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Clash Bar Cover Band Night

Filed under: Events,Live Music,Uncategorized — doktorjohn August 3, 2016 @ 12:59 am

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Attack of the Clones

disorder copy
Featuring

Flaming Youths
Disorder
Street Walking Cheetahs
Pulp Flannel

Clash Bar

June 3, 2016

By Doktor John

Clifton NJ

Singer and multi-instrumentalist Christian Dryden hosted a particularly spectacular night of cover band performances at the Clash Bar, a nightspot famous for exceptional entertainment in the punk genre. Most all my readers are familiar with this venue, noteworthy for its well-stocked bar, reasonable pricing (both entry charges and libations), great shows and the friendly supportive management of that patron of the punk arts, Bob Clash.

Openers Pulp Flannel served up a nostalgic mix of 90s grunge rock – Seattle style – with covers of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Alanis Morrisette, the Cranberries, et al. They took a while to warm up and their performance was somewhat uneven with regards to quality and authenticity. However several songs, female-fronted by the adorable Kitman, really hit the emotional bulls-eye for us aficionados of pre-millenial alternative rock. Kitman also happens to be the name of a famous Hong Kong songstress to whom Pulp Flannel’s vocalist bore a striking resemblance, though decades younger.

Next up, The Street Walking Cheetahs put on an eye-catching as well as musically spot-on rendition of Iggy & the Stooges’ repertoire. Uncanny in his resemblance, both in sound and in visual terms, the lead singer of this Asbury quartet went beyond entertaining to actually transporting us all back to that special era in the early days at the inception of punk.

Disorder takes up the challenges posed in paying tribute to the oeuvre of Joy Division, whose iconic status attains to heights approaching mysticism for having ushered in the prolific era of Post-punk. There are other Joy Division tribute bands, but it’s hard to imagine a more perfect capture of the dark, enigmatic ambience of this archetypal band than that achieved by Disorder. Not only did they pay tribute to Joy Division’s beloved standards like “Dead Souls” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” but also they dug deep into their repertoire including such lesser-known gems as “Warsaw” off the “Substance” album. I have followed this combo ever since I adopted Joy Division as my religion, and I have seen the guitarist, John Costa and bassist David Id attain ever higher levels of skill in perfectly reproducing the sound of the original albums and the feel of the few surviving live performances. Vocalist Mike Strollo and percussionist Chris Mele bring a level of obsessive professionalism to the task of reproducing the experience of this tragically short-lived yet monumental band.

The night concluded with the KISS tribute band – The Flaming Youths – in full black & whiteface make-up, and organizer Christian Dryden sat in the esteemed position behind the drum kit for hard rock covers of the infamous 70s & 80s idols. Opening with the typically feel-good “Deuce,” Flaming Youths proceeded through a thirteen-song set and concluded with the emblematic “Rock’n’Roll All Night.” They touched upon and delivered the best of KISS’s mother lode of defiant party anthems, a perfect culmination to a night of tribute to rock music’s ancestry.

Goth 101 with Andi Harriman

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn June 28, 2016 @ 7:29 pm

This is the newspaper print version of the report. The searcheable, internet-based version can be found by scrolling down two entries to http://doktorjohn.com/?p=1612

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Goth 101 – with Andi Harriman

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,Uncategorized — doktorjohn June 15, 2016 @ 4:23 pm

Goth 101:
A History of the Postpunk and Goth Subculture, 1978 – 1992

An Illustrated Lecture with Andi Harriman

Morbid Anatomy Museum
April 27, 2016
Brooklyn, NY

By Doktor John

Goth 101

The Morbid Anatomy Museum hosted a lecture entitled Goth 101 as the latest entry in its series of like-themed presentations by Andi Harriman, musicologist and author of a popular compendium on Postpunk and Goth culture. Ms. Harriman lectured for just under an hour, accompanying her extensive historical account with abundant photographic documentation.

The amount of material proves to be voluminous, but Harriman’s analysis puts forward the thesis that the Punk cultural movement of the 1970s, with its iconoclastic philosophy and raw musical style set the stage for the inevitable rise of the more wide-ranging and varied, but inter-related styles of the early 80s called Postpunk. Out of this conglomerate of musical (and fashion) styles came Goth, a sort of apotheosis of a cultural thread that had run through Western civilization for millennia.

The roots of Goth were traced back to marauding nomad pagan tribes, the Goths and Ostrogoths, then became identified with the architecture that these former barbarians built as they settled in the Europe that they had conquered. Gothic art and architecture, identified with the period of Europe’s Dark Ages became associated with ruins and decay, then served as the back-drop for morbid-themed literature centered on haunted castles, seductive vampires and themes of emotional despair. Early cinema continued feeding the undercurrent of dark glamour, featuring such “vamps” as Theda Bara. Ghastly musical performance art in the mid-20th century fertilized the Postpunk substrate, eventually giving rise to the dark style of music that we now recognize as Gothic Rock.

Along the way, Ms. Harriman provided slides demonstrating concrete graphic examples that connected the thread, from engravings of barbarian invaders to images of Gothic cathedrals, the picturesque ruins of which supply the settings for Gothic novels, later for horror-themed motion pictures and television. Slide images traced the evolution from Screamin’ Jay Hawkins music videos to Alice Cooper, to the Velvet Underground, to Iggy Pop and, most importantly, to Bowie. We learned that the term Gothic Rock was first applied to The Doors, although Bauhaus’s “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” in the movie The Hunger seems to have been its first true inception when it all came together.

At the turn of the decade – the 80s into the 90s – Gothic Rock underwent mutation as electronic and synthetic instrumentation eventually took over, morphing the movement into Industrial Music, while retaining of some of Goth’s dark preoccupations. Thus aficionados of Gothic Rock are to be found today pursuing their musical taste patronizing clubs and music collections that term themselves as “Gothic-Industrial.”

New Dark Age in the April-May Issue of The Aquarian

Filed under: Art Reviews,Events,Goth Stuff,Live Music,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn May 18, 2016 @ 2:03 pm

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Procession

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn March 15, 2016 @ 7:25 pm

Procession at Home Sweet Home

At least one Sunday night a month can be salvaged by taking a plunge into the dark-dance night calling itself “Procession.” It is held in the depths of a dank, underground basement called Home Sweet Home on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. bartenderThe long bar, manned by a beautiful androgynous bartender, is well enough lit by battered, kitschy and mismatched chandeliers, and livened by a mounted taxidermy specimen of a menacing carnivore, but the dance area is gritty and unselfconsciously punk – a lumpy stone pavement.Joe Hart
DJs Mark Cage Knight and Joe Hart spun out popular pieces from Nick Cave and obscurities like O. Children. Mark, Joe and Joe’s gorgeous girlfriend, Rachel welcomed arrivals – both friends and newcomers, warmly.
Rachel
About 30 late nighters filled the cellar-like space. A melange of genders and sexual persuasions were in attendance. There were 3 bathrooms – one for men, one for women and one “take-your-pick.” Patrons were a mix of jeans/sneakers-clad hipsters and High Goth fashionistas. About ten people were present on the dance floor at any given time. Those elegantly attired in stunning black outfits, sinuously undulating to the rhythms made a splendid sight, dimly seen through the fog, through which the flash of a projector cut to throw disturbing videos on a peeling painted brick wall.club

Memento Mori

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,Recorded Music,Reviews — doktorjohn February 26, 2016 @ 8:07 pm

Club Night

Memento Mori

Bedlam
Feb 25 2016
By Doktor John

New York, NY

Bedlam bar

Since sometime late last summer, promoter Ana Vice has been hosting a small group of DJs for a mid-week monthly Goth social and dance night at a uniquely eerily decorated bar, appropriately called Bedlam, in Manhattan’s Alphabet City. The night is called Memento Mori” and it is held one Thursday a month. Bedlam, as is well known, was a notorious old school mental hospital, and this namesake venue lives up to both the medical and the mental reputation of the institution. Antique anatomy charts and gruesome anatomical models adorn the walls. Facsimilies of human bones are distributed at each of the sitting booths where ornamental cobwebs are strewn.Moose head
Among the DJs, Mike Stalagmike of Defcon has a modest, low-key and friendly aspect about him, but Mexican import Bela Lugosi Alex and stunningly androgynous Valefar Malefic go all the way with their looks, each manifesting monumental coiffures and morbidly beautiful male vampire appearance. DJs
The music is decidedly of the darkwave/coldwave dance variety, but there was no place for the conventional classics. No Sisters of Mercy. No Cure or Depeche Mode. Nor were they missed, because these DJs dug deep into the realm of Goth, with selections from such rarely played artists as Xmal Deutschland, Black Ice and Virgin in Veil. A fair number of tracks were unidentifiable, but nonetheless as pleasurable and hypnotic as they were melancholy.ValefarMalefic
Doors opened at 10 pm and about 30 or so patrons were in attendance, most arriving between 11:30 and midnight. All were decked out in blackest of black finery, boots, veils and fishnets as well as high make-up and serene attitude. Not more than a handful of dancers were on the floor at a time. Most attendees stood at the bar and engaged in conversation where a surprisingly festive undercurrent pervaded the generally restrained gathering. A more beautifully attired and groomed crowd is rarely seen, even in the bowels of New York’s deepest, dark demimonde.

Endless Night Anti-Valentine’s Vampire Ball

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,Reviews — doktorjohn February 20, 2016 @ 12:14 am

Feb 14, 2016
at Slake

New York, NY

A spectacular event – the last of its kind – was hosted by impresario and fangmaster Fr. Sebastiaan on Sunday, Valentine’s Day, at Slake (formerly Downtime at the Batcave) calling itself the 20th anniversary of the annual “Anti-Valentine’s Vampire Ball” – up to now a regular, recurring event.

Gatekeeper Victor Magnus, prolific writer on various dark subjects, and celebrity co-host greeted the 400 or so revelers who attended the occasion – newcomers as well as habitual, perennial attendees. Impresario Fr. Sebastiaan van Houten has been hosting Goth and vampire-themed events going back to 1997, at which time they were termed “Long Black Veil” nights, and originated at the famous Mother club in Manhattan’s Meat-Packing district. His skill at crafting wearable, vampire-like fangs under the auspices of Sabretooth, the association he founded, placed him at the pinnacle of the metropolitan vampire fan community that had been growing alongside New York’s dark music scene. When Mother closed in 2000, he moved his events, first to Club True, then to Rare, the Bank, Drom and most recently to Jekyll & Hyde. Presently he hosts too many events and club nights – in the U.S. and various cities in Europe – to catalogue for this report.
AntiValentine's

Fr.Sebastiaan and opera diva Ariel De Ment

Belly dancing, striptease and even lyric opera performances provided the entertainment interludes for the evening. Since there is a strict dress code (vampire, steampunk, fetish or all-black), and since many of the more imaginative and exhibitionistic guests far exceed the standard, there were, as always, two costume contests, one for women and one for men. The two winners were awarded tickets to the Vampire Ball in New Orleans this upcoming Halloween. Besides presiding, along with some of his inner circle at the costume judging contests, Fr. Sebastiaan took ample opportunity to address the crowd, warmly expressing appreciation for their attendance and support. He led the audience of devotees in the ritual howl, by which all paid homage to some departed members of the Sabretooth Clan.AntiValentine's2

These ladies performed in cages high above the dance floor

Music was provided throughout the three-story Slake. On the main, ground floor spinning was by DJs Aengel, V Christ and Xris Smack. Up on the third floor was the uncomfortably chilly Red Room where Sean Templar and Jeffo played a different selection of the classic Goth. Skinny Puppy, Joy Division, Depeche Mode and Bowie got ample airing in both dance areas, and alternated with U2, the Psychedelic Furs, Ministry and Dead Can Dance and more.
Fr. Sebastiaan announced that this would be the last ever Anti-Valentine’s Vampire Ball he would host in NYC, having made arrangements to move to San Francisco, where he intends to become involved in similar events. So all good things must eventually come to an end. This last entry in the twenty-year series provided a joyful grand finale for all who attended and participated.

Noir at Arkham in Brooklyn

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,Live Music,Uncategorized — doktorjohn January 7, 2016 @ 5:08 pm

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Britain vs. The Bowery at The Saint in Asbury Park, NJ

Filed under: Events,Live Music,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn November 17, 2015 @ 3:05 am

Disorder
Straight To Hell
Rockaway Bitches

disorder at Saint

Disorder

Three really accomplished cover bands, representing three famous icons of the late 70s and early 80s, converged on this venerable music venue in Asbury to recreate an evening of music of an era dear to the hearts of many. Both those old enough to recall the inception days of punk, as well as those young fans who know enough to revere the epoch gathered to honor the three groups of performers who had joyfully revived the sounds and sights associated with three giants of the time, Joy Division, The Clash and the Ramones, but each performed with a unique, artistic spin of their own.

Placing an exact date on the origin of punk will always be arbitrary and controversial, but one fact will not. The U.K. and New York share equal status in birthing this cultural and musical movement. Here in the States, it was primarily the Ramones who gave it primal form and gained it widespread recognition with their performances at now-defunct CBGB’s on New York’s Bowery. Opening the show and representing these originals at the Asbury event was an all girls quartet from New York calling itself Rockaway Bitch.

Rockaway at saint

Rockaway Bitches

The show opened at around 8:30. The physically imposing lead vocalist bore an uncanny, if feminized resemblance to Joey Ramone, which she enhanced by wearing a pair of eyeglasses similar to his and sporting the same disheveled hair-do and of course motorcycle jacket. They performed 20 songs in all, from the unmistakable “Blitzkrieg Bop” through “KKK” to “Sedated” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School.” And, of course, “Rockaway Beach” from which the band takes its double-entendre name. At the beginning of every song, the bass player, in imitation of Dee-Dee Ramone, screamed “1-2-3-4!” imparting the trademark “do-it-yourself” feel of the original band, which never sought to impress with their mastery of the instruments. With their black motorcycle jackets and denim outfits, not surprisingly, Rockaway Bitch proved to be the most photogenic group of the night.

Straight to Saint

Straight To Hell

Contemporaneous with the Ramones, across the pond in the U.K, one of the defining originals was the Clash whose leftist politics and eclectic style helped define the culture of the punk movement. So, up next, and after an interlude of live broadcast from a college radio station, came Straight To Hell, finely tuned cover band for The Clash, performing 18 songs, each one more masterfully than the next, starting with “Clampdown,” off the “London Calling” album (1979) and ending with “Police On My Back” from the “Sandinista” collection (1980). Along the way they performed beloved and recognizable entries including reggae-flavored and country & western-styled numbers from the Clash’s large and influential repertoire, rotating vocalists as necessary and as each song demanded. High points came during “I Fought the Law,” “Should I Stay” and “Death or Glory.”

The largest following of fans was there for the third and final band, Disorder, masters of the British post-punk band Joy Division’s oeuvre. In a stroke of unforeseen luck Joy Division came into existence in 1976 when its members made a blundering attempt to emulate the Sex Pistols, but instead hit upon an unexpectedly imaginative and disquieting musical style that has transcended all genres. Disorder caters to the cult of Joy Division devotees who have survived and grown more avid in the 35 years since the untimely death of frontman Ian Curtis and the disbanding of the band.

Disorder began their fourteen song regular set with an obscurity, “Warsaw” from Joy Division’s debut EP “An Ideal For Living” (1978). Moving through the dark and brooding body of work, they performed meticulous recreations of all the favorites: “Day of the Lords,” “She’s Lost Control,” “Isolation,” “Dead Souls” and more. True to Joy Division’s tradition, they performed with more power and energy, more emotional abandon, than the studio recordings would suggest. Exhausted, the band tried to end with the heart-breaking and melodious “Ceremony,” but were called back by a persuasive and enthusiastic audience, whom they succeeded in satisfying with the pitch-dark, lamenting “Twenty-four Hours.”

In the battle of Britain vs. the Bowery, both sides can claim victory as well as the formation of a gratifying alliance that bears witness to the battle-cry, “Punk Never Dies!”

IAMX – Metanoia Tour

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,Live Music,Uncategorized — doktorjohn November 3, 2015 @ 2:43 pm

Webster Hall

October 30, 2015

by Doktor John

New York, NY

IAMX Stage

Berlin-based electro-pop combo IAMX ended their North American tour, termed “Metanoia” after their new album of the same name, on Friday, the day before Halloween, on the big stage at the East Village’s Webster Hall, which was filled to capacity for the event.

Opening band, Mr. Kitty did a spectacular job of warming the crowd with an over-the-top level of energy and a voluminous, hook-laden wall of sound, while frontman Forrest Avery Carney gyrated frenetically on stage in an all-white outfit like a jittery male nurse in a lab coat and mini-shorts that revealed his lengthy, gazelle-like legs sheathed in white stockings. As satisfying as Mr. Kitty was, its effect was to charge up the crowd for an even higher level of enthusiasm for the headliner to come.

IAMX in the form of a quartet roared on stage on schedule at 8:30, opening with “I Come With Knives,” off “The Unified Field (2013), which starts low key then gradually develops into a crescendo. Vocalist Chris Corner was joined on stage by a drummer and two gorgeously and scantily clad keyboardist/guitarist females who also contributed backup vocals. For better or worse, the stage lighting was kept low and monochromatic in reds, blues and purples, in keeping with the dark nature of the music, but I sure would have liked a better look at the whole quartet, Corner, himself as well as the accompanists. The packed hall responded with appreciation and physical agitation that lasted the rest of the night.

Strongly cadenced “The Alternative,” title track off the album of the same name, continued to intensify the mood and was followed by “Happiness,” ironically named from the latest album, “Metanoia.” Also off that album, which Corner represents to be an expression of his release from mental anguish associated with recent depression and insomnia, were “No Maker Made Me,” “Oh Cruel Darkness Embrace Me” and “Aphrodisiac.”

At one point Chris Corner exchanged his kerchief-like hood for a wide-brimmed hat, but maintained an all-black wardrobe throughout the performance.hatkeyboards

The other 12 songs (17 in all) were off the various albums that constitute IAMX’s broad repertoire. The syncopated rhythm of “Tear Garden” off the album “Kingdom of Welcome Addiction,” contrasted with slow paced “Bernadette” off “Volatile Times.” Club favorite “Spit It Out” had the effect of increasing the rhythmic pulsation of the spectators who were too tightly packed to break into actual dance.

“Your Joy Is My Low” ended the regular set, but this audience screamed for more, so after a momentary break, IAMX regrouped on stage for an encore consisting of three more songs which of necessity included “Kiss and Swallow,” then ending with the slow and melodious “I Am Terrified.”

From the opening act, Mr. Kitty, to the last beat and final note from IAMX, the packed-house audience remained totally rapt and kept in constant motion by the compelling and unique rhythms.

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