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NEW DARK AGE – July 2018

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,live music,Movies,New Dark Age Monthly,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn July 3, 2018 @ 9:00 am

Depeche Mode at Barclay’s Brooklyn

This month, New Dark Age is proud to host a review by renowned writer and world-hopping deejay, Andi Harriman. Journalist, lecturer and author of the definitive text on Post Punk music and Goth culture, “Some Wear Leather Some Wear Lace.” Here, Harriman applies her knowledge and reporting skills to the genre’s biggest event of 2018 in the greater NYC area.

Depeche Mode

Barclay’s Center
June 7, 2018 Brooklyn NY
By Andi Harriman

On June 6, when arriving to Barclay’s Center in downtown Brooklyn, you knew exactly what was going on. Black-clad Depeche Mode fans congregated en-masse outside of the venue, seemingly loitering in the comfortable pre-summer evening. But no. It was the line for security, a wait that lasted around thirty minutes…if lucky. It was a misstep of Barclay’s, a problem that should have been treated with more ease and fluidity instead of the somewhat chaotic scenario we were thrust into. But, after DM’s two performances last fall at Madison Square Garden, Barclay’s was NYC’s last chance to catch the trio on their Global Spirit Tour – so a lengthy wait in line was no hassle or obstacle for us devotees.

Anyone who has been to multiple shows this tour – or any for that matter – understand there is a predictability in Depeche Mode’s setlists, only with minor changes each performance. These variations come especially during Martin Gore’s solo renditions, an intimate part of a DM concert that has been tradition since the early to mid 1980s. The gem of the night was Gore’s rendition of “The Things You Said” from 1987’s “Music for the Masses” – an utterly heartbreaking cult favorite, one that had us singing along, clutching with adoration to each and every lyric.

Depeche Mode Live on giant screen at Barclay’s

Of course Dave Gahan further proved – as if we needed reminding – that he is truly a rockstar, strutting up and down the catwalk, flaunting his dance moves. Fewer songs from “Spirit” were played live this time around, replaced with some tracks from the 1997 “Ultra” album including the grungy “Barrel of a Gun” and “Useless”. It’s interesting to note that the band didn’t play a single song from their 1980s catalogue (if you count their 1990 “Violator” album in that vein) until about halfway through the concert with “World in My Eyes”- a somewhat unpredictable arrangement for a band who found their fame in the decade of the eighties. However, maybe that’s the point. DM, with their god-like status, don’t necessarily need the cushion of tracks from their formative decade to prove their worth.

As Gahan left the Barclay’s stage at the end of the night, he shouted, “See you some other time!” – a change from his past goodbyes, ones that often hinted at a future tour. “Could this be the last?” we all ask, waving our overdrawn bank cards and arms full of merchandise, wistfully praying for just a little more Depeche Mode.

Barclay’s Center Setlist:
Revolution (The Beatles song)
Cover Me
Going Backwards
It’s No Good
Barrel of a Gun
A Pain That I’m Used To
(Jaqcues Lu Cont remix version )
Useless
Precious
World in My Eyes
Cover Me
The Things You Said
Home
In Your Room
Where’s the Revolution
Everything Counts
Stripped
Enjoy the Silence
Never Let Me Down Again
Encore:
I Want You Now
(acoustic)
Play Video
Walking in My Shoes
Encores: A Question of Time
Personal Jesus

Das Ich Besucht Amerika

STIMULATE
at St. Vitus/ QXT’s
Brooklyn/Newark

Das Ich on Stage at STIMULATE at St.Vitus in Brooklyn
photo by Sami McClelland

German electronic group Das Ich, fronted by Stefan Ackermann, Bruno Kramm and NJ’s own DJ Damian Plague were on stage at St. Vitus in Brooklyn and QXT’s in Newark on successive nights at the end of the month, June 29 and June 30 respectively. Three deejays were at the turntables, impresario of Stimulate and host, Xris Smack, DJ Sean Templar and the adorable DJ Paradox.

L. to R. Sean Templar, Xris Smack and Paradox


Singing, screaming, roaring Stefan took center stage between his dual keyboardists who sported costumes and head-gear that suggested a menacing, deranged carnival. Ackermann’s tightly pulled facial and neck muscles, his skinny torso, the wild array of his remnant hair radiating off of his shiny cranium and his over-the-top delivery served as his stage outfit.

Dating back to 1989, they have produced around ten studio albums. These performances, along the ”Das Ich Besucht America” tour, are to introduce new material intended for an October release, among which was the single “Was Bin Ich?” American audiences are actually witnessing material that has not yet debuted in Germany.

Pounding, brutal mechanical rhythms paired with vehemently yelled, repetitive mantra-like vocals prevailed. Minor key, synthesized melodies persevered through the wild and madcap stage performance. There was a lot of interaction with the crowd during the hour-and-a-half set, including some provocative political pontifications from Bruno. The packed crowd at St. Vitus was thrilled and electrified.

Street Fever

Opening for Das Ich was Street Fever, an entertaining and hypnotic one-man project of Louis Bash, consisting of emphatically-cadenced electronica spiced with Bash’s athletic jumping around, while wearing red, diode-lit goggles on a full-face, leathery mask from which dangled Cthulhu-Like tentacles.

New Dark Age attended the Brooklyn performance hosted by club night, Stimulate, but we have it on good word that the Newark show the following day was equally exciting. St. Vitus is an excellent place to watch a show. The bar is atmospherically lit, large and comfortable. Most importantly, the stage is raised high enough for even the height-challenged can stand back and watch the show over the heads of the crowd.

On Saturday, June 9, Sean and Mandana Banshie Templar celebrated the 11th Anniversary of the Red Party, a virtual eon by the standards of the NYC Post Punk scene.
Staring out on a rainy night eleven years ago, playing the Cure on a stereo at a dive with incongruous red walls on Orchard St. The idea has been from the beginning to buck the electronic and synthpop trend of the current millennium by featuring old school Goth. None were more surprised than Sean himself when on successive nights the floors became packed with guests dancing to Specimen, Virgin Prunes and Christian Death.

So the night was even more festive than most iterations of the Red Party. New York based alternative rockers The Hunt, performed an updated, heavy, almost symphonic brand of punk to the delight of the packed crowd at Mercury Lounge, where the Red Party is in monthly residency. Ana Vice, Matt V Christ and Jarek joined Sean at the proverbial turntables, providing strictly Post Punk, Goth and Coldwave both before and after the live set.

The Hunt performing at The Red Party’s 11th Anniversary Party

Annabel Fagan provided calorie-rich cupcakes decorated with delicious little red skulls. A “Who’s Who” of NYC nightlife was present with the likes of William Welles, Xris Smack, gorgeously blonde Jennifer Bobbe and glamorously groomed Jeffo!

Still Under Nights:

Memento Mori

Other events during the month included Memento Mori at the Pyramid (technically doors were on May 31 but the party was happening after midnight turned to June 1. Memento Mori will have moved to Friday for the June 29 occurrence at the Pyramid.

Necropolis

Father Jeff’s long running Necropolis club night at Windfall had a successful turnout June 2. Goth celebrity Aurelio Voltaire made the scene (in both senses.) Jeff’s other main event, Ward 6 took place on Saturday June 23.

Court of Lazarus and Procession

These two completely independent and separate events kept the lower East Side lively on Sunday, Father’s Day, The latter event went well into the well into the hours of Monday morning.

Defcon

Defcon is of course a weekly event every Saturday at the Pyramid downstairs. ON June 23rd it hosted a tribute to Wax Trax, that label, famous for EBM, Industrial, etc.

QXT’s

Mad Max Party at QXT’s

QXT’s in Newark offered the most reliably enjoyable calendar of events which included dancing every Friday and Saturday, a Mad Max-themed party, open mic nights, local band performances, internationally known recording artists, and a major SynthWave festival (see last month’s column.) The deejays stuck to an 80s repertoire on June 8 and June 29, in keeping with the theme of this party which takes place every second and last Friday of the month. This is the twice monthly event that my wife has me take her to on each occurrence of “So 80s” at QXT’s.

Mary Shelley (2017)

“Mary Shelley” – IFC Pictures

How a nineteen year-old girl came to write one of the most important novels of all time is a almost infinitely fascinating. Mary Shelley’s Gothic, Romantic novel is considered the first full-length book of science fiction. The issues covered in her book span a formidable spectrum of human issues, with references to Greek mythology, physiology, mortality, abandonment, disillusion and vengeance, and the very purpose of existence, to name a few.

The motion picture “Mary Shelley” is co-written by Emma Jensen and Haifaa Al-Mansour, who also directed. I found it interesting that Ms. Al-Mansour grew up in Saudi Arabia where there were no movie theaters until 2018. Mary Shelley is played magnificently by Elle Fanning (2nd from left above); her star-crossed sister (left) is played by Bel Powley; Percy Bysshe Shelley is played by Douglas Booth (2nd from right); and the cad, Lord Byron, is played by Tom Sturridge (right).

This biographical movie captures the Zeitgeist of the early 19th Century Europe, when the contributions of women were dismissed and generally disregarded, when theories of the occult competed with the discoveries of electricity and chemistry and when the ideas of Romantics like Lord Byron and Samuel Taylor Coleridge were all the rage.

Every scene was a work of art. The cinematography by David Ungaro is beautiful in the extreme.

It deals with the tumultuous relationships between Mary and her political philosopher father, William Godwin, and with her poet/lover, Percy Bysshe Shelley. The story is riveting. Passion, poetry, politics and intellectual issues are present. Historical and literary threads are woven throughout. The production re-creates not only the milieu, the costumes and scenery of the period, but the whole vibe of that era, with authentic sounding dialogue that captures the mentality, the intellectual and the philosophical discourse of the day. It manages to support several contemporaneous controversies in multiple plots. Plus, it succeeds in telling Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley’s story and the story of the beginnings of women’s rights in the English-speaking world.

Most importantly, this film gives us the relationship between Mary Shelley and the monster, explaining her rationale – proto-feminist is the best way to describe it – for creating him. Some of the conclusions at which the film arrives may be speculative on the part of the film’s writers. Accepting the film as it is requires suspension of disbelief on these issues. Multiple biographies of Mary Shelley are available in print for those who wish to verify the feminist theory put forth in this motion picture. For me, that’s the best explanation available.

What more could a fan of Frankenstein want?

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is currently hosting an extraordinary, paired exhibition, simultaneously held at both the Met 5th Avenue and the Cloisters, featuring fashion and aesthetics of intense interest to those with Gothic sensibilities. We picked Father’s Day to visit the Met 5th Avenue half of the show.

The Costume Center downstairs in the Tisch Gallery has liturgical vestments, including crowns and hats worn by popes and ranking members of the Church hierarchy during highly ceremonious events. Here you will view opulent, intricately ornamented and jewel-encrusted robes, capes, scarves, shoes and headdresses that were handcrafted by girls and young women under the supervision of nuns, taking decades to complete. Embroidery with microscopically fine threads of silk, silver and gold achieve levels of artistic achievement that can only be compared to the grandest masters of Renaissance painting. No photography is allowed in this space.

Upstairs in the Medieval galleries – and interspersed among the pious religious icons and crucifixes of the standing collection – are church-inspired costumes by modern designers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Here’s where the Goths will find themselves at home.

Crucifixes and cruciform designs adorn black-clad mannequins, dressed as if for an underground nightclub.

Sexy angels and virgins in outlandish costumes that are ecclesiastical in ornamentation float on pedestals or hover from the ceiling, intermingled with Medieval religious icons that are part of the standing exhibition.

The exhibit has been going on since May 10 and will close on Oct 8. It demonstrates that Catholic aesthetics cross over into Goth. It is not to be missed.

Morbid Anatomy Season-Closing Garden Party

Celebratory followers of Morbid Anatomy at Garden/Cemetery Party

The venerable institution, the Morbid Anatomy Library, having taken up temporary residence at the Fort Hamilton Gatehouse of Green Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, held a celebratory closing gala on Friday June 29 to mark the closing of the library and the first exhibition held at that location. Library leadership Joanna Ebenstein and Laetitia Barbier served as hostesses to a garden party where wine and snacks were available in abundance, as were nostalgic devotees of the museum, faithful followers of the library and a few celebrities like Evan Michelson of the Science Channel’s “Oddities” and Manhattan’s antique-and curio mine, Obscura.

Gracious Cristina Marcelo led the interested on a tour of some of the most interesting and magnificent mausoleums, monuments and noteworthy graves within walking distance. Others milled about chatting and imbibing while taking in the exhibit on the first floor of the gatehouse and the library on the second floor.

The Morbid Anatomy Library and the exhibit will be closed for the summer.

Satanik Germanic
Hanzel und Gretyl

Metropolis Records
This is the ninth album for Hanzel und Gretyl on Metropolis Records, and it continues in the tradition of that Brooklyn NY duo in its attempts to provoke paranoia with its ironic and over-the-top references to Satanism and Germanic spirit. There’s sarcasm in the exaggerated, hyper-Germanic and demonic themes and style that this band adopts, and there are intentional, if arcane puns in the titles.

The first track, e.g. is titled “Golden Dammerung,” its name an echo of Richard Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung” (Twilight of the Gods). It, like the final, eleventh track sounds to be an ecclesiastical choir, with a tremulous, echoic effect as if sung in a cathedral or Medieval monastery. There’s just enough percussion and rhythm to remind the listener of both tracks’ relationship to rock music.

The next several tracks are more clearly heavy, bombastic, guitar-driven death metal. Hoarse, raspy lyrics (“We rise as demons”) and screaming guitars rise above the minor-key background chants. The listener will hear riffs that are reminiscent of Rammstein, whom Hanzel und Gretyl seem to occasionally emulate and parody. Female bassist Vas Kallas sings the fifth track “I Am Bad Luck,” a menacingly slowed-down, plodding piece in a clearly enunciated, subtle hiss.

At around the halfway point in the album, the pace picks up with speed metal, twisted guitar licks and mantra-like repetitiveness in a tongue-in-cheek song, “Trinken mit der Kaizer.”

The irresistible seventh track “Hellfire und Grimmstone” references the Brothers Grimm fairytales while echoing the biblical threat of “hellfire and brimstone,” and provides an opportunity for the him to roar the lowest vocal depths of bass. Actually, a lot of this album is irresistible owing to its combination of symphonic, choral and death metal elements. Virtually each of the eleven tracks benefits from this formula, each in its own way.

“Unter Alles” (under everything) is a spoof of the German nationalist cry, “Über Alles” (over everything) and is sung mainly in German suggesting that it is derisive in intention.
Much like early Laibach, they spoof the elements of Teutonic nationalism while they seemingly revel in it. Not everybody gets it, and there are those who fly into a rage on the assumption that Hanzel und Gretyl are serious. Some have wrongly accused them of being neo-N—s. Lighten up! It’s all in parody, and I might add, good music. What should one expect from a band headed by a guy who calls himself Kaizer von Loopy?

Track Titles
1. Golden Dammerung
2. We Rise As Demons
3. Black Six Order
4. Weisseswald
5. I Am Bad Luck
6. Trinken Mit Der Kaizer
7. Hellfire und Grimmstone
8. Sonnenkreuz
9. Unter Alles
10. 13 Moons
11. Kinamreg Kinatas

New Dark Age – June 2018

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,live music,New Dark Age Monthly,Uncategorized — doktorjohn June 27, 2018 @ 10:06 pm

2018

General Information

The world’s greatest festival of Goth culture takes place in Leipzig, Germany, during 5 days leading up to the Monday of Pentecost that follows Easter by 40 days. Wave Gotik Treffen begins on the Thursday and concludes on that Monday, which is an official holiday In Germany. Leipzig is an ancient city, a traditional commercial center since the Middle Ages, rich in European history, art, music and architecture, boasting famous medieval churches, two grand opera houses, ancient and modern town squares, the oldest restaurant in Europe and countless museums, music halls, cafes and entertainment establishments.

Attendees at WGT have to resign themselves to the fact that they will only be able to catch and enjoy a tiny fraction of the vast array of entertaining and educational experiences that the festival offers. This report is based upon our hectic experience in trying to see and do as much as humanly possible during the five-day festival.

The central theme of WGT is music. Although Post Punk, Goth and Industrial are the main agenda, dark electro, experimental, classical, baroque, opera, chamber music, church organ, folk, world, variety, modern dance, ballet and cabaret are all presented. Performances number in the hundreds. There are around thirty music venues, big and small, some of which have multiple spaces within, such as the fortress-like multilevel stronghold, Moritzbastei or the cavernous Agra. In addition to the massive music hall, Agra also contains a huge shopping mall where items of clothing, costumes, fetish accessories, footwear helmets, headdresses and the like are for sale. One of the great delights of the festival is to stroll through this section browsing and occasionally succumbing to make purchases of unique items. It also contains an ongoing exhibition featuring grotesque works of explicit art.

Besides standard music venues, there are churches, parks, theaters, restaurants, cemeteries, hotels, monuments, and even ancient ruins that serve as attractions and performance spaces, hosting exhibitions, lectures, films, shows and presentations. There are around ten participating museums to which there is free access for attendees ranging from fine art to Egyptian to a museum documenting the activities of the secret police, the Stasi, during the Cold War era of Communist domination of East Germany, the DDR. Even the main train station hosts opening events and concerts.

In addition to brochures outlining the many venues and participating institutions, and an exquisitely illuminated hardcover program book, there is an extremely helpful smartphone app that presents the entire schedule, lists the artists and the performances, providing samples of the music at each event and directions on how to get to each venue. Public transportation is free to WGT attendees wearing their identifying wrist bands.
Festivities began with welcoming parties at Moritzbastei, the multilevel complex very near the town center and other venues on Thursday May 17, the night before official opening of the festival. Free entry to the various museums also became available that day.

A nice place to ease into the WGT scene is the Absintheria Sixtina, a friendly bar that is open 24 hours a day and features a small menu of beers and wines, but over 250 types of absinthe and a near infinite variety of cocktails derived from them. One afternoon we sampled some absinthe while a rock band, Nietzsche and the Wagners, performed on the small indoor stage. Outdoors, in back of the bar is a yard where beverages bratwursts and similar fare are served at tent-covered picnic tables.

Performances and Events

Victorian picnic

On Friday things got serious. That afternoon we attended a massive gathering of thousands of festival-goers, with a sprinkling of tourists and local gawkers gathered at the Clara Zetkin Park for the annual Victorian Picnic. Participants wearing their finest appropriately-themed attire settle in groups on blankets to socialize and dine in highly civilized fashion from picnic baskets while around them is a promenade of costumed strollers wearing Gothic styles ranging from Victorian, Steampunk and Baroque to the most outlandish sci-fi, fantasy and fetish outfits.

By the time we found our way to Taubchenthal, a large music hall with a resort-like courtyard and surrounding food stands, the Beauty of Gemina, a Swiss gothic rock band was underway and sounded fantastic. The venue was so packed, however, that the crowd couldn’t enter, blocked the entrances and milled about outside, unable to get in and see the stage. We met up and socialized with our New York celebrities, Sean Templar, Matt V Christ and glamorous Serena Goss while sampling the local fare.

Boy Harsher

From there we headed over to see dark electro duo Boy Harsher at the Stadtbad, a large building that had once been an enclosed official public swimming pool now paved over and serving as a music hall. This dark electronic duo, with roots in the US South mesmerized us with Augustus Muller’s minimal dance beats and grinding synths and with Jae Matthews’s eerie, ethereal vocals.

At 11 pm we caught the avant-garde, neofolk (or “apocalyptic folk”) combo, Rome, out of Luxembourg. Singer-songwriter Jerome Reuter plays acoustic guitar while crooning deliciously morose, and poignantly poetic, English-language lyrics in his emotionally-wrenching baritone, supported by emphatic percussion and occasional industrial samples.

Oomph! on stage at Agra

Things really got rolling on Saturday down at Agra. Having taken the twenty-minute tram ride it takes to get from Leipzig town center down to Agra, we were treated to the onstage performance of German industrial hard rockers, Oomph! whose bombastic style enthralled the crowd with high-energy, Rammstein-style rock. The audience revealed their devotion to Oomph! by knowing and lip-syncing the lyrics to most of Oomph!’s songs, while frontman Dero Goi energetically led the crowd like a conductor as he sang in clear, perfectly enunciated German and in English.

Oomph! was followed by Canadian electro-industrial originals, Front Line Assembly, whose underplayed performance fell below our expectations.

The reward for the night came with Norse ceremonious, traditionalist ensemble, Wardruna, whose grandiose use of ancient instruments and solemn chanting enraptured listeners with ominous percussion and pompous horns that are recognizable to those who are familiar with their soundtrack contributions to the series “Vikings.” Great music by which to burn witches!

Arcana at Kirchenruine performing at Wave Gotik Treffen

On Sunday we took the 12.5 km (a 25 Euro cab ride) to an event at Kirchenruine Wachau, the magnificent, still-standing ruins of a gothic-style church, the interior of which has been entirely gutted to serve as a meeting place and music venue. Tall, ivy-overgrown stone walls bearing the remaining framework of pointed-arch cathedral windows towered over the crowd and the Swedish neo-classical, darkwave band, Arcana. The audience was tightly crowded into the capacious space under a blistering sun. Peter and Cecilia Bjärgö, supported by guitar, percussion, keyboards and backup singers, took turns thrilling those within and those gathered in gardens and cemetery grounds outside the walls of the church ruins. Medieval, ecclesiastical and oriental style songs were sung – mainly in English – creating a transcendent, otherworldly atmosphere that was both somber and uplifting.

Afterwards, back at the Stadtbad we caught three great EBM/industrial acts back to back. Spark!, from Sweden featured a lovably clownish duo whose irresistible, compelling music caused a wild mosh pit to form. Next, Sturm Café continued in the same style, but darker and even more furious. The third was an original industrial pioneer, Belgium’s Vomito Negro, whose delightfully nasty, deep bass beats and vicious, repetitive lyrics were perfectly matched by creepy, projected video images.

De/Vision at Agra

On Sunday evening, the next to last day of the festival, German 2-man synthpop group De/Vision took the stage at Agra, and it was a welcome experience to hear Steffen Keth’s smooth and pleasing vocals as he belted out songs with inspirational and positive lyrics.

During late mornings and early afternoons we took the opportunity to visit museums and galleries. The Egyptian Museum (Aegyptisches Museum) had extraordinary pieces, grand and small. The most remarkable of these was a perfect cast of a Mesopotamian stone column bearing the text of the legendary Code of Hammurabi, carved into the stone in cuneiform script.

On Monday the last day we toured a local gallery where one section featured acrylic paintings with mildly transgressive imagery and another, more secluded section, displayed small, life-size and larger sculptures representing female genitalia, some crafted in metal to serve as costume jewelry such as pendants and brooches.

Composer Felix Mendelssohn’s Leipzig home has been preserved as a museum of his life and work. It is not an official, free-admission item in the WGT festival, but was well worth the small charge for a visit that shed light upon this remarkably gifted human being. Mendelssohn’s masterful paintings and drawings came as an unexpected surprise to those of us who only knew of his great musical compositions. In previous years we have toured Leipzig’s spectacular Johann Sebastian Bach Museum, which likewise is a non-participant, therefore , requires a small admission fee.

The last night at Agra provided a sensational experience which included Dutch band Grendel, whose thunderous EBM style was electrifying, highlighted by superb, savage vocals. They were followed by Floridians, God Module, whose pitch-dark, demonic growling vocals, grim themes and pounding rhythms were occasionally spiced with cinematic samples and grisly backdrop videos. For lovers of this kind of entertainment, this provided the perfect conclusion to the five day festival.

Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera
The Majestic Theater
NYC 2018

Although Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera” premiered in the U.K. in 1986, it made its Broadway debut in 1988, making this year its 30th anniversary in the States and the 30th anniversary of winning the Tony Award for Best Musical. It is arguably the most successful work of gothic-themed-mainstream-crossover performance art ever, as it continues to extend the longest run of any show on Broadway.

It is based on the long out-of-print, Gaston Leroux novel (1909). It shares, with other stories of the gothic genre, the theme of a flawed, demonic-yet-sympathetic villain who threatens to corrupt an innocent woman. The time setting places the action in the turn-of-the-century world of Steampunk. The gothic status of the work is established early when in a parody of a scene from the opera “Hannibal,” a diva strides to the front of the stage displaying a decapitated head with simulated blood dangling from it. As in most gothic drama, there is a suspicion of the villain’s having supernatural powers, but his ability to appear and disappear is explainable as theater tricks and pranks of a deranged but focused mind. A piano plays by itself. He employs his “Punjab lasso” to ensnare and kill with lightening agility. The final resolution of the love triangle that constitutes the plot is both touching and tragic.

This musical leads – and has eclipsed – a long list of works of literature and drama that are definitely categorized as horror. The vast scope and depth of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation goes farther than any prior versions, including Lon Chaney Sr’s famous silent movie; the 1943 Technicolor motion picture with Claude Rains; the Hammer production from 1962; Dario Argento’s Italian movie; as well as a musical by Ken Hill who wrote English lyrics to the music of classical and opera composers. Some have suggested that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s score can be classed as rock music, and at least one aria, “Point of No Return” has a rhythm that fits the description. But not all goth is rock and not all rock is goth. Certainly the heavy, minor key melodies place the score of “Phantom” music into the category of gloom and melancholy.

Thus, despite the overwhelming mainstream success and acceptance of “Phantom of the Opera,” it seems appropriate to place it squarely in the pantheon of Goth Icons.

Disorder at the Red Party

On Saturday, May 12th , The Red Party presented the 10th Annual Joy Division party at Mercury Lounge! Called The Atrocity Exhibition, there was live music at Midnight, Back on stage was Disorder, “A Tribute to the Sounds of Joy Division.” This edition of the Red Party served as a pre-Wave Gotik- Treffen warm up party!
As usual the Red Party was hosted by the Red Queen, Mandana Banshie Templar. As always it featured Goth, Post-Punk and DeathRock with special attention given to the music of Joy Division and wasserved up by DJs for the evening, Sean Templar, Jarek Zelazny and special annual guest, Frank Deserto, aka teardrop (The Harrow).

Excitement occurred when a disorderly (no pun intended) patron began to mess with the stage equipment, specifically the stand and cables serving the keyboard. Vocalist Mike Strollo proved up to the task of neutralizing the would-be vandal with one hand while still manning the microphone with one hand. Stage manager Pete Mele quickly removed the stage crasher, and with the assistance of yours truly, had him escorted from the premises.

The show went on without interruption and concluded with enthusiastic approval by the audience.

Florence Bullock of Glitbiter

Plague Productions
and NewRetrowave presented the second, two-day Human Music festival on Saturday may 26 and Sunday May 27 (the night before Memorial day) at QXT’s Nightclub in Newark, featuring line-ups of top listed, international artists who are prominent in the Synthwave scene.

Synthwave is the relatively new and post-millenial genre of music that distinguishes itself by emphasizing electronic, mechanistic, and computer-based sound, drawing heavily from the aesthetics of the 1980s and the sonance of popular music during that era. Thus analog synthesizer instruments and samples from video games, synthpop recordings and sci-fi film soundtracks are reintroduced, but updated to the 21st century sensibilities. Thus, the term “retrofuturistic” is applied. The emphasis is on rhythmic, danceable cadence with a fabricated, computer basis, in which the human participation is cyborg-like, almost a mere option, in support of the over-arching electronic entity. Calling it “human” seems to me to be ironic use of the term.

The opening performer on the first night was Glitbiter, a one-woman project of gifted vocalist Florence Bullock from L.A. Those who arrived early were treated to original and mesmerizing beats, ethereal melodies and operatically-trained vocals as well as the appealing stage presence of a stunningly attractive young woman. This set the stage for one spectacular band after another.

Korine’s androgynous look brought a New Romantic flavor to the Synthwave style and the Encounter was admirable in their mastery of the electronic instrumentals. Brooklyn-based Aeon Rings, just back from conquest of Wave Gotik Treffen, brought ferocious energy and dance-burner intensity to their performance. Protector enhanced the theatrical aspect by wearing a flying saucer-like helmet with laser light adornment that went further in emphasizing the predominance of sci-fi and computer electronics over flesh-and-blood participation.

[caption id="attachment_2763" align="alignnone" width="520"] Protector


Over the course of the evening, Neoslave, Betamaxx and headliner Timecop1983 turned in mind-blowing and energizing performances of equally enjoyable sight, sound and rhythm.

Time constraints made it impossible to attend the second day of Human Music 2, but reports are that the nine-band line-up of groups from the US, France and Mexico met with equal success and were as well received as those of the first night.

NEW DARK AGE – MAY 2018

Filed under: Goth Stuff,live music,New Dark Age Monthly — doktorjohn May 23, 2018 @ 9:21 am

COVENANT AT QXT’S


Covenant at QXTs
April 13, 2018
Newark NJ

This world famous electronic group performed to a packed house at QXT’s, the local venue with an international following on Friday April 13 in support of their latest album, “The Blinding Dark,” their ninth studio album. Tracing their origins to a collaboration of three teenagers in a medium-size town in Sweden, Covenant consists of vocalist Eskill Simonsson, Daniel Jonasson and keyboardist Daniel Myer. The band stands foremost amidst the dance club genre termed EBM, characterized by heavy, relentless and irresistible cadence. What makes Covenant stand out is its cold, sci-fi and existential themes linked to compelling, danceable rhythms.

The opening bands deserve special mention. From Elizabeth NJ, the synthwave artist, Encounter was purely (electronic) instrumental and mesmerized the audience with dark melodies and intense rhythms. They were followed by Korine, a delightfully sad, synth pop duo from Philadelphia who will soon be embarking on a nationwide tour with Timecop1983 an Aeon Rings.

Covenant blasted on stage after an eerie sci-fi-tinged intro – an excerpt, “Death of Identity” from their new album. Taking the stage, they opened the live performance with “Like Tears in Rain” then hit “Bullet,” “Ritual Noise,” “We Stand Alone” and “Call the Ships to Port” (not in that order) to recall a representative sampling from their past hits. “Sound Mirrors”, “Morning Star” and many others from the new album were performed in what turned out to be over a two-hour set, that was understandably received with vociferous approval by the sellout crowd, although a few were heard to voice disappointment over the failure to include “Dead Stars.”

This was the exclusive New York-area appearance by Covenant on its national tour of the USA. The takeaway is that QXTs has become increasingly identified as the local club which hosts performers of international stature.

[Below is the page as it appears in the Mat 16, 2018 issue of the Aquarian]

Ministry
Wellmont Theater
Montclair NJ

Ministry is recognized as one of the most ferocious and foundational post-punk bands, initially founded as a dance-oriented, synthpop group in 1981, but in the late 80s and early 90s converted into an especially radical version of industrial. Album releases during that era went gold (selling 500,000 copies) and platinum (1,000,000 copies). Many of us developed our love of and taste for the genre with immersion in Ministry’s output. Like many groups in the industrial scene, Ministry has had a huge number of in-and-out musicians and production team members, has collaborated with a vast array of other bands and has participated in numerous festivals. Al Jourgenson remains the consistent vocalist and frontman.

Montclair NJ was the 21st stop on a twenty-six US city tour that began in CA and the Pacific Northwest before crossing the country to our area and then on down to the South. The main focus has been the 2018 release, the “Amerikkant” album., the theme of which is – like much of Ministry’s output – leftist and anarchist politics with a particular focus on the presidency of Donald Trump.

We missed the first opener, but caught the second performer, neofolk vocalist Chelsea Wolfe and her goth-metal band whose morose, mournful, symphonic music was well-received by the audience.

Headliners Ministry are noted for their visuals and graphics in addition to their creative and complex use of every imaginable audio, electronic, distortional, and sampling technique to enhance both their music and their message. A giant screen went up behind the band setup and displayed the band’s name, having appropriated the encircled “A” symbolizing anarchy, but doubling the letter within the circle to change it into an “M” to serve as the initial letter of their name.

The opening song , “Twilight Zone” featured sounds and visual images from the famous TV series, intermingled with distorted voice-over and crackly videos of our current president, cutting into melodious and bombastic industrial metal and Jourgenson’s raspy vocals. quite convincingly portraying Trump as both looney and malignant.

The pace picked up in the next piece, “Victims of a Clown,” with the participation of Fear Factory’s Burton C. Bell on stage. Both songs are from the new album. Next up, the frenetic “Punch in the Face” from their next to last album captured the band’s signature sound from the 90s and seemed to be an endorsement of personal violence and was followed by “Senor Peligro,” a pure speed metal piece reminiscent of “Jesus Built My Hotrod.” A boost to conspiracy theories was the mission of rapid-paced “Lies, Lies, Lies” which also hearkened back to previous Ministry’s classic industrial sound. It was followed by “Rio Grande Blood, “ the third of three consecutive tracks from the 2006 album of that name. In it, images of George W. Bush make him the target of Ministry’s contempt.

Then it was back to the current album, “Amerikkkant” for “We’re Tired of It,” “Wargasm” which compares war to sex, and “Antifa,” a paean to anarchism in opposition to authoritarianism. What do we want? Violence! When do we want it? Now,” was the repeated chant in this intentionally offensive track.

To the joy of everyone in the audience, what followed next was a medley of classics: “Just One Fix,” “NWO,” “Thieves” and “So What?”
After a short break they returned with an encore, “Bad Blood” from the soundtrack of movie “The Matrix”.

Despite all the noise and chaos, Ministry manages to captivate with actual melodious hooks, monumental arrangements and mesmerizing rhythms, especially live. It is impossible to report on all the indescribable sights, sounds and special effects, both audible and visible during this extraordinary show which is definitely in the long tradition of Ministry’s live and recorded music and videos, but enhanced to a new, even higher level through today’s technology.

Skeletal Family at the Red Party

Goth Icons

Filed under: Goth Stuff,My Art,Uncategorized — doktorjohn April 23, 2018 @ 1:30 pm

The 2017 Series “Goth Icons” – a rogue’s gallery of fine characters who are admired in the Goth scene.

CAN YOU NAME THEM ALL?


Edgar Allen Poe

NEW DARK AGE – APRIL 2018

Filed under: Art Reviews,Goth Stuff,Live Music,live music,New Dark Age Monthly,Recorded Music,Uncategorized — doktorjohn April 4, 2018 @ 10:54 pm

Annual Festival

Darkside of the Con 2

Billed as “North America’s 3-Day Dark Alternative Convention” and sponsored Jet Berelson’s online community and event-hosting network, Vampire Freaks, the second iteration of Darkside of the Con took place at – and took full control of – the Radisson Hotel in Piscataway, NJ, about midway between NYC and Philadelphia.

Many, if not most of the attendees at this three day, multi-event extravaganza took overnight rooms at the hotel, and wisely so, because there was an available swimming pool, late night activities, dance club events and unofficial parties late into the night. Impresario Jet was joined by famous deejays including Mike Saga, Aengl, V Christ , Annabell Evil, Swabby, End:The DJ, Sean Templar and Xris Smack in providing late night dance ambience.

The widely diverse agenda included six bands Friday the first night, nine bands Saturday the second night and six bands on Sunday morning. Such popular regulars of the scene as the Long Losts, The Rain Within, Ego Likeness, Disorder, Xentrifuge and Panzie were joined by others, equally popular, but too numerous to mention.

Panel discussions featured celebrity discussants as Sean Templar and Xris Smack among others. Topics discussed included every field of interest and inquiry pertinent to this community, including cosplay, gender issues, oddities, Wicca, vampirism, and “What the Hell is Goth?” Madame X hosted two meetings of the Iron Garden community discussing paranormal experiences and strange sightings. Bella Morte’s lead vocalist, Andy Deane succeeded in conducting group participation in extemporaneously writing a song that turned out with a sci-fi theme.

Fetish and handicraft workshops and ticketed, open-bar socializing parties were among the many activities in which attendees participated. A pool party took place on Saturday night. Vendors hawking corsets, masks, costume jewelry, accessories, toys and eccentric, crafted items contributed to the grotesque atmosphere.

Among the crazy entertainments there was a vampirish ballet in Victorian costumes called “The Burlesque Revue,” and a screening of “Little Shop of Horrors” simulcast alongside a live performance of the scripted action complete with life-size actors and hand puppets.

Xentrifuge on stage at Darkside of the Con 2

By far and away, the major attraction was the attendees themselves whose contribution was to provide the most gorgeous and extravagant outfits, costumes and make-up depicting every conceivable identity and persona that fit into the diverse agenda of the Gothic, punk and industrial world. Whether heavily armored in fishnets and leather or scantily exposed in bikinis and boots, the predominantly black-clad population of the dark underground community attained the heights of glamour, beauty and bizarre style. Photographers and mere onlookers stood in the corridors gaping in awe and admiration at the endless parade of beauty and outré fashion.

Darkside of the Con has achieved status as a convention on a scale similar and comparable to some of the major events that take place overseas. When I attend music and cultural gatherings in Europe, I am sometimes asked if there are like events in the States. It has been a long time coming, but now I can answer “yes.”

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Nights Out

Clan of Xymox
Brooklyn Bazaar and St. Vitus
Brooklyn NY
March 25 & 26, 2018

Metropolis Recording artists and Dutch dark wavers, Clan of Xymox performed at Brooklyn Bazaar on Sunday night, March 25 and again on Monday March 26 at St. Vitus, both Brooklyn venues. Tracing their origin to 1981, Xymox is famous for being early pioneers of the quintessential Goth sound. Their origin with iconic 4AD Records adds to their “cred.” presented by Mandana Banshee and Sean Templar’s Red Party they performed identical set list at both places.

We missed the first opening band but caught the dazzling keyboard-centered Decoded Feedback and the Skinny-Puppy-sound-alike Static Bloom, both of which bands would be well worth going to hear live just on their own.

Xymox started with the eerie, instrumental intro, “Days of Black,” then went into “Stranger” off their first, eponymous 1985 album. The eighteen song show included mainly entries representing depressing – seemingly intentionally depressing – tracks from their numerous recordings, e.g. the languid “Leave Me Be,” and the morose “Louise.”

They also performed the utterly secular “Hail Mary,” which is not to be confused with the well-known Catholic prayer, although both touch upon the issue of redemption. The relatively recent “In Love We Trust,” title track off a 2009 album of the same name, was the ninth and midway-through-the-set song. The decidedly industrial “A Day,” integrates a melodious minor key melody and plaintive vocal callings of Ronny Moorings with bursts of mechanized and rapid rhythm. It was followed by “Back Door” from the “Medusa” album just before the first break.

Encores included “Obsession” from Twist of Shadow the third full album and “Cry in the Wind” and “Farewell” from the post-millennial album of the same name. “Muscoviet Musquito” off the 1st, eponymous album 1985 opened the second set of encores. They concluded the final set of encores with the much-covered 60s mega-hit “Venus.”

Throughout the show there was an unconventional and fascinating use of handheld bright diode lights of various colors.

COX, founded by Ronny Moorings, Pieter Nooten and Anka Wolbert in the Netherlands in 1981, is now mainly Ronny Moorings. He is joined by Mojca, Mario, Sean & Daniel. Nooten and Wolbert are no longer associated with the band. Despite superficial similarities, COX is not to be mistaken for a cultural spin-off of the immensely more successful band, the Cure. While the Cure is known for dark, introspective music, they have stretched their repertoire to poppy, even jolly, major-key entries, experimenting with brass instrument accompaniment, Latin rhythms and more. The Clan sticks pretty much to the mission of providing reliably gloomy, minor-key and somber electronic works to please the fiercest adherents to Goth orthodoxy – whether rapid for dance or slow paced for a funeral. Ronny Moorings’s plaintive vocals express better than almost anyone else – the wounded feelings and existential complaints of Goths around the world.

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Stimulate

March 31, 2018


The premiere monthly music event Stimulate celebrated the birthday of its founder and chief promoter, Xris Smack to close out the month of March with a special edition featuring three live bands at Drom on Avenue A.

Panzie at Stimulate

The opening band was the Manson-esque group from NYC’s Lower East Side, Panzie, supporting their new album “The Joke’s on You,” and came complete with masks, make-up, balloons and a ferocious sound that contained elements reminiscent of Rage Against the machine as well as Rob Zombie. This certainly established a festive atmosphere for Xris’s birthday celebration.

The next two bands were from our home state of NJ. Metropolis Records hard rockers Panic Lift, supporting their recent releases, “The Poison Remains” and “From Blue to Black,” provided a welcome change to melodious, but heavy, guitar-based sounds with an industrial edge. Coming on late – very late – was the Cleopatra Records’ electro-industrial duo, Xentrifuge, whose harsh, mechanized and highly synthesized sound – drawn mainly from their new album, “Desensitized Parallels” – was a perfect apocalypse to put a top on Xris’s birthday event.

As is usual, there were gorgeous and exotic dancers joined by the even more gorgeous Ashley Bad whose green vinyl outfit riveted the gaze of onlookers and dance floor participants during between-the-acts sets provided by the stellar cast of deejays, including Father Jeff, Paradox, Joe Hart, Siren and the host, himself Xris Smack.

Beautifully under-dressed Nola Star shocked the audience with an act of self-inflicted piercing to provide Xris with some artfully-placed birthday candles to blow out.

DJ Paradox

Once again, Stimulate provided a night of over-the-top entertainment filled with great music and glamorous guests, both onstage and off.

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Lost in Echoes at

BerlinNYC @ The Pyramid
Manhattan
March 30, 2018

Lost In Echoes

Berlin is a “Goth, Industrial, Alternative NuWave (sic) Underground” music event held on select nights of the month at the popular Pyramid Club on Avenue A in the East Village. We attended on Friday March 30 both to investigate the dance club event and to see a performance by a new cover band, Lost In Echoes. To add incentive, Berlin was also hosting a quickly arranged art exhibit.

Painting by Victor Auton

Upon our early arrival in the famous downstairs basement space of the Pyramid – entry through the upstairs had cost us $8 each – we were greeted by host and deejay, Alex von Nihil, longtime veteran of the lower Manhattan scene. While he and his colleagues spun danceable tunes, we meandered about in the dim light, augmenting it with our phones’ flashlights, to inspect the remarkable paintings that had been -spontaneously and on short notice – churned out by Victor Auton in the preceding seven hours. Full of energy, frenzy and with highly suggestive imagery, they had both the feel of punk and that of a confident and accomplished artist.

When performance time came, the same Victor served as lead guitarist of Lost In Echoes. He was joined by vocalist Jorge Enriquez Obando, Diego on bass and Dyanne on drums.

What followed was a thoroughly entertaining set of new pieces and covers drawn from the tradition of goth and punk, starting with “Human Fly” by the Cramps. Obando imbued each lyric, each note with a mix of furor and punkish rage while still adhering to the most appealing qualities of the originals. “Alice” by Sisters of Mercy got exactly that treatment as did LIE’s original piece “Visions.”

A particular treat came when drummer Dyanne, a statuesque brunette, pulled a microphone close so she could take over lead vocals for a cover of Concrete Blond’s best song, “Bloodletting,” although I believe it caused her to break a drum pedal. This only enhanced the raw feel of the high energy show. A heated version of Bauhaus’s “Stigmata” and Peter Murphy’s “Final Solution” concluded the show.

Lost in Echoes at this point has a short-list repertoire but more than makes up for it in energy and dramatic delivery. In many ways, this cover band put on a show that was more entertaining than some highly polished and carefully rehearsed tribute bands. What Lost in Echoes showed above all else is the love and passion they have for the material and the tradition behind the music.

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Museums

David Bowie Is

Brooklyn Museum

March 2 – July 15, 2018

This exhibit has been on tour for 5 years and its last stop is here at the Brooklyn Museum. The exposition makes – and ultimately proves – the argument that David Bowie is the greatest rock star of all time. It also makes clear that throughout his career and certainly in the couple of years since he passed, David Bowie is a cultural icon whose persona serves as a symbol for our age.

Entry will cost you $25 on a weekend unless you’re a student with I.D. It’s a timed entry-situation, and we had to make it through 3 lengthy and long duration lines, the first to get tickets (50 minutes), the second to line up on the floor where the exhibit is housed (15 minutes) and the last one brief, to get into the spectacle itself. Bowie’s show is housed on the fifth floor, accessible by an elevator ride (after another line). I wouldn’t advise using the stairs because each floor is separated by two flights of steps, so your climb is 10 flights! No photos are allowed and cell phones must be in airplane mode.
And well worth all the trouble!

This is one of the most spectacular museum displays of all time, featuring almost countless items, artworks, costumes, video clips, giant-screen shows and historical artifacts and references. All the while the visitor is listening to narratives and to Bowie’s music via headphones that pick up the location-appropriate audio as one moves from station to station and room to room.

It isn’t possible to touch upon the myriad topics and presentations here. The unguided tour starts with his life history, from when he was born David Robert Jones in South London to his youthful interest in Beat poetry and Jazz. The situation in Britain at the time of his early artistic developments is outlined – from the economic disaster of post-World War II – to the socialist government that was supposed to remedy it – to young David’s exposure to Elvis, Chuck Berry and Little Richard. The Beatles and the British Invasion paved the way for him as he began to explore song and dance and musical instruments. He was also drawing and painting, something he would dabble with all his life. One wall displays numerous line drawings he did in collaboration with Laurie Anderson. A tarot card deck of his design is on view.

In the early days first Bowie knocked around with unsuccessful blues and jazz groups before exploding on to the scene with Space Oddity in 1969, released five days ahead of the Apollo 11 space launch. While a visitor is reading about this, the music is pouring in through his or her headphones. The character of Major Tom is introduced, said to be both heroic and vulnerable, not to say sexually ambiguous. He is to reappear in “Ashes to Ashes,” “Hallo Spaceboy” and in “Blackstar.” The mock astronaut suit Bowie wore for the video is there on display.

What this exhibition reveals is Bowie as a unique entertainer who saw himself as a “One Man Revolution,” determined to define a signature style that underlies all the superficial variations of appearance and persona. Along with this, he maintained an interest in Buddhism, in mime and in literature. His bookcase is displayed, filled with exemplary titles of books that defined our modern world: “1984,” “A Clockwork Orange,” James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time” and “The Hidden Persuades,” etc.

There’s much display and explanation of Bowie’s costumes, make-up and personae. The iconic facial lightning bolt appears on the “Aladdin Sane” album and on a mask, but was never – we learn – worn in performance. Its zigzag design also appears on a costume coat, modifying the stripes of the British flag.

The outlandish, sometimes androgynous, and bizarre costumes are shown to be central to his personal style. Among them one will see the giant plastic tux that Bowie wore on an historic 1979 Saturday Night Live appearance with bizarre Bavarian performance artist Klaus Nomi. At that viewing area one will be simultaneously watching a video of the actual SNL TV show. This occasion marked a turning point in both his career and that of Nomi. Bowie was now mainstream. And Nomi subsequently appropriated that tux for his own future stage appearances.

Posters, kabuki and extravagant fashion magazine covers that influenced the aesthetics of Ziggy Stardust are framed for viewing, and notably included images without regard to any particular gender. Bowie allowed there to be confusion of his identity with that of Ziggy. In 1973 he temporarily retired Ziggy but revived him in his final threnody, “Blackstar,” which was released on his 69th birthday, two days before his death. Bowie took in influences from around the world, and chose from broader, more exotic sources than most.

There’s a “Periodic Table” of Bowie showing the hundred-plus influences, musical and otherwise, laid out like the familiar Periodic Table of the Elements. The exhibition gives due credit is to artists and designers who helped Bowie realize his artistic expression with album covers, costumes and the like.

Astonished attendees stand and gape, fascinated by the many high-tech audio-visual experiences at the exhibition. One of these is a large, mirrored alcove that puts on a dazzling pastiche of video art with accompanying, matching music, fragmentary yet unified. There are many opportunities to just stand and watch movie and TV clips sampling Bowie’s musical and acting careers. And there’s more – much more – to the exhibit than this report.

Do we have to say it? Bowie’s influence spreads farther and deeper than just the entertainment world. His fabulous good looks allowed him to juxtapose weird costumes and makeup while remaining irresistibly attractive and at the same time promoting gender ambiguity, preposterous appearance and implicit iconoclasm. It’s hard to imagine the individualistic appearances of today’s world of style, fashion and gender identity without recognizing the spin put on our world by David Bowie.

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Morbid Anatomy Library

Green-Wood Cemetery
Brooklyn NY

Goths and other denizens of the dark cultural scene can rejoice at the resurrection of one of – if not THE most beloved institution in the greater NY/NJ area, the Morbid Anatomy Library. After an all too brief and glorious two year run in Brooklyn’s Park Slope from 2014 to 2016, the Morbid Anatomy Museum closed its doors amidst much grieving by its devoted members and enchanted visitors.

It’s important to remember that the Museum had its origins in a smaller, less ambitious establishment called the Morbid Anatomy Library, which was founded in 2008 in Proteus Gowanus, and before that in 2007 in the Morbid Anatomy blog of founder Joanna Ebenstein.

The mission of examining and celebrating the intersection of “art, medicine, death and culture” goes on – and never really ceased. It is now headquartered in the historic and fitting edifice that is the Fort Hamilton Gate House of Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

An open house at the new digs was held on Easter weekend March 31 and April 1. The dedicated core of Morbid Anatomy, namely artistic director Joanna Ebenstein and events coordinator and librarian Laetitia Barbier greeted guests and well-wishers on the second floor where recognizable artifacts from the original collection were on view and members of the press and other media were taking notes both days.

Downstairs on the first floor was an exhibit area, the centerpiece of which was the marvelous miniature diorama model of the fabled museum, lovingly and painstakingly built by Joel Schlemowitz. It shows both the iconic black exterior and the two main floors complete with breath-taking, detailed reproductions of furniture, architectural details and display articles. A video of the diorama can be viewed on Youtube under “Miniature Diorama of Morbid Anatomy Museum.”

The events-schedule of Morbid Anatomy continues. There is an ongoing Morbid Anatomy exhibition on artworks created with human hair at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia. One can learn about and plan to attend or visit upcoming local lectures, exhibits and activities of the Morbid Anatomy community by following their page on Facebook or going to the Morbid Anatomy blogspot.

Congratulations and best wishes from New Dark Age!

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Recordings

The January Sessions – 1998
The Empire Hideous
Hideous Productions

Gothic metal band The Empire Hideous was active mainly between 1988 and 1998, although there were a few spurts of activity and a couple of CDs released in the post-millennium decade. Just before and in anticipation of the official breakup of the band in early 1998, EH went into the studio with their best-ever lineup of musicians and recorded their then-current set list, in a series of sessions. Early this year, on the 20th anniversary, the recording of those January sessions has been released, consisting of fourteen tracks, some of which had appeared on earlier albums, some that had only been heard live, and some that would find their way onto CDs released after the band had gone into hibernation.

In a sense, this collection represents the band at its mature peak of artistic achievement. The Empire Hideous’s signature sound, combining howling, sorrowful guitar lines, ultra deep, bass guitar fulmination and compelling, urgent rhythms combines with mournful minor key melodies and Myke’s legendary voice. Fans of EH will feast their ears upon Myke’s unique vocal style, heavy with vibrato and echoic effects as he presents his poetic narratives that range from melancholy to demonic, delivered with an anguished intensity.

Four of these tracks were included in the sold out and no-longer-available CD, “Victim Destroys Assailant.” These include the funereal “God and I,” the rapidly paced “Talk Is Cheap,” the surprisingly folksy “Dead Season” and the hypnotic “Otherside.”

Live versions of “Kissing Your Poison” and “Parasite’s Bible,” with its recognizable harmonics riff, are resurrected from the first full length album, “Only Time Will Tell.” Covers in this collection include a driving, speeded up version of “All I Want” by the Cure and a version of “God of Thunder” that is more serious, less facetious than the original by KISS. “Girl at the End of My Gun” by Alien Sex Fiend gets the EH treatment in a frantically paced, faithful tribute to the original.

As this collection basically represents the concluding achievement and final culmination of the Empire Hideous, it was fitting that it should end with Paul Anka’s “My Way,” famously made into a mega-hit by Frank Sinatra and later the Sex Pistols. Here it starts ballad-like, highlighting Myke’s native and unaltered vocal qualities. About a third of the way through it accelerates and transforms into a goth rock anthem, serving as a perfectly apt conclusion to an album, a collection and a career.

This album is available only in mp3 version from various Hideous websites that can be found via the Internet, Facebook, Spotify, etc.

New Dark Age March 2018

Filed under: Goth Stuff,New Dark Age Monthly,Uncategorized — doktorjohn March 20, 2018 @ 6:26 pm




February 2018 New Dark Age

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,Live Music,New Dark Age Monthly,Recorded Music,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn February 21, 2018 @ 11:01 pm

First, the actual pages as they appear in the Aquarian, probably too small to read here, but text will appear below:

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Nights Out

Late January and early February offered nightclub goers plenty of events to attend. Those within striking distance of Brooklyn attended DJ Cyclonus‘s night, Arkham and saw a return of DJ Jose Francis. The setlists which covered everything from Ian Hunter to Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails to Covenant and Project Pitchfork while classic horror movies played on the main screen as well as the brick wall including “The Shining” and “Devil Takes Five.”

DJ, writer and historian Andi Harriman¹s Synthicide, a monthly Thursday EBM night at Bossa Nova Civic Club in Brooklyn, was held Feb 1, hosting ­ as is the mission of this project – a group of deejays that might not always have a platform to spin their magic, namely Squarewav, Rexx Arkana, Zvetschka along with the erudite promoter herself.

QXT’s So80’s

Jan 26, 2018

Newark NJ

Every 2nd and last Friday of the month QXT¹s, the metro-area¹s singularly dedicated alternative dance club holds an 80s night called “So80¹s” following their weekly Happy Hour Karaoke. DJs Ash and Damian Plague play every danceable genre of music from the 1980s in the upstairs, main floor. On this “So80’s” night the theme was nostalgia, with hours of such iconic remnants of that era as Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” and Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life.” Also heard were “Old” Ministry’s “Everyday is Halloween,” Gary Numan’s “Cars” and Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran.”

The moving image of Molly Ringwold in cinema classic ³Pretty in Pink² played silently on the big screen and was conducive to transporting the dancers on the utterly packed floor back to three decades ago, when the whole world of music seemed to have moved in a new direction. VJ TM5 curated the nostalgic visuals.

Meanwhile, down in Area 51, special guest DJ Stalagmike of Defcon at the famous Pyramid alternated with DJ Mykill Plague playing industrial powerhouse tracks such a Combichrist’s “This S— Will F— You Up” to a crowd of serious pavement pounders. Eerie electronic wall designs in unworldly hues outlined their animated silhouettes as fabulous beams of laser light cut wildly through the darkness of this post-apocalyptic vault. DJ Victrola in the Crypt – the other downstairs hall – played classic goth, darkwave and alternative tracks.

Iron Garden 3rd Anniversary

QXT’s ­ Iron Garden

Jan 26, 2018

Newark NJ

Iron Garden held a celebration of its third anniversary earlier in the evening, just prior to opening Area 51 to dancers. This is a NJ-based organization providing a social setting for discrete, mature denizens of the dark demimond calling themselves “Nightkind,” and their various allies in the pagan, vampire, witch, and other esoteric communities. The idea is to promote and provide conducive haven for those pursuing creative lifestyles which include metaphysics, philosophy, arts, poetry and scholarship of various sorts.

Iron Garden¹s founder – Primus and Matriarch ­ Madame X, of the House of Dreaming, is a major figure in all aspects of nightlife and related culture in the Greater NY/NJ dark scene, and she opened the meeting with a discussion aimed at orienting participants to the terminology of covens, houses and guilds that they may encounter in this subculture. This was followed by invocation and triumphant celebration of the anniversary led by host Jabbar Martin in his role as Trismegistus Aga Khan, a title signifying his literacy in sacred texts.

The walls were decorated with the artistically designed announcement flyers from the past three years’ Iron Garden events. Various consecrating ceremonies and the yearly renewals of citizenship in Iron Garden took place. Entertainment was provided by violin virtuoso Liz Gonzalez who treated those in attendance to masterful performance of pieces by Bach, Irish reels and original compositions.

Ward 6

January 27 saw another iteration of the long-standing, recurring, Fr. Jeff Ward dance party, Ward 6. As ever of late, it was held at the upscale bar/dance hall Windfall on east 39th St in NYC.

Besides Jeff’s and collaborator Patrick¹s providing the very best selection of New Wave, Dark Wave and Industrial tracks to which to dance, this night they hosted a solo performance of Caroline Blind of the band Sunshine Blind. Starting around midnight, she took the stage and performed her set of folksy acoustic Goth rock, relying on guitar strumming as the only accompaniment to her extraordinarily beautiful voice. Opening with a blues-inflected version of “Ain’t No Sunshine,” Caroline proceeded into a number of original songs from back when Sunshine Blind performed regularly as a group which included Caroline’s then-husband, now occasional collaborator, Charlie as well as members of Faith and the Muse. To wrap up the well-received set, Caroline concluded with the late Dolores Riordan’s tour de force, the Cranberries hit “Zombie,” that left the crowd satisfied.

The rest of the night was spent dancing to the likes of the Cure and Cold Cave, whose little-played “Confetti” was a welcome rarity. The party was just heating up with Apoptyma Berserk when we left a little after 1:30, with a who¹s who of NYC night scene celebrities still pouring in. Among the notables in attendance were (in no particular order) Sean Templar, his lovely wife Mandana Banshee at the booth, Erik Aengel, Sir William Welles, Matt V Christ, Joe Hart, Jane “Paradox” Smith, reliable clubber Jorge Obando, DJ Arsenal, Annabelle Evil and Photographer Dario Valdivia, accompanied by lovely veteran of the music scene, Roe Paolino. Coat check girl Hilda was looking as beautiful as we¹ve ever seen her.

Some strikingly beautiful “Goth girls” (“girl” is not a put down!) remain unfortunately nameless at the time of this report. Likewise there were some well-groomed and smooth dancing Goths of the male persuasion whom we never get to know by name. Bill, beret-and-pony-tail wearing, perpetual and omnipresent pencil artist Bill, sat drawing images of the participants of Ward 6 by the illumination provided by his small flashlight. Gerard and Julia saw to it that everyone¹s thirst was quenched, and Chris Sabo saw to the details of running things and house hospitality.


Necropolis Feb 3

Jeff Ward¹s other long-standing dark dance event was packed almost to Windfall¹s capacity on Saturday night Feb 3. The same staff and many of the same attendees as Ward 6 from the preceding Saturday, one week earlier. First-up DJ Sean Templar, had earlier that evening attended the Town Hall appearance of Norwegian group Wardruna whose music would seem to resurrect the medieval, runic sounds of ancient Scandinavia with ribcage-rattling, vibrating percussion and ominous, vocal duets.

Never one to get stuck with musical cliches, Sean enriched the setlist with “Helvegen” by Wardruna and with an early play of “Hate Us and See If We Mind,” a seriously powerful piece by brilliant experimental neofolk group, Rome. Both Wardruna and Rome have met with spectacular success at Castle Party in Poland, I can attest first-hand.

Host DJ Jeff and regular DJ Erik Angel made their contributions to keep the dance floor activated with the likes of Wolfsheim, Chameleons UK, Sisters of Mercy and the Psychedelic Furs.

High-powered intellectuals huddled at the bar were overheard discussing the philosophical controversies of Nietzsche and Hegel as the music played on.

The Red Party Feb 10

A special edition of the monthly Red Party took place Feb 10 at NYC’s Mercury Lounge to celebrate the weekend closest to St. Valentine’s Day, called the 10th Annual “Love Will Tear Us Apart” St. Valentine’s Ball. Featured were a night of tragic love songs mainly in the dance category.
DJs Annabelle Evil and Sean shared the booth with an assist by Matt V Christ. DJ Jarek was scheduled but hadn’t appeared by the time we left at around 2 a.m. Hospitality hostess Mandana Banshee circulated and took photos of the attendees, among whom were such celebrities as gorgeously decked out Kai Irina Hahn of The Sedona Effect and Ana Vice of Memento Mori. Xris Smack and the stunning-in-pink Ashley Bad made a late appearance.
Remorseful, romantic tunes such as “I Was Wrong” by the Sisters of Mercy played and the exceptionally dark dance floor was illuminated by a large, rotating, reflective disco ball that showered dim purple spots around the room creating an atmosphere of festive gloom.

Recordings

“Akkretion”

Trisol Music

Project Pitchfork

The just-released new album by Project Pitchfork bodes well for the Goth/Industrial music scene in that this iconic band, no entering its 28th year and with sixteen prior albums under their belt has the creativity and ingenuity to produce yet another major work. Frontman and creator Peter Spilles has apparently taken inspiration from modern scientific concepts and applied that inspiration to the dark, rhythmic style of synthpop for which his group is famous.

“Akkretion” is presented as a 2-CD set with 15 tracks. The last four,- the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th – are remixes of four tracks earlier in the album. The eleventh is listed as a bonus track.

Science and science fiction as well as morbid philosophy play a role in setting the themes of this opus. The term “akkretion” in German ­ or “accretion” in English ­ is used to describe “the coming together and cohesion of matter under the influence of gravitation to form larger bodies,” i.e. the process of forming stars and planets.

Other tracks with suggestive titles include ³Gravity Waves² (just discovered in 2017), “The Collision,” “And the Sun Was Blue.”

The musical features are of course similar to what fans of Project Pitchfork have come to love and expect, namely well-defined, mesmerizing cadences, minor-key melodies and occasional, spacey, ethereal elements. On most tracks there is an intriguing introduction, followed by slowly accumulating beats until complex rhythms are formed, then Spilles’ hoarse, growling vocals, sometimes broached by spoken word narratives. The second track, “Good Night Death,” offers a peaceful, resolute acceptance of mortality.

“Akkretion” is a must-have set for fans of Germanic darkwave and represents the continuing growth and accomplishment of this exemplary representative of the genre.

Goth/Rock Art, Fashion & Culture

The Salons- “Dressing the Underground: Fashion for Subculture”

The Beauty Bar, NYC

January 25, 2018

Goth scene luminary and subculture historian Andi Harriman participated in a panel discussion hosted by Lady Aye of The Salons at Beauty Bar just off Union Square, “a series of learning and networking events dedicated to the history of beauty and fashion,” aimed largely at beauty-industry professionals. The topic of this night’s discussion was “Dressing for Subculture.”

Other panelists included Sonya Abrego, visiting assistant professor at The New School for design, who, in classic 40s pin-up style hairdo shed light upon hybrid rockabilly and mid-century fashion culture. Fashion designer and NYC nightlife legend Tobell von Cartier spoke about the evolving club scene styles that came and went, from grunge to the ascent of increasingly glamorous evening wear and over-the-top cosmetic application.

New Dark Age’s attention was focused on Ms. Harriman¹s presentation. Asked to define Goth culture, she offered the insightful “Three Ds,” namely Drama, Darkness and Death as foundational. She went on to point out the origin of Goth style in the era of British rockers and the punk scene. When questioned about the “cannibalization” of Goth style by mainstream entities such as Hot Topic, she further emphasized commitment to the dark music of 80s New Wave and paying homage to the creators of the scene to distinguish authenticity from poseur appropriation.

In tracing her roots, Ms. Harriman pointed out that she had emerged from a rather stultified, Southern background, but had become enraptured by the music of Depeche Mode and the discovery of the look of Goth on music videos. Her personal bio proved to be the most interesting topic covered that event.

There was much talk about the value of do-it-yourself attire in establishing the individual style in order to counteract the sameness imposed by mass production of clothes and accessories as available in mall outlets. The panel¹s overriding conclusion gleaned was that the underground fashion evolves by building upon rather than abandonment of preceding style.

Milestones-

January 25, 2018 marked the 40th anniversary of Joy Division’s debut performance under that name. Prior to that date, the quartet of Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris had performed under the name Warsaw. JD formed in 1976 by Sumner and Morris in a clumsy effort at emulating the Sex Pistols. Instead of continuing in the punk style of the Sex Pistols, with the drafting of vocalist Ian Curtis and bass player Peter Hook, the group launched the post-punk musical movement with its unconventional, slowed-down rhythms, amateurish command of the instruments and home-made synthesizers.

Joy Division is credited by many authorities on the subject as having been one of the two essential, post-punk bands to have spawned the genre of Goth Rock, the other being Bauhaus. Curtis – influenced by Jim Morrison of the Doors – gave voice to themes of darkness, pressure and crisis. Characterized by sparse, baritonal vocals, gloomy lyrics and a melodious bass line, Joy Division, is distinguished from the punk style by their use of electronics and by their emphasis on mood and expression rather than anger and energy.

Critically acclaimed – potentially the next Beatles – Joy Division was to tour the U.S. in 1980 when Curtis committed suicide on the eve departure.

The poignant sadness surrounding the brief life and untimely death of the band and its frontman mysteriously crystallized at that moment into a new musical genre and a new subculture built around darkness, introspection and death – that comes to us now, four decades later – and that we presently recognize as Goth.

Obituaries


Mark E. Smith
, singer and the only consistent member of Manchester based post-punk band The Fall, has died Jan 24, 2018 at the age of 60. One of the earliest and most influential British post-punk bands, noted for retaining the repetitive, guitar-driven feel of original, confrontational punk while expanding the musical and lyrical armamentarium with challenging topics and literate lyrics as well as creative musical originality.

The Fall released thirty-two studio albums, most recently, “The Fall Live in Manchester,” in January 2018 on Cherry Red. Sadly, they were set to tour the US for the first time in twelve years.

Jeremy Inkel, keyboardist and programmer of Front Line Assembly passed away on January 13th 2018 at the age of 34 due to complications from asthma. Inkel joined FLA in 2005 along with Jared Slingerland, and is credited with co-writing and producing the full length album Artificial Soldier.

July 2017 New Dark Age

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,live music,New Dark Age Monthly,Uncategorized — doktorjohn July 21, 2017 @ 9:41 pm

Cybertron

Blackthorn 51
Elmhurst, Queens NYC
June 24, 2017

Vampire Freaks, the large entertainment and specialty clothing organization regularly sponsors music events with a dark, futuristic theme, labeling such events Cybertron, connected—as it portrays itself—to the concept of the sci-fi oriented Transformers theme. Release of the motion picture “Transformers—The Last Knight,” served as an inspiration for the latest Cybertron, a night of dance music and live performances by three techno-industrial bands.

Doors opened at 9 p.m. at Blackthorn 51, a bar and performance venue that usually features heavy metal, situated deep in the heart of the borough of Queens. Our crew from New Dark Age was the first to enter, and we took note of the selections being aired by the assigned deejay—mainly electronic, goth and industrial, featuring Aesthetic Perfection, NIN, Manson and IAMX.

As the guests showed up, they presented an array of dark, sexy and elaborately attired fashionistas, predominantly black-clad, sporting leather, vinyl, metal spikes, two-toned stripes and high makeup. This was particularly true of the several dancers who had been engaged to entertain between band acts. Much focus was directed at one tall, statuesque beauty in a red wig who beguiled the crowd from her lofty place on stage. The room stood in awe when the gorgeous Ashley Bad made her grand entrance accompanied by famous impresario, DJ Xris Smack, who was eager to promote upcoming Stimulate events.

Several other celebrity deejays were present to spin dance tracks including Vampire Freaks’ own Jet VF himself, Matt V Christ, Annabelle Evil, and Shadownightz.

Deathmaschine

First up at 10 p.m. was the nasty, punk/industrial trio, DeathMaschine, that put on a powerful performance, with a ruggedly handsome vocalist, hovering over the crowd, naked from the waist up but for wrap-around shades and a leather, suspenders-like harness. He was accompanied by digital rhythm tracks, keyboards and by guitarists, one of whom served to also shower the stage with sparks off a metal grinder. The pounding beats and menacing, defiantly screamed lyrics were not for the faint-of-heart.

Xentrifuge

Next up at 11 p.m. came NJ-based, but internationally acclaimed harsh industrial duo, Xentrifuge, a rivethead-styled couple whose high-tech appearance is in accord with their robust aggro-tech sound. We were familiar with them because they had been selected as Fan Favorite at the recent Darkside of the Con this past spring. Severe and intensely colored lighting glared through an intermittently thick cloud to reveal the stunningly attractive pair. Black leather-clad and sporting shaved sides, Chris Xentrifuge took center stage to issue hissing, nihilistic vocals backed by his gorgeous better half Lisa Helen, who stood behind playing a keyboard and regulating the complex synthetic accompaniment consisting of catchy, mantra-like, repetitive melodies woven into hypnotic, mechanistic rhythms. Their set consisted of seven songs with titles like “Cerebral Ruins” and “Machine Winter,” which go a long way toward characterizing the motif of their style. They are perfectly suited for their next gig which will be to open for Stabbing Westward at the Gramercy this August.

Velvet Acid Christ

Finally, at midnight, headliners, Colorado-based techno-industrial trio, Velvet Acid Christ, came on stage. They performed for at least an hour and a half, touching on most of their popular repertoire of EBM, darkwave and techno while projecting videos on a backdrop screen showing everything from kaleidoscopic, geometric animations to cartoon images with sociopolitical messages. They dedicated one song to Fox News, although it was difficult to parse the lyrics. One can assume it was critical of the Right that Fox represents, since this is the take on politics that has become almost a cliché in the alternative music scene these days. The beautiful female vocalist who remains nameless on the website and VAC’s Facebook page, sang a song in German about “being a loser.”

Although one could detect a certain sameness to much of their signature sound, VAC’s total repertoire is quite large, standing at 10 or so albums under the Metropolis label, and includes a fair enough variety with captivating melodies and cadences to make for a great body of work suited for goth/industrial dance.

Rammstein

Northwell Health At Jones Beach Theater
Wantagh, NY
June 25, 2017

It is indeed a challenge and all-day commitment to trek out to Jones Beach given the unavoidable disaster that is traffic encountered when crossing from NJ to the outer reaches of Queens, NY. The stature of this industrial metal giant, however, compelled us to make the pilgrimage, knowing the band’s reputation for spectacular visuals to accompany their thrilling and spectacular musical performance.

The show commenced when giant numbers were projected onto a dark screen that shrouded the stage. The audience participated in a countdown beginning from “8” and ending with “1” and the Rammstein logo. With that, the recognizable, syncopated beat of “Ramm 4” burst from the suddenly illuminated stage, and at the same moment there was the explosion of multiple Roman candles into the sky over the heads of even those in the loftiest stadium seats at this open-air theater.

Next came the slow paced, guitar-driven “Reise Reise,” “Halleluja” in which the band accompanies with a falsetto chorus, then the rapidly paced “Zerstören (Destroy).” “Keine Lust (No Desire),” another heavily syncopated song, followed. Next was “Feuer Frei,” a galloping piece with lyrics that play on the two meanings of the word “Feuer” (fire) to denote both the heat of fire—of which there was plenty on and around the stage—and the verb “fire” meaning to shoot a gun. Eight more songs followed, including the hugely popular “Du Riechst So Gut (You Smell So Good),” “Links 2-3-4,” “Du Hast” and the uniquely stylized cover of the Depeche Mode classic, “Stripped.”

It was impossible to keep track of the many and mind-blowing visuals which included flames and smoke belching from the stage ceiling and floor, explosions issuing from two tall towers that straddled the ground level audience seating, clouds of sparkles and confetti, instrumentalists lifted aloft by stage devices, guitars and personnel that distributed smoke, flames and mighty explosions, and rockets that flew across the crowd to ignite blazes on the two aforementioned towers.

A brief intermission was held after “Stripped,” and then they returned with “Sonne (The Sun),” then the rather tedious, yet well recognized “Amerika,” and the harsh and cynical “Engel (Angel).” For the second time, the band members took their bows and the sad strains of “Ohne Dich (Without You)” closed the show.

Seated up high in the outer and upper tier of this gargantuan, 15,000-seat theater gave us a great vantage point from which to view the overall spectacle, but deprived us of being able to appreciate the fine details of the various costumes and theatrical personae of the performers on the distant stage. Two large “Jumbotron”-type screens that should have shown video projections of the stage performers sat dark and unused. This failure to accommodate the ten or so thousand spectators in faraway seats of this gargantuan theater was, in my opinion, inexcusable. At all recent outdoor concerts I have attended recently, excellent use of the jumbo screens allowed the entire audience to enjoy the visual details of the stage performance, which was in Rammstein’s case extremely essential to appreciation of the special effects and costumes.

One more pet peeve: Why, in a vast audience of attentive and devoted fans—who have paid good money and suffered through the inconveniences of travel—do a handful of inconsiderate and hyperactive morons find it necessary to remain standing throughout the performance, essentially ruining the experience for those seated directly in back of them?!

The Red Party

Mercury Lounge
Manhattan, NY
July 8, 2017

Saturday, July 8, saw a spectacular recurrence of the iconic dance, social and entertainment event Sean templar’s Red Party. Once again it was held at the Mercury Lounge on East Houston St., itself a kind of monument to the punk music scene in the greater NY/NJ region.

Speaking of punk, the live performance this night was provided by Argyle Goolsby and the Roving Midnight, an energetic and energizing punk group just back from an overwhelmingly successful stint at the worldwide Wave Gotik Treffen festival in Leipzig, Germany. Coming on shortly after midnight, Argyle Goolsby proved their credentials not only in the old school punk category, but suffused the music with an element of horror. Front man Steve Matthews, in white contacts that emphasized the deep, dark circles surrounding his ghastly eyes and sporting a variety of shocking masks, cavorted on stage with a variety of props and an amazing facility for levitating himself to upstage heights.

Argyle Goolsby

Besides terrifying the delighted crowd with such pogo-punk pieces as “The Brides,” “Spiders and Flies” and “The Uninvited,” this guitar-driven sextet showed themselves capable of changing the pace and performing a pleasant, but dark-themed ballad or two.

Queen bee of the social scene, Mandana Banshie, greeted guests as they arrived. At the merch stand was Rusted Autumn hawking one-of-a-kind jewelry and, of course, Argyle Goolsby’s latest CD, shirts, posters and the like. Host and impresario Sean Templar was present in force, spreading hospitality and warm welcome to old friends and newcomers alike. Ana Vice, famous for her role bringing the notorious Memento Mori night to the city for the past year and a half, was first up at the deejay board, providing a mix of irresistible death rock, goth rock and esoteric post-punk that kept the dance floor active. Sean and Jarek later took turns at the turntable.

Eye-candy was provided by a crowd of extravagantly gorgeous creatures of the night as documented in the nearby photos, and included such models of festive gloomy style as DJ Alex (Bela Lugosi) Zamora, Valefar Malefic and Luna Pallida. Special guest Myke Hideous, famous for his ’90s goth-metal project The Empire Hideous, was present accompanied by his beautiful fiancée, Kyly, and both enjoyed renewing acquaintances whom they rarely get to see, having relocated outside the metropolitan area.

Mummies
The Museum Of Natural History

The most fascinating exhibition at New York’s Museum of Natural History is on mummies. Although mummification has been practiced in many and diverse parts of the world, and although mummification sometimes takes place naturally because of climate conditions, the focus here is on the highly developed methods of mummification involved in burial rites by two distinct civilizations: the Egyptian and the Peruvian.

It goes without saying that man has struggled mightily and pretty much in vain in his effort to deny the finality of death. In the case of these two cultures, whole technologies developed to create the illusion that the human form could be pretty much preserved and supplied with provisions after death. The Egypt and Peruvian practices of mummification were somewhat different, but both date back many thousands of years. Peruvian mummies dating back 7,000 years have been discovered, and the Egyptian practice began over 5,000 years ago.

Using today’s technology, particularly CAT scanning, scientists have been able to uncover much of the condition of the deceased, without disturbing the fragile and delicate condition of the bodies within adhesive, resin-caked linen wrappings. In many cases, the state of health, diet, lifestyle and family social structure has been pieced together by visually stripping away layer by layer with CAT scans, from the artistically painted wooden coffins, down through the layers of wrapping, then the skin, the bones and the remaining internal organs.

We learned that the brain and visceral organs were removed as part of the mummification process; the latter being preserved in sculpted ceramic jars. The brain was discarded as insignificant in the afterlife. Arthritis, tuberculosis, childbirth and childhood mortality were common. Bone and dental health were often poor. The teeth of Egyptians appeared to have been worn away by the sandy grit left over from grindstones that were used to mill flour into their bread.

Despite these sobering observations, what most stands out is their knowledge of anatomy, their refined dissection and chemical preservation methods, their masterful artistry in the handling and decoration of the bodies and coffins as well as the magnificent stone sarcophaguses in which the coffins were encased.

The Chinchorro of Peru and Chile started mummification thousands of years before the Egyptians. They painted their mummies and encased the head in clay, fashioning clay masks representing the dead person in an acceptable appearance. Few of these fragile masks are intact, but reproductions are on display at the museum. Some people kept mummies of deceased family members in their homes and brought them to festivals.

The Cult Of Victorian Mourning

Green-Wood Cemetery
Brooklyn, NY
June 10, 2017

The much acclaimed and sorely missed, now-defunct Morbid Anatomy Museum, lives on in spirit if not in its real life, brick-and-mortar existence. Leading figures from the former museum, including curator-author Joanna Ebenstein, antiquarian scholar and museum co-founder Evan Michelson, art historian and former museum librarian Laetitia Barbier and lecturer-teachers Stanley Burns M.D. and Karen Bachmann joined with others of like interests to present a program on the topic of rituals surrounding mourning in the Victorian era under the auspices of Green-Wood Cemetery’s events program. The program echoed the very first exhibition, “The Art of Mourning,” held in 2014 at the opening of at the Morbid Anatomy Museum.

Dating back to 1838 and designated a National Historic Landmark, Green-Wood is a treasure trove of magnificent monuments, mausoleums, markers and graves of the famous in a rural setting of surpassing beauty of landscape and architecture. It welcomes visitors and offers self-guided walking tours.

Laetitia Barbier giving opening remarks


The Chapel at Green-Wood

The symposium was held in the Chapel, a magnificent example of flamboyant Gothic style. Opening remarks were by art historian and author Laetitia Barbier, Harry Weil, Manager of Programs at Green-Wood and creative director of the museum, Joanna Ebenstein who welcomed the sold-out audience and set the tone for what was to follow. Evan Michelson and Karen Bachman, Professor in Jewelry Design at Fashion Institute, exhibited and spoke on the peculiar practice of weaving commemorative jewelry from samples of hair of the deceased.

Jessica Glassock of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art presented the historic and highly specific attire worn during a widow’s period of mourning in the era from 1815-1915 in a slide show.

There was a casual interview with author and archivist Stanley Burns M.D., who talked about his lifetime of collecting historic photographs, including post-mortem photos and other topics from his 46 books and 1,100 articles written on related medical, military and cultural topics.

The most moving part was the aloud reading of letters of condolence from the Victorian era, and included poignant and eloquent examples from Abe Lincoln, Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens and others.

Readers with interests in gothic and morbid preoccupations are advised to visit Green-Wood Cemetery and to follow the Morbid Anatomy blogspot for future events.

June 2017 New Dark Age

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,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.

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