or artistically in delivering Rage’s defiant, pointed critique of American society with “Sleep Now in the Fire;” “Know Your Enemy;” “Bullet in the Head,” which Alcantara specifically dedicated to Jeff Sessions; the anti-war “Bulls on Parade”;” “Testify;” “Freedom” and their most memorable single, “Killing in the Name Of,” the popular anti-authority screed, which some call Rage’s “signature song.” At the conclusion of their set, we spectators were for a moment considering to head out in order to burn the system down, but we stayed to hear the next band.

Tool cover band Schism

SCHISM

Having already mastered the complex and experimental instrumental style and arrangements of Tool’s oeuvre, Schism took it to another level when in 2005, the man behind Schism, Keith Williams, recruited singer Angelo Rivera, whose vocal virtuosity is a match for that of Tool’s Maynard James Keenan, as nuanced and as finely tuned. Rivera’s transcendent singing is supported by Schism’s mastermind and guitar virtuoso, Keith; by the guitar-style techniques of Sean Patrick Murray on bass which closely mimic those of Tool’s bassist, Justin Chancellor; and by the infallibly accurate reproduction of Tool drummer/percussionist Danny Carey’s unusual time signatures and shifting rhythms.

Starting with “Aenema” off the similarly named “Aenima” album, Rivera imbued this viciously cynical damnation of L.A. culture with keen articulation. In fact, he did so with each of the exquisitely rendered pieces that Schism performed that night which included: “46 & 2,” “Prison Sex,” “Parabola,” “Stinkfist,” “Schism,” “Hooker with a Penis,” “Vicarious,” “Jambi” and finally ended with the spectacular – and spectacularly performed – “Lateralus,” one of Tool’s great treatises on philosophy and spirituality.

Not only is Schism the premier Tool cover band, but it is very near the top of all cover bands in any genre. Now at it 16 years, Keith Williams’ national touring band Schism is unique in that it is endorsed on the Tool website. They will be performing “April Tool Day” at artist Alex Grey’s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors in Wappingers Falls NY and at the Gramercy in NYC on May 5.

March 2017 New Dark Age

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn March 15, 2017 @ 9:00 pm

NIGHTS OUT

Disintegration


Jeff Ward, leading impresario in NYC’s dark dance club scene, introduced another specialty night on Friday February 10 at Windfall, holding what he termed ” A Tribute to the Cure” night. When we heard “Charlotte Sometimes” coming from the P.A., we knew we were in the right place. The night featured Cure and Cure-era tunes to dance to and a plethora of seemingly endless Cure videos running silently on a video screen mounted above the bar. Nothing says Goth like The Cure!

BodyLab

Another event held the same night was DJs Eisdriver and Arsenal’s third installment of their much-acclaimed “old-school EBM” session, BodyLab. It was again held at the Parkside Lounge with what seems to be an enlarging crowd. Once again, Wendy Blackwidow was present, although we didn’t stick around long enough to know if she deejayed. Grainy archival music videos flickered on the wall, as on previous occasions, enhancing the atmosphere of a stripped down, industrial music world.

The Red Party

A Valentine’s Weekend edition of Sean Templar’s The Red Party was held Feb 11 at the usual digs, The Mercury Lounge on Manhattan’s East Houston Street adjacent o the former New Wave nightclub, The Bank. Door opened for the event at around 11 pm, and Sean Templar greeted comers at the entrance to the dance floor right at the end of the long barroom.
Near the entrance, Rusted Autumn had set up a merchandise stand where they sold handcrafted Steampunk, Neo-Victorian, jewelry and mystical knitwear fashions with a Gothic flair.

Patrick Cusack, Mandana Banshee and Jennifer Bobbe were among the scene regulars in attendance. Also present was the crew from Haunt Hunters, a group that attends, samples and evaluates all kinds of haunted attractions and entertainments, even off the Halloween season.

Bela Lugosi Alex at Turntables

Sean quickly joined guest deejay Alex “Bela Lugosi” Zamora at the turntables. Alex brings a unique mix to the musical scene, having grown up outside The States and having acquired a truly eclectic repertoire of darkwave and deathrock music. Issuing forth from his controls to the ( at times too loud) public address system were rarities and oddities like “Drinking Blood” by the Juggernauts, “Black Roses” by Advanced Art and an especially catchy, danceable track, “Eternal Torture” by Athamay.

When Jarek “Raven” Zelazny took over the mix, we heard Sisters of Mercy’s “Heartland” and Siouxsie’s “The Passenger”, plus the wonderful “Do You Love Me?” belted out by Nick Cave. The dance floor was well populated much of the time, but never as beautifully as when the elegantly attired diva, Luna Pallida arrived and was joined by supergoths Valefar Malefic and Jorge Obando.

Catgirl and Alex drenched in red light

When celebrity DJ Alex took the dance floor with his beautiful other half, CatGirl Morales, they were hit by a beam of red floodlight, causing them to appeared spattered, appropriately, with blood.

Readers can easily look up earlier reviews of The Red Party for recurring details on earlier issues of this paper or on www.doktorjohn.com.

Aunt Ange at Mercury Lounge

Aunt Ange Feb 19 at Mercury

On Feb 19 Aunt Ange, the incredibly creative, eccentric and, for want of a better word, gothic/steampunk band on which we have reported previously, performed a Sunday night show at the Mercury Lounge that brought in a diverse crowd of fans and followers from the greater NYC area, NJ and as far away as Pennsylvania.

CINEMA

2017 Oscar Nominated Film Shorts – Animation
The IFC Theater on Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan’s West Village held a program of 2017’s Short Films, and one of the entries was “Animations.” These top picks are intensely entertaining every year, and this year was no exception.

Besides enjoying the brilliant and creative art per se, it seems the genre lends itself to unique and curious themes. The Academy Award winner was of course, a cutesy, photo-realistic cartoon from powerhouse Disney’s Pixar, called “Piper” about a sandpiper chick. It was difficult for studios with less resources to compete, although I wish there could have been more recognition for those that presented rather more radical themes and innovative, less conventional techniques.. One such, “Once Upon a Line” is without dialogue, and consists of minimalistic line drawings that tell a story about a daily routine being discombobulated by romance and is as engaging as any Rock Hudson/Doris Day feature film.

Blind Vaysha

“Blind Vaysha” has an interesting look, like a series of wood-cut prints have come alive, and tells a rather creepy Russian fairy-tale. “Pearl” is a brief synopsis of a little girl who grows up to be a folk-rocker.

“Pear Cider and Cigarettes”

The real star is adult-themed “Pear Cider and Cigarettes,” about the true-to-life rises and falls of a daredevil young man as he descends into self-destructive adulthood, narcissism and addiction. So harsh was this particular 35-minute film that it was held to the end of the program at which point parents were asked to remove underage viewers – and thank goodness they did. The artists meet the challenge of portraying the many and gruesome encounters of the subject with drugs, alcohol, violence and a hospital in China. It is highly recommended for the narrative as well as the ingenious animation artwork.

Mark Sinnis & 825 in Peekskill NY

Mark Sinnis & 825 at Sue’s Sunset House, Peekskill, N.Y.

On February 18 singer-songwriter Mark Sinnis returned to Peekskill, N.Y from his new location in North Carolina to join with his band, 825 for a nearly 3-hour marathon performance of their signature “Cemetery & Western” repertoire at Sue’s Sunset House, a comfy and fitting venue with a bar and an excellent menu. About 35 or so enthusiastic fans packed the place, among whom was NY/NJ music patrician, George Grant, noted producer for Sinnis and many others in the NY area.

About a year ago, Sinnis relocated his famous Beale Street Barber Shop from Peekskill to Wilmington, N.C. It’s best described as an antique-styled barbershop with a museum-like collection of memorabilia and artifacts recalling the early days of rock’n’roll, with an emphasis on country music and with a shrine to Elvis and other pioneers of the genre. It also serves as an art gallery with rotating exhibits. The band is usually 8 members, but one fiddler was missing this night. It must be tough, indeed, to coordinate between his home in North Carolina, and his accompanists who live in upstate New York.

Sinnis has led a resurgence of the venerable tradition of linking classic country & western music to pitch-black, gloomy themes. Thus the opening piece, his fast-paced “Undertaker in My Rearview Mirror,” set the stage for much of what was to come. Following “Undertaker,” they launched into “Long, Cold, Hard, Lonely Winter,” a minor-key threnody that’s accented by dual trumpeters who imbued it with a Mariachi band flavor. The next piece was a nostalgic, 60s-era stroll, and was followed by “Sunday Morning Train,” this time in a major key, and for which one of the trumpeters switched to a pedal steel guitar with great effect. It also afforded the banjo and the drummer opportunities for virtuoso solos.

It took until the middle of the set – the seventh song by my count – that a “happy” song came out. “Wine and Whiskey and the Devil Makes Three” followed, then an upbeat version of Elvis’ “Heartbreak Hotel.” The banjo player performed on bagpipe during “One Red Rose.” Next came an ironically cheerful “Drive a Nail in My Coffin.”
Mark Sinnis and 825 inevitably get around to “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” in which Sinnis pays tribute his favorite version, the one performed by Johnny Cash. “Fifty Odd Hours” is a updated, rewrite of the 50s, Merle Travis piece that had originally been about a coal miner, but Sinnis rewrote it for a more general exploited laborer, who repeats the coal miner’s famous lament that, “…I owe my soul to the company store.”

The show ended with the verbosely-titled “I’ll Have Another Drink of Whiskey ‘Cause Death Is Not So Far Away.” It is reassuring that Sinnis’ relocation to North Carolina doesn’t mean that the greater New York area will be permanently deprived of his performances, both in concert with 825 and – hopefully someday – his alternative gothrock band, Ninth House.

MUSEUMS

Giorgio de Chirico (1888 – 1978) and Giulio Paolini (1940 -)
The Center for Italian Modern Art, a non-profit academic art operation located on the 4th floor of 421 Broome St, and hosts small, intimate but highly significant exhibitions and offers opportunities for scholars as well as symposia for the public. They’re presently hosting a dual-artist exhibit featuring iconic, original paintings of metaphysical artist, Giorgio de Chirico; and the de Chirico-inspired, derivative works of Giulio Paolini. The latter is a graphic designer and photographer who took images from the senior artist’s iconic works and collaged them into composite mixed media works.

“The Disquieting Muses” by Giorgio De Chirico


I think everybody recognizes “The Disquieting Muses,” (1916) de Chirico’s desolate, fantasy landscape painted in Ferrara, Italy during World War I, with its faceless, egg-headed foreground figures and the long, melancholy shadows that the figures and objects throw. It inspired poems and books to take its title. It is amazing that a tiny, but prestigious institution such at CIMA has the actual original of this 20th century icon, not one of the dozens of duplicates that the artist painted for commercial sale.

De Chirico said he was painting the metaphysical reality beyond our everyday perceptions. He churned out some spectacular paintings to haunt our collective psyches.

“Hector & Andromache”

Another one, “Hector and Andromache,” painted in 1912, shows two metaphysical figures named after a pair of Trojan lovers reluctantly parting shortly before Hector is killed in Homer’s ”The Iliad.” All specificity relating to the historical subjects is abstracted away, leaving only mechanical, inanimate and disturbing assemblages vaguely arranged like a 20th century parody of the people it might have represented. This further defined metaphysical painting with its dehumanized, humanoid figures. In his later painting they became real people, reduced down however, to inconspicuous silhouettes, and moved from the foreground into the background of his moody landscapes, as in “Melancholia.”

Melanconia by Giorgio de Chirico


Shopping for an idea for a really unique and attractive tattoo? I’d search the net for images of de Chirico’s works from 1912 to about 1920, but not later. They are the stuff of dream-visions, but he kind of lost his inspiration around then, and the rest of his work isn’t so hot.

Nuptials

I am pleased to report that on Feb 17, the followers of Memento Mori received the joyous news that the stunning hostess, Catgirl Morales and multi-talented photographer DJ Bela Lugosi Alex entered a lifelong commitment in a small, intimate, but beautiful setting thanks to the groom’s and his best man’s skill at decor. Here are some shots of the happy couple and their celebratory entourage of family and friends.

Doktor John and all at New Dark Age extend congratulations and very best wishes to a beautiful couple!

RECORD REVIEWS

Moving Units: “Collision with Joy Division”

Covering the famous and iconic works of revered and seminal artists can take either of two forms. The covering band may approach the task with the intention of remaking the original works into their own image, treating the original as template upon which to impose their own brand and style, leaving us to pass judgment on the freshness and novelty of the work as it is presented. Then there is the tribute approach, in which the covering band strives to conscientiously reproduce the originals as faithfully as possible, inviting us to pass judgment based upon how successfully they re-create the experience of the original. “Collision With Joy Division” by Moving Units
falls into the second category.

There is a certain joy that musicians inevitably feel when they master the works of music that they admire for the songs themselves. They can either focus on the music itself, without paying homage to the antecedent performers; or they can concentrate on just how the original performers interpreted the music. Once again, Moving Units seems to have aimed to lovingly achieve authenticity in both mastery of the songs and of their delivery as conveyed by Joy Division.

So, if you were looking for innovative, novel interpretations, this is not the place to look. The main differences are found, not in the instrumental accompaniment nor even the delivery, which is a dutiful copy of the original style, but the timbre of the vocalist vs. that of Ian Curtis. The best justification for producing an album that so diligently repeats the sound and style of Joy Division, but for the particulars of the vocalist’s voice, would seem to me to be to promote their presumably up-and-coming live performances. Thus, the “Collision With Joy Division” is saying, “This is how well we recreate the Joy Division sound. Come see us reproduce the ‘live’ experience.” Indeed, Moving Units is now embarked on a a nationwide tour that runs through March 19.

The singer has a different voice and employs slightly more careful pronunciation, even though he manages to imitate most of the inflections and idiosyncrasies of Ian Curtis. The arrangers and the accompanists basically stick to the originals as much as possible, such that if you don’t listen closely to the differences in the vox, you would think you are basically listening to Joy Division. There are more differences between two versions of the same song by Joy Division on different albums than there are between the version offered by Moving Units and the originals.
There is something so powerful, so epochal, so classic about these 10 songs of Joy Division, that any version which recapitulates them, however lacking in originality, is always pleasurable and worthwhile.

Caldor Kid

s

This is a self-named, self-released debut EP from a NYC-based band that will be available on 7” vinyl, CD, and digital in March 2017. It contains 10 high-energy, old-school, defiant punk tracks with some creative and tongue-in-cheek twists.

It opens with a track titled “Entropy,” a classic rant of unfocussed energy. Some of it is jumpy pogo-punk, but there are surprises to delight, such as the appropriation of “Ring around the Rosie” which these kids picked up from the Mr. Softee trucks that toured their neighborhoods in the 70s and 80s. This is on a socially conscious eighth track “Mr. Walton” which addresses the issue of income inequality.

The third track, “Ban Rebranding” is a rapid, guitar-backed mantra a critique of organizations that obfuscate their wrongdoing via corporate rebranding.

The fourth song, “Pop Tart” is boiled frantic rant about a landlord dispute.
The fifth track , titled “Jingle” is indeed the old “I don’t want to grow up, I’m a […] kid” jingle, substituting the self-referential “I don’t want to get rich, I’m a Caldor kid.” The sixth track, “No Trouble” is a pop-metal groove with a touch of blues vocals. The ninth track is the two-chord screamer, “Shocked.”
There’s no doubt that this “power trio” is punk rock. Bass, drums, and distorted guitar prevail throughout, and all the songs clock in at under three minutes. But these songs are not all three-chord-wonders; there are chord changes galore, and unexpected patterns. There are rhythms and melodies in the music that hint at other genres as well. There’s a swing factor in there.

Pogo punk? Mostly not. Thrash-around-and-exorcise-your-latest-demons punk? Definitely.

Ian Maksin at Le Poisson Rouge

Filed under: live music,Uncategorized — doktorjohn January 24, 2017 @ 9:39 pm

Page from The Aquarian

Ian Maksin
Le Poisson Rouge

Jan. 4 2016

By Doktor John

Internationally acclaimed cellist, Ian Maksin brought his unique and eclectic style before a packed audience at popular nightclub and performance space LPR on Bleeker Street in the heart of Greenwich Village on a Wednesday night following New Years Day. Now at the height of his life-long virtuosity, Russian–born Maksin started mastering string instruments at the age of three, introduced by his father in his native St. Petersburg, known as Leningrad at the time.

Although clearly classically trained, he has hearkened to the siren’s call of blues, rock, jazz and world music, incorporating unique and personalized elements of these and more into his musical creations.
Thus the adoring, all-ages audience was thrilled when he opened with his dazzling version of Bach’s Suite No.3 for Unaccompanied Cello, interlaced with the Beatles’ “Come Together” and with bluesy, bent-note phrases which he self-described as “Bach meets BB King.”

Next followed several pieces off Maksin’s album, “Soul Companion,” including a tribute to Sting, whom he admires and for whom he had previously opened; and he made the hearts of listeners soar with his interpretation of “Fields of Gold” and quotes from “Shape of My Heart.” After introducing Korean-American modern composer Paul Yeon Lee on stage, Maksin performed Lee’s atonal “Lost in the Echo.”

Then Maksin turned to variations on a traditional Russian love-song/lullaby, which soon evolved into an excursion through a world of folk musical themes that spanned from the Caucasus and Armenia, through Eastern Europe, and winding even through Celtic strains of Appalachia., all masterfully expressed by an unaccompanied cello. The halfway point in the event was reached with variations on a Russian theme from his “Soul Companion” and a new work called “Temptation of the Firebird,” an obvious reference to Stravinsky.

Maksin sang and accompanied himself of cello during the next segment, proving he has a really nice and well developed voice, tackling songs of longing composed by a Russian émigré in Paris during the so-called Soviet-induced Diaspora of Russians into Western Europe. These were mainly sung in Russian but included some French.
Maksin’s s version of “Before You Accuse Me” was inspired by Eric Clapton’s 1989 version, but sounded as down-home and authentic as Bo Diddley’s original. His treatment of the Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” was enhanced by his classical style treatment, as was Jacques Brel’s “Amsterdam,” recognizable by its familiar folk melody “Greensleeves,” on which it is based.

Maksin’s attempt to end the show and leave the stage sparked a near riot of devoted fans, so he returned and delighted them with an unexpected rendition of the theme from “Game of Thrones,” but that didn’t end the matter. A second attempt to leave the stage had to be postponed for yet another encore, this time the huge international and universally recognized hit “Caruso” by the late singer-songwriter Lucio Dalla from Bologna.
Finally – and now more than satisfied – the audience of classical music, jazz, ethnic Russian, blues, rock and world music fans released the artist to retire for the evening. He ended with a session of meeting fans, posing for photos and signing autographs by the exit from the auditorium.

January 2017 New Dark Age

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,Live Music,live music,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn January 17, 2017 @ 8:58 pm

The Godfather of Goth

Peter Murphy at City Winery NY
Dec. 11, 2016

Peter Murphy Sings Bela Lugosi’s Dead


Peter Murphy is overwhelmingly popular, not just with the worldwide Goth community, but with many whose musical puberty occurred during the 80s and early 90s. The first show at the intimate City Winery in lower Manhattan’s West Village sold out immediately upon being announced. Thus a second performance was mandated, even though it meant scheduling it around 10:30 pm on a Sunday night.

This event represented part of the tail end of his “Stripped” tour which began in California in April of this year, crossed the country, then crossed the Atlantic, and drew to a close on the East Coast. “Stripped” refers to the mainly acoustic, minimal electronic sound, provided by Murphy himself and two string instrumentalists/backup vocalists. Make no mistake, though, there was plenty of amplification and digital audio as needed to authenticate the mood and feeling of the cherished selections performed nor was there any lack of his showmanship and stage antics.

As on virtually all previous stops on the tour, PM started off the set with “Cascade,” off the 1995 album of the same name, recognizable by its melodious Morse code-like series of high-pitched, introductory tones that elide into arpeggios which grow into a luscious, percussion-driven melody. A consummate showman, Murphy Strutted about the stage, bowing and waving his stretched out arms like a bird in flight.

Following that, he reached back into the 80s with “All Night Long,” “Indigo Eyes” and “Marlene Dietrich’s Favourite Poem in true acoustic style, seated and strumming his 12-string guitar. He continued the “stripped down” style but strode out from the stage to hover over the front rows as he announced and paid tribute to the late David Bowie with “The Bewlay Brothers.”

PM’s voice showed signs of strain, and his spoken words were decidedly hoarse, but his notes were perfectly steady and on key, and he never held back from bellowing out, full-throated, whenever it was called for. “A Strange Kind of Love” afforded the opportunity for a brief solo by the violin accompanist.

Murphy picked up, first a tambourine, then drumsticks for the three Bauhaus favorites that followed: “King Volcano,” “Kingdom’s Coming” and “Silent Hedges.” He briefly disappeared from the stage, then returned to perform “Gaslit” and the bass-and-drum-heavy cover of Dead Can Dance’s “Severance.”

There was a pause signaling the final encore, the beloved and iconic anthem “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” – rarely performed on this tour. Murphy called for the lights to go down. His face was dramatically lit from below in cinematic horror fashion as he sung the repetitive mantra “undead, undead, undead” to conclude the show and leave the latenight crowd satisfied beyond their expectations.

Titans of Tribute XXVII

The Nimrods cover Green Day

Starland Ballroom hosted a blockbuster event to a sell-out crowd Dec 9 featuring three separate tribute bands covering three true titans of the post-punk/grange era. An additional, and unexpectedly pleasing experience was provided by the opening band, Eli, who performed a set of their original music with skill, style and the gusto associated with the early, pioneering days of the 90s music explosion. ELI (or ELI the Band if you are searching them on social media) is a trio of utterly sincere and committed young adults who have played and written music together since their not-to-distant highschool days, channeling the spirit of grunge into their original compositions with skill and devotion. No matter that the era of grunge peaked shortly before these budding musicians were born! This was their first big venue appearance and they brought the house down.

We got to speak to the youthful members backstage after enjoying their set of eight songs which included only one cover, “She Hates Me,” by Puddle of Mud, during which they introduced the band members to the audience. We learned that the “old man” of the group, 22 year-old Conor Schaar, who played bass and sang most of the vocals, likes to do much of the writing in collaboration with guitarist and sometimes-vocal lead Paul Machado. Drummer Mike Sliker provides the essential rhythms during inventive sessions in which the trio regularly engages. Their story begins with winning acclaim at a school talent show six long years ago. That duration of cooperation and dedication goes a long way toward explaining their tight, highly accomplished performance.

Next up came the Green Day tribute band, the Nimrods who take their name from a 1997 album, slammed enthusiastically through twelve of their recognizable hits from “Brain Stew” to “When I Come Around” to “American Idiot” and more. Vocalist/guitarist Fred Zoeller captured frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s dark, cynical and frenetic style, and he received professionally polished instrumental accompaniment from three Dans: Dan Esser, Dan Callas lead guitar and Dan DiLiberto on drums.

Nicole Scorsone with The Nimrods

A special treat was had when renowned violinist Nicole Scorsone joined in for “Minority,” “Good Riddance” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends.”.

Following both outstanding performances Lady Picture Show took the stage with their impeccable covers of the cherished Stone Temple Pilots repertoire including “Interstate Love Song,” “Plush” and “Creep.” As far as faithful reproduction of the original sound of STP, I cannot imagine a more authentic experience.

Finally – can I call them headliners? – Nirvana tribute band, Lounge Act came on stage and performed meticulous, loving and faithful tribute versions of the revered Nirvana repertoire. A mosh pit formed and became increasingly enthusiastic throughout their set, which included ”Aneurysm,” “Heart Shaped Box” and the creepy “Rape Me” and “Lithium.” I counted around 12 or 13 songs.

Lounge Act covering Nirvana


Who needs time travel? These guys made it happen!

World Goth

The Berlin Dungeon

Facade of The Berlin Dingeon

No! Kiddies, the Berlin Dungeon is not an S & M club. It’s an expensive tour of a historically educational, slightly creepy attempt at recreating sets and scenarios of medieval “justice” under the Hohenzollern rulers of Medieval Prussia. Actors in period costumes alternately try to scare and inform tour-goers with frightful scenarios and tongue-in-cheek narratives regarding the somewhat deranged secular and ecclesiastical court system, which usually ended up with defendants subjected to devices of torture and execution. You know, “the good old days.”

There are various special effects, walks through mirrored mazes, moments spent in unbearable suspense in pitch-dark chambers, interrupted by terrifying ghastly action; as well as some corny court-room set-ups where tour-goers stand accused and are sentenced to penalties that are escaped at the last minute. The tour ends in an amusement park-like ride that lifts seated riders up before (safely and comfortably) dropping them two stories of height.

Poster Ads for the Berlin Dungeon


It’s all in good fun, but unfortunately, no photos are allowed, so all I can show are images of the outside of the building, but that should be enough to direct you to this semi-interesting, semi-entertaining venue if and when you visit Berlin.

Forever Young

Dubious characters host the Red Party

Under the auspices of DJ Sean Templar and hostess Mandana Banshie , The Red Party held a New Year’s Eve Bash from 1 a.m. until 6 a.m. on January 1, 2017 at the Mercury Lounge, allowing party-goers to spend the actual NYE in traditional celebration with friends or family before heading over to the East Houston digs for an all night Goth event to the dee-jay efforts of DJ Ash, Xris Smack and Matt V Christ.


Necropolis and QXT’s celebration of Damien Hrunka’s 40th birthday were held on January 7, but we were unable to attend and therefore unable to report on either due to a winter storm that discouraged travel by all but the most courageous.

December 2016 New Dark Age

Filed under: Goth Stuff,live music,New Dark Age Monthly,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn December 8, 2016 @ 3:50 am

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Ghost

Swedish Shock-rockers Ghost performed a 15 song set at the King’s Theater in Brooklyn on Saturday night Nov 12, which served as unofficial “pre-party” to The Red Party in Manhattan, inasmuch as a large contingent on NYC Goths were in attendance at the former concert before heading over to the latter dance club (More about this below).

This horror metal group is characterized by two features. First, they affect a Satanic routine, dressed in devil masks or monks’ hooded robes, except the frontman who is attired as a kind of anti-Pope, wearing a bishop’s headdress and vestments, topped with skull-face make-up. The band members maintain personal anonymity, but the frontman calls himself Papa Emeritus III, and the tour, of which this was the final stop, is termed “Popestar.” The other outstanding feature of this band is the exceptionally melodious quality of the music, a break with the metal tradition of minimizing melody among the progeny of Black Sabbath.

Photo by Dan Ambrose

Photo by Dan Ambrose


They started their set with some mournful chants creating a creepy, church-like atmosphere. They moved then to a rapidly-paced traditional rock piece called “Square Hammer” featuring a driving beat. The group has been around since 2008, but tonight’s selections were mainly off their 2015 album “Meliora.” Many of their songs have Latin names in dubious imitation of Roman Catholic liturgy. Much of their set is as melodious and beautiful as something by Boston or Foreigner in the 70s, but with decidedly minor key, power chord accents. They stepped out of the rock formula many times with eerie, ghostly pieces, or during bridges within heavy metal hymns. At the end of highly varied, wide-ranging musical set, they encored an “audience join in” choral anthem called “Monstrrance Clocks.” Those with transportation and freedom to do so, headed over to The Mercury lounge in Manhattan’s Lower East Side for the monthly Red Party.

The Red Party

The monthly event was lifted to new heights on Saturday Nov. 12 by the appearance of The Sedona Effect, electro-industrial project of exotic diva Kai Irina Hahn. Deejays Sean Templar, host, and Joe Hart, guest, warmed the audience from 11 pm to midnight with a connoisseurs’s mix of goth and darkwave, which included, besides the usual Sisters of Mercy standards, but a respectful inclusion of several tracks by Leonard Cohen, closing the night with his “Chelsea Hotel #2.”

Even watching Kai arrange the stage for her quintet was riveting as the statuesque diva flitted from one musician’s station to another in her feathered headdress and gorgeous outfit like a force of nature or a regal presence establishing her realm. The set began with a “Evolve Devolve” a slow, ponderous ode, heavy on percussion and bass. It was then we noticed that Kai was performing while entwined by her faithful and sometime restless, live boa, Loki who twisted frequently to gaze lovingly at his mistress.The pace changed to rapid with the second number, rousing anthem, “Cross the Line,” off her introductory CD.

Kai Irina Hahn of The Sedona Effect

Kai Irina Hahn of The Sedona Effect

“Delicate Silence” followed, featuring hissing, whispered vocals paired with those of keyboardist Nicole Eres. In the middle of her set, Kai gave us the theatrical “Gloomy Sunday,” in which inverted arpeggios on synthesizer and a plodding,, relentless cadence created a feeling of madness and anguish. With the 6th selection, “Ghost,” Kai took to the keyboard herself and showcased her wide-ranging and melodious vocal command, as she paired in duet, this time with guitarist Phyzal Alhammdani.

Twice during the performance, Kai graciously called attention to her accompanists, introducing each by name. Eventually she passes off the boa, Loki whose weight must surely have been somewhat of a strain, even for Kai’s distinctly stacked, feminine physique.

The last two songs, “I Burn” and “I Lose Control” were both heavy-duty, industrial rock numbers as well as recognized standards in The Sedona Effect repertoire, concluding a notably theatrical and musically impressive set that had some in the crowd calling for more.

red-party-101

The party went on well into the morning and was crowded with celebrants and with celebrities of the Goth Scene including fangmaster Fr. Sebastiaan; DJ Raven; Xris Smack of Stimulate and dazzling beauty Ashley Bad; DJ Patrick of Salvation; Chris Savo, friendly host and manager of Windfall; and noted music patrician, George Grant. The bar was congested, but never too crowded to get service. Those in the back were able to place orders that were relayed to the bar without having to leave the dance hall. The Mercury Lounge once again proved to be an ideal spot for gatherings of this type. Announcements were handed out promoting a New Year’s after-party at the Mercury lounge courtesy of The Red Party, scheduled to commence at 1 am on January 1st,, where party-goers could spend the morning after having celebrated The Eve elsewhere. See you there!

Disorder
A Tribute to the Sounds of Joy Division

Joy Division tribute band Disorder continues to be highly in demand in this the greater NYC metropolitan area. Dingbatz is famous for its exceptional sound system and for hosting well-known as well as up-and-coming bands ranging from punk to metal to Goth.

Photo by E. Palazzo

Photo by E. Palazzo


A crowd of about 30 filled the small SRO space and included some of the most fanatical and enthusiastic Joy Division buffs I have ever noted at these events. Two young ladies, known only as Gabby and Eva appeared to know the lyrics of every song and to respond with squeals of joy and recognition as the band struck up the first notes of each piece. Notables in the audience included multi-instrumentalist Christian Dryden, front man of The Ritualists and participant in numerous other music projects; Deejay Lily-Stephanie Horreur; and ubiquitous scene veteran, Torrin Krrell.

NJ-based Disorder reprised their renditions of some of Joy Division’s most beloved repertoire, coming on about 11:30 pm, after the Dingbatz staff attended to every last detail of audio perfection. Disorder’s set list that night, like much else about Joy Division, really merits close scrutiny.

The show opened with snippets of crackly, historical radio commentary and early recognition of Joy Division as an exceptional and potentially scene-changing band. Twelve songs followed, starting with the eponymous “Disorder,” the first track off of the debut album, “Unknown Pleasures.” Next came “Digital.” originally recorded on a 7” LP called “A Factory Sample,” and later included in the compilation “Still.”

The next song “Warsaw” is a mystery to most listeners. It was intended for an album of the same name, which never got released until 1994, although it appeared on the compilation, “Substance,” and tells the peculiar story of Hitler confidante, Rudolf Hess, who defected to the U.K but was taken as a prisoner of war by the British. The numbers one hears recited refer to Hess’ assigned P.O.W. number.

“Atmosphere,” was originally a single released in 1980 with “Dead Souls,” (the song that followed in the set) as the flip side, then later included in the “Substance” compilation. Next up, “Twenty-Four Hours” and “Means to an End” both came off the second album, “Closer.” “Dead Souls” is perhaps Joy Division’s most mesmerizing song. It is an outstandingly eerie and haunting piece with nightmarish lyrics and a polyrhythmic tribal beat that has captivated generations. It was covered just as dutifully by Nine Inch Nails for the soundtrack to “The Crow.”

“She’s Lost Control” comes from “Unknown Pleasures,” and seems connected with a scene in the movie “Control,” in which Ian Curtis witnesses a seizure by a client while he was interviewing her in his capacity as an employment clerk. Curtis, himself – it is well known – was subject to seizures.

“Shadowplay” off the debut album followed and then Joy Division’s more recognizable hit, “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” a hit single from 1979, which is considered significant of Ian Curtis’ deteriorating marital situation that may have led to his suicide in 1980. It made its way onto the “Substance” compilation.

When the crowd demanded an encore, Disorder complied with the tragic “Ceremony,” a song Joy Division only recorded live, but never as a studio track. It was subsequently recorded by the surviving members as the sequel band, New Order.

Contemplating Ian Curtis’ esoteric poetry and listening to the scrupulously faithful covers by Disorder, one has the revelation that Joy Division was much more than just another post-punk band, but a significant entry into the post-modern movement that continues to permeate our culture today. Which explains why this group of musicians draws such intense inspiration and sense of commitment to their tribute project. It also explains their phenomenal popularity within the greater metropolitan music scene.

The Black Lodge at Arkham

Arkham is a Brooklyn Gothic Party that takes place in the dark bowels of Brooklyn on the last Saturday of every month since 2012 at Don Pedro on Manhattan Avenue since 2012. The theme on Nov 26 was “The Black Lodge a Tribute to David Lynch.”
Besides the customary darkwave/deathrock served up by hosts and resident deejays Cyclonus and Jose Frances there were live performances by openers Canter, a moody trio from Chicago and headliner, Metropolis Records artists, Noir performing their first area show in over a year.

Photo by Eric Thorpe-Moscon

Photo by Eric Thorpe-Moscon


This was the fourth David Lynch tribute edition of Arkham, and everything from his Mulholland Drive to episodes of Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet was shown on a giant flat screen over the bar or on the projector screen in the dance hall. DJ sets following the live performances included the Smiths, Wumpscut, Ministry and Lords of Acid as well as many more standards as well as rarities.

Ward 6

Nov 26 2016
Famous deejay and impresario Jeff Ward hosted guest deejays Negrarose, Jaycee (Shadow Nightz) Cannon and D.J. Arsenal for the late November installation of recurring Ward 6, an event of “dark dance, Industrial, New Wave, Synth and Goth” music at midtown’s Windfall. Ward 6 takes its name, not only from the host Jeff Ward, but from a short story about a lunatic asylum in Russia by Chekhov. The atmosphere at the event, while not quite lunatic, runs to the extreme of enthusiasm, owing to the over-the-top feeling of closeness among long-time, faithful attendees and the gala atmosphere produced by the dark and rhythmic musical dance selections. Careful attention to hospitality issues by Windfall manager Chris Savo, plays no small part in making Ward 6 a must-attend event.

Necropolis

The Fr. Jeff Ward’s three resident deejays, Patrick, Sean and Angel were in rare form, Dec 3, putting dancers through non-stop sets of New Wave, dark wave, Goth and industrial that kept the floor crowded and animated the entire night. Annabel Fagan maintained a stand selling delectable cupcakes until they were sold out, just behind gate-keeper Mandana Banshee’s post. Windfall manager Chris Savo floated both behind and in front of the bar to assure a comfortable and conducive atmosphere as seems to prevail at all Necropolis events. Scene regulars Carmel Carmel, Sir William Welles and Diana Cannone were, of course in attendance, but Shirley Alvarez and her entourage were notably absent and missed this time.

Record Reviews

Three artists/albums deserving special mention came to our attention this month.

Trees of Eternity
Hour of the Nightingale

Svart Records
trees-of-eternity

Scandinavian doom-metal quintet Trees of Eternity, organized 2009, has just this November released their first full album called “Hour of the Nightingale” on Svart Records and totally available for listening on Youtube and for purchase on Amazon. It features ten tracks with titles like “My Requiem” and “A Million Tears.” These are songs of sorrow and loss. The lilting, echoing female vocals, the baleful tolling bells and the dark, symphonic guitar accompaniment place Trees of Eternity into the company of such successful bands as Evanescence, Lacuna Coil and Nightwish, but with sufficient distinction to stand alone.

The songs are notably slower, more melodious, more mournful and to some extent, more reliant of instrumental accompaniment than others mentioned above. On the last cut, “Gallows Bird,” an ominous baritone male voice takes over for a slow-paced and menacing dirge. With that sound fresh in mind, I would say Trees would be perfect to tour with another Scandinavian band – Ghost. Another match would be Antimatter.

She Past Away

Volume I – II
On Bandcamp

she-past-away

Also just out this year comes an interesting darkwave release out of Istanbul, Turkey. Yes, they sing in Turkish, which doesn’t seem the least inconvenient because of the rapid rhythm anthems, sung in deep baritonal vocals. The mesmerizing cadences and the dark vocals keep the listener fascinated and every so often forgetful of the language barrier, half-grasping to understand the mysterious Turkish lyrics. The peculiarities of Turkish language diction actually suit this type of gothic synthpop very well, especially sounded through an echo-chamber setting.

There doesn’t seem to be a way to buy the CD at this time, but it’s available as download and can also be enjoyed on Youtube. She Past Away provides a deliciously gloomy musical experience. It is easy to compare them with those masters of the Dutch DarkWave, Clan of Xymox, whose sound She Past Away closely resembles – or even to The Cure at their most somber.

Untitled Art

The End
Line2 Records

untitled-art
Among the most irresistible music I’ve run into in years comes from an indie/goth project called Untitled Art which appears to be a resurrected 90s indie/alt rock band gone electro-industrial. Brainchild of singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Dave Sempier and engineer James Linton on their label, known for the moment, as Line2 Records.

I was first taken in by the wild, psychedelic video art accompanying an equally mind-blowing trip-hop piece called “Philly To Long Branch.” Equally infectious was “A Fighter’s Heart,” the vocals of which have a belligerent edge, and rhythm of which was already captivating in the original version, but even more so in the EDM remix. “Shutdown” was more melodious and more symphonic, once again featuring Sempier’s signature aggressive vocals. “Darker Days” with its a growling, minor-key instrumental accompaniment fit his accusatory lyrics and strident, gratifying alt rock tenor style which remains a constant through the wide ranging forms that his music takes. “Perfect” has a retro-90s quality that warmed my heart with nostalgia – the good kind – for the era that opened the gates to the musical age that some consider the fulfillment of New Wave.

These and more are presently coming together in an EP titled “The End” but most are already quite accessible for listening, and two of the tracks are able to be downloaded on SoundCloud where Untitled Art has a site with seven tracks. “Philly To Long Branch” will be on iTunes as of Dec 12 and official electronic downloads become available in January. Do not fail to check the video out on Youtube! The CD will be available for sale around the same time through cdbaby or possibly a major label depending on pending negotiations.

New Dark Age for November 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn November 23, 2016 @ 4:14 pm

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22 ARTS WEEKLY NOVEMBER 16, 2016 www.theaquarian.com
PHOTOS BY DOKTOR JOHN

Endless Night Vampire Ball Metropolitan Edition

endless-night

Sabretooth’s Impresario and fang-maker Fr. Sebastiaan hosted the annual Endless Night Vampire Ball at Slake (formerly The Batcave) on Manhattan’s 30th St on Saturday October 15, 2016. The event was held in the two upstairs lounges of Slake, leaving dark and empty the large, high-ceiling hall where it was previously centered. The downstairs bar was left to straight, non-vampire-ball-attendees.

The long and narrow top-floor so-called Red Room served mainly as an entertainment space, and the smaller side room was entirely used as a dance floor. Both spaces had well-stocked bars and energetic bartenders.

Chief Operations Officer Victor Magnus greeted attendees upon entry to the venue and stamped Sabretooth’s emblematic ankh on the ticket-holder’s wrist after everybody’s favorite and most glamorous gatekeeper, Mandana Banshee checked each in. From thence we were directed upstairs to the Red Room where we hit the bar and were shortly accosted by a tall, handsome and ultra-suave gent who offered to give couples a lesson in dancing the waltz. We gratefully took that lesson to recorded music played on the house PA system, perhaps to the chagrin of attendees who were unsettled to hear the waltz’s ¾ time instead of the customary 4/4 rock beat that usually accompanies gothic, punk and industrial songs.

A few couples took a few lessons, and soon enough the welcome strains of the Sisters of Mercy filled the air, setting the dance floor alive with participation of the crowd at large. Fr. Sebastiaan appeared on a stage situated at the far end of the room and made his warm, welcoming greetings. He announced a moment of silence for those who have passed from the scene as he always does and he led the crowd in the traditional wolf-howl before introducing the entertainment. As at all Fr. Sebastiaan events, the entertainment was thematic, mildly raunchy and fully captivating. fr-sebastiaan

First up were a pair scantily white-clad baroque-wigged performers who enacted a stylized and R-rated, but tastefully-not-explicit ballet decrying the practice of onanism, “The Heinous Sin of Self-Pollution” inspired by a 1724 pamphlet denouncing the “frightful consequences in both sexes.”baroque
There was a breath-taking performance by vocalist Ariel De Menthe who sang the song “Diva,” in the wide-ranging operatic style termed “coloratura” while wearing a witch’s headdress. A fashion show took place featuring more than a dozen beautiful models who passed on stage and posed in original outfits that evoked harem ladies, belly dancers, or barbarian princesses and warriors.

A stunning ecdysiast performed a strip-tease act starting off wearing a black nun’s habit performing pantomime with props of booze, money and symbolic drug-use while undressing and ending up wearing a lot less – a real lot less – though still in black.nunstripper

The high point always comes with the Halloween costume contest. Because of the particular predilections of this crowd, the outfits are always fabulous, often horrific, and marked by a high level of accomplishment. Gory clowns and gorgeous ladies competed with Gothic warriors and characters from classic horror cinema. The winner (shown here) winnerwas a masterful portrayal of the silent movie-era Nosferatu, and he was followed closely by a faithful version of Lon Chaney Sr.’s vampire from the lost film “London After Midnight” (also shown)20161123_111833.

Dancing to classic darkwave went on into the wee hours, and was yet going strong in both rooms when we left around 2 a.m. Fr. Sebastiaan had once again provided a night of incomparable entertainment and musical pleasure at one of the iconic venues in the New York goth scene. The only thing that can possibly top it is to attend his similarly-themed but even more spectacular Endless Night Vampire Ball in New Orleans.

Corrado’s Hayride, Haunted House

mr-haunt-at-corrados

Mr. Haunt

On Sunday night Oct 16 I was recruited by a group calling itself Haunt Hunters to join them on a visit to Corrado’s Hayride of Horrors and Haunted House in Hackettstown NJ. Owner Joe Corrado transforms his hundred acre farm every Halloween season into one of the state’s great spooky amusements. The hayride, haunted house and haunted corn maze walk are open Oct.1 and then every Friday, Sat and Sunday through the month, ending the weekend of Halloween.The hayride costs $14, the House $14 and a walk through the Haunted Corn Maze $8. Refreshments are for sale at a concession stand.

Haunt Hunters is headed by Mr. Chuck Mound and his partner Mr. Haunt, both dedicated investigators. Mr. Haunt, a prodigious consumer of all things macabre, but especially Halloween-themed amusements, is an imposing figure whose six and a half foot height is further amplified by his goggle-adorned top-hat. Together, he and Mound travel the Northeast and beyond in search of horror-themed attractions to experience and evaluate. Their mission is to seek out haunted theme parks, houses and yard decorations, and to evaluate all their aspects: granting awards for best actors, best costumes, best sets & scenery, best scream queens and – the crowning award – The Annabelle Trophy for best haunted attraction.

Riding on the back of a tractor-drawn hay-strewn trailer alongside a twenty or so passengers, mostly, but not all teenagers, we got to view eerily illuminated displays of grisly scenes, guillotines, graveyards, creepy shacks and vehicle wrecks situated along the roadside.
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Costumed and masked or made-up actors jumped out of the dark to menace us with threats, fake weapons and loud noisemakers, startling us each time they popped out of the gloom. demonic-fire

Marching in a line through the dimly lit maze of paths through a field of eight-foot tall corn, we were assailed by similar horrific characters. This walk goes rather quickly because the terrified kids in back of the line keep pushing and urging those at the front of the line to move faster to escape the villains.20161016_212852

A flatbed truck shuttles patrons to a horribly decorated haunted house, the interior of which is furnished with grisly displays and manned by shrieking, wall-climbing and frighteningly-costumed monster-actors, male and female. The tour ends when one of the tormentor-actors chases the visitors, with a loudly buzzing chainsaw, out of the building and into the front walk where a full moon shone comforting light on to the scene and we all breathed a sigh of relief. We served ourselves consolation in the form of hotdogs, cider and doughnuts before making the long car ride back to civilization.

Halloween fell on a Monday this year, so celebrations and events started early, creating a four-day Halloweekend.

New York City

night-gallery-for-blog

Night Gallery at Lovecraft bar

NY-based gothic rock mega-ensemble Night Gallery stormed the stage at Lovecraft Bar at 11:30 on the Friday before Halloween, where a sleepy crowd of beatnik seniors had gathered to hear soothing hippy jazz-fusion bands from the 60s. Accompanied by no less than five gifted musicians, including recently added keyboardist Jennifer Bobbe, vocalists Mark Demon and singer-songwriter Kitty Hawk quickly turned the mood around with their brooding, yet bombastic repertoire. Although most of the Grateful Dead-leaning crowd made a quick exit, the few who stayed seemed genuinely impressed by the change of pace that Night Gallery provided. The management, however, wasn’t thrilled, and they cut NG’s set to four songs and whisked them off stage, replacing them with a sleep-inducing Jimmy Buffet-style duo, which was our cue to leave.

Memento Mori Halloween Party

memento-3
From there it was an easy walk across Alphabet City to Bedlam Bar, where Mike Stalagmike, Bela Lugosi Alex and Valefar Malefic were spinning a deathrock-based mix that had black-clad dancers gyrating and careening into the early morning hours in the Halloween edition of Memento Mori.memento-2memento-1
this side of the local graveyard.

Friday, Oct. 28

Madame X hosted “Lifting the Veil – A Sexy Halloween Bash” at QXT’s in Newark, attended by costume contestants from the greater NY/NJ area and beyond.

Saturday, Oct. 29

Fr. Jeff hosted the Halloween edition of Ward 6 at Windfall, a dance night complete with costume contest featuring a $100 first prize and $50 Gothic Renaissance store certificate second prize.

Amityville Horror All Hallow’s Eve

Club Revolution and Music Hall on Long Island hosted a musical extravaganza on Sunday night before Halloween with a variety of bands and musicians covering a spectrum of appropriately themed goth-industrial performers. Sandwiched between openers Night Gallery who reprised their act to a more receptive crowd (see above) and headliners, Disorder, whose tribute to Joy Division has become a staple of the NY/NJ goth scene, was star of the dark stage, Baron Misuraca who performed an impeccable cover of the Rammstein mega-hit “Du Hast” and also served as emcee.

Oklahoma-based Esoterik featured a darkwave , but less than melodious set with a gorgeous female vocalist and a single multi-instrumentalist on guitar, drums and keyboardist. Espermachine, hailing from Little Rock, AR looked and sounded a lot like Laeatherstrip.

disorderDisorder opened with an eerie track of historic newsreel commentary from the early days when Joy Division was first hailed. From there, they performed eight songs in all, including “Isolation,” “She’s Lost Control” and “Shadowplay,” before pushing through a medley including “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” “Transmission” and the tragic-sounding Joy Division/New Order transition piece, “Ceremony.” Each was performed with their now-to-be expected fine mastery of Joy Division’s repertoire. Mike Strollo’s vocals, have a carefully crafted sense of strain in faithful simulation of venerated idol, Ian Curtis, and have become increasingly indistinguishable from the original.

The night ended with a costume contest which was enlivened when the groom of a zombie couple of contestants suddenly produced an engagement ring and real-life proposed to the bride right on stage. Happily, she accepted, and the rest of the night was spent in celebratory dancing to deejay-selected sounds.

Dracula’s Ball at Trocadero, Philadelphia Monday Oct 31, Halloween

This was the first Dracula’s Ball in quite some time. In earlier days,it was held three or four times a year, mostly at the now-gone, multilevel Shampoo mega-nightclub. When impresario Patrick Rodgers was able to put together an entertainment bill featuring reunited industrial rock giants Stabbing Westward and secure the historic Trocadero music venue, Dracula’s Ball arose from the grave. Balancing the bill was an opening tribal/medieval trio, ashagalAshagal whose “songs of myth and legend”reminded us of Quintal or Dead Can Dance, and who warmed the crowd with music of ancient Scandinavia and Ireland.

Indeed, the evening did start early with doors at 9:00, Ashagal at 9:45 and Stabbing Westward at 10:40, so costumed revelers were able to dance the rest of the night to deejay sets by Chas Paris and Rich Russo. Those who preferred the intimacy of the upstairs lounge area had their own full bar and could dance to the spinning of DJ TK-421. Many of thegetups were stunning as well as creative, thus it was a little disappointing to see some attendees in sweatshirts, hoodies, jeans and sneakers. drac-ball-costumescostumedrac-ballCostumes were “encouraged, but not mandatory.” Segregated areas were available for those of drinking age and those not. Attendees under 21 years of age could not access the bar service areas.drac-ball-dancers

On the negative side, the Trocadero felt a little claustrophobic compared to Shampoo, but that’s nobody’s fault, just the laws of physics. To his credit, patrick-rogersPatrick Rodgers limited the sale of tickets to well below the fire regulations specified limit for the venue. On the plus side, there were beautiful, original and creative items for sale in the merchandise area as well as records, posters and tee-shirts for the bands and the event. stabbing-westward

Stabbing Westward put on a spectacular show, and lead singer Chris Hall seemed to be over-the-top with actual love and enthusiasm for the crowd as he exchanged jokes with the audience and belted out 10 great hits, ending the first set with “Save Yourself,” before taking a break, then returning with a three-song encore set that concluded with “Shame.”
We can only hope that having met with complete success with this sold-out the event that Patrick Rodgers is able to put another ball together again sooner than next Halloween.

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