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Covering the 90s at Dingbatz

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

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

Nine Inch Nails cover band SIN

SIN

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

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

Rage Against the Machine cover band Battle of Los Angeles

Battle of Las Angeles

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

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

Tool cover band Schism

SCHISM

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

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

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

Ian Maksin at Le Poisson Rouge

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

Page from The Aquarian

Ian Maksin
Le Poisson Rouge

Jan. 4 2016

By Doktor John

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 2017 New Dark Age

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

The Godfather of Goth

Peter Murphy at City Winery NY
Dec. 11, 2016

Peter Murphy Sings Bela Lugosi’s Dead


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Titans of Tribute XXVII

The Nimrods cover Green Day

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

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

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

Nicole Scorsone with The Nimrods

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

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

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

Lounge Act covering Nirvana


Who needs time travel? These guys made it happen!

World Goth

The Berlin Dungeon

Facade of The Berlin Dingeon

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

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

Poster Ads for the Berlin Dungeon


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

Forever Young

Dubious characters host the Red Party

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


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

December 2016 New Dark Age

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

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Ghost

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

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

Photo by Dan Ambrose

Photo by Dan Ambrose


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

The Red Party

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

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

Kai Irina Hahn of The Sedona Effect

Kai Irina Hahn of The Sedona Effect

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

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

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

red-party-101

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

Disorder
A Tribute to the Sounds of Joy Division

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

Photo by E. Palazzo

Photo by E. Palazzo


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Black Lodge at Arkham

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

Photo by Eric Thorpe-Moscon

Photo by Eric Thorpe-Moscon


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

Ward 6

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

Necropolis

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

Record Reviews

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

Trees of Eternity
Hour of the Nightingale

Svart Records
trees-of-eternity

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

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

She Past Away

Volume I – II
On Bandcamp

she-past-away

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

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

Untitled Art

The End
Line2 Records

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

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

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

September 2016 New Dark Age

Filed under: Art Reviews,Live Music,live music,New Dark Age Monthly,Uncategorized — doktorjohn September 20, 2016 @ 7:55 pm

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New Dark Age August – September 2016

Filed under: Art Reviews,Goth Stuff,Live Music,live music,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn September 7, 2016 @ 12:48 am

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Nights Out

The Memory Pain at The Famished Frog

Aug 5, 2016
Morristown NJMemory Pain

We had the good fortune on this Friday night to catch a performance of top-notch cover band The Memory Pain while dining at Morristown’s The Famished Frog. This venue hosts a large, noisy and distracted crowd whose patrons are mostly 20-something imbibers who are there on dates or looking to pick-up or be picked up while ambling around the big rectangular bar in front of which The Memory Pain performed. A nice, recessed space provided adequate room for this 4-piece group to spread out comfortably. That’s important, because frontman Fred Zoeller performs in a remarkably active, excited and physically mobile fashion.

When TMP performs their flawless, live covers of hits from the past 20 or so years, it isn’t just a walk down memory lane, but rather a dynamic, faithful reprise of great music from the past that we all share. The repertoire is drawn largely, but not exclusively from standards from the heyday of MTV in the 90s when most of us acquired and refined our taste in rock. “Talented,” “tight” and “professional” are the words that come to mind in summing up the performance by this well-rehearsed quartet. Veterans Fred Zoeller (lead vocals/guitar) and Dan Esser (bass guitar) are joined by alternate lead vocalist Dan Callas on guitar and multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist Adam Gruss on drums to create a rich, authentic and room-filling sound. This is essential to re-creating faithful reincarnations of well-known and beloved favorites of the audience’s shared musical history.

Despite the fact that dating and dining are their primary reasons for being present, some of the audience felt so compelled by the good music issuing forth from the band that they broke into dance although there was little spaced allocated for it. If hearing masterful, accurate covers of famous hits by Counting Crows or Third Eye Blind have that same effect on you, I suggest you follow The Memory Pain at various venues where they perform and where you can come as close as possible to being at live performances by the originals.

Lost Boys Beach Party at QXT’s

QXT'sCappello

Newark nightclub QXT’s held a theme night called “Lost Boys Beach Party.” The club was absolutely packed, both the upstairs main hall where DJ Ron Medina spun his usual masterful mix of 80s and Dark Wave; and the two lower spaces, where DJs Wintermute and Mykill Plague assaulted rivet-heads and their ilk in Area 51 with EBM and industrial; as well as The Crypt where DJ Helixx aired danceable, but horror-themed Goth and darkwave. Vendors were present offering horror and vampire themed merchandise as well as accessories of club attire. There were periodically announced giveaways.

A special treat was a live performance by singer/saxaphonist Tim Cappello, known and revered for his musical performance in the now-classic vampire movie “The Lost Boys.” Appearing youthful and muscular at 61 years of age, wearing little more than an elaborate set of chrome chains, a ponytail and a black wife-beater, Cappello absolutely enthralled the audience with his energetic show. The crowd pressed up to the stage to get the most out of his performance. Excitement was heightened further when Cappello jumped off-stage, singing and wailing from his sax right into the midst of the crowd who responded with enthusiasm and a flurry of camera-phone flashes. Despite the love showered upon him, Cappello limited his performance to the single “I Still Believe,” modestly admitting it to be his one and only hit. But what a hit!

Necropolis at Windfall
5th Anniversary

Necropolis 5th Anniversary

On Sept. 3, veteran DJ and club organizer Fr. Jeff Ward celebrated the 5th anniversary of his over-the-top, successful monthly dance club night, Necropolis, at midtown Manhattans’ Windfall. Jeff managed to rescue from oblivion a dance night called Necromantik that he had co-hosted at the Knitting Factory some 9 years ago. The Knitting Factory has long since moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn. He recruited 3 top deejays, Patrick Cusack, Sean Templar and Erik Aengel who now serve as consistent resident DJs to the renamed, monthly Necropolis along with various guest spinners. Moving from the Knitting Factory to The Bowery Poetry Club, then later to Element (previously The Bank) Jeff finally settled on Windfall.

For this anniversary celebration, the guest was noted musicologist and published author Andi Harriman, as pleasing to the eyes as to the ears. Together, they created a festive and gala observance of the milestone event with a rhapsodic mix of classic post-punk and oft-forgotten gothic/industrial treasures, such that the floor was crowded with fervid and energetic dancers like rarely seen elsewhere.

Windfall is an elegant bar and dance hall smack in the middle of Manhattan’s midtown. Once the site of the Architects’ Guild, it boasts modern interior design in the Frank Lloyd Wright or Mission-style, with stately wood floor and paneling, to which a curved and lengthy polished-top bar has been added. It is the location where black-attired and finely groomed Goths and denizens of the NYC after-hours music crowd gather on the first Saturday of every month to attend Necropolis.

Doors open at 11:00 pm. Imbibers line up and socialize at the exquisitely designed and well-stocked bar, where knowledgeable and attentive mixologist Gerard serves up the concoctions of their choice. Attentive, pony-tailed manager Chris roams the space, ever watchful to assure everyone enjoys a perfectly comfortable time. The main reason for attending this particular night is the uncommonly astute musical selection served up by Father Jeff (Ward 6) and his cohort of similarly skilled DJs, to provide a the atmosphere for a night of New Wave and Goth-Industrial dance. Eminently danceable musical rarities are blended in with beloved favorites from the Depeche Mode/Sisters of Mercy/ Siouxsie repertory.

Celebrities of Gotham’s underground scene are noted to come and mingle, sometimes spreading word and flyers of upcoming social and musical events. Merging with the crowd of gorgeous and transgressively garbed patrons this night were DJs Arsenal and Ron Medina, Sir William Welles and Matt V Christ. Among the glitterati, Shirley Alvarez and Kai Irina Hahn of The Sedona Effect add glamour to a ravishing and splendid crowd of attendees.

Memento Mori 1st Anniversary

memento mori 1st anniversary

This monthly, Thursday night Deathrock-themed dance party celebrated its 1st Anniversary on August 25, drawing its largest crowd ever, culminating a success story beyond expectations, at the customary location, the appropriately decorated Bedlam in Alphabet City, NYC. Doors opened at 10 pm, and the turnout grew exponentially as the denizens of the Greater New York demimonde began showing up to enjoy the music and extend their congratulations to the principals involved. Returning briefly from the U.K. for the celebration was Ana Vice, long-time mainstay in the scene and mentor to the enterprising group consisting of two novice DJs, Valefar Malefic and Bela Lugosi Alex, and the established, seasoned DJ Mike Stalagmike, host of Defcon. Together they managed to pull off the difficult accomplishment of drawing a steady and satisfied crowd to a late-night, weekday night event.

Greeting guests at the door was the glamorous and beautiful Catgirl Morales who heaped praise on the organizers and was happy to disclose the details of the past year to interested attendees. A who’s who of famous celebrities of the Goth scene included Aurelio Voltaire, just back from an international tour; gorgeous and multi-talented Kai Irina Hahn; impresario William Welles; and DJs Mark Cage Knight and Joe Hart of Procession, which is yet another successful and on-going weekday night dark dance party. Goody bags with candy and Memento Mori buttons were among the giveaways.

The scene was appropriately lit with only scattered tea-light candles and draped with hanging shroud tatters. A pitch-black musical selection of classics and obscurities entertained a roomful of die-hard guests until 4 a.m.

Bodylab
at La Poisson Rouge

Bodylab

Extensive Facebook promotion of this new, free and thematic dance party paid off for the organizers , DJs Eisdriver and Arsenal who succeeded in drawing an staunch crowd of between 25 and 30 committed, rivet-headed industrial music enthusiasts on a Thursday night to the downstairs at La Poisson Rouge lounge. Starting around 10:00 pm, attendees were assaulted (in the favorable sense in which they understand it) with a blend of the hammering sounds of old-school industrial and mechanized Germanic EBM (electro-body music).
The classics of the 80s and 90s from Skinny Puppy, Front 242 and Ministry are now-largely neglected, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear these and more woven into a selection of Nordic/Germanic and highly danceable Neo Old School EBM.

The black-clad, booted crowd consisted of recognizable adherents of the genre by their attire, their bearing and their mastery of the dance style, which is characterized by muscular, decisive and resolute stepping to the insistent beat of this mode of music. Celebrities of the scene were in attendance, including the statuesque and talented beauty, Kai Irina Hahn (front vocalist of The Sedona Effect), renowned DJ Father Jeff Ward and noted Diesel-punk artist CharleSilas Garlette. The hosts and their spouses greeted and mingled with the special and somewhat exclusive in-crowd of devotees. Raffle drawings and giveaways of CDs and tickets livened the evening. The crowd seemed to be actually growing when I left around 1:30 am.

Local Music Festivals

A Murder of Crows

A Murder of Crows

A Murder of Crows took place on August 12 and 13 at the Mercury Lounge, in coordination with The Red Party, billing itself a 2 Day Goth & Post Punk Festival hosted by DJ Patrick Cusack, Sean and Mandana Banshie Templar, Dave and Jenn Bats as well as Stefan Axell, Frank Vollman and Jaycee Cannon. Friday’s live musical lineup featured Ritual Howls, VOWWS, and the Memphis Morticians. Saturday saw The Exploding Boy, Frank The Baptist and Skeleton Hands. It is reported to have been a smashing success as revealed in the nearby photo.

nowhere to run

Nowhere To Run Post-Punk Festival

took place August 20 at The Paper Box in Brooklyn and also featured an all-day-and-night of bands and dance music. Music historian and DJ Andi Harriman opened the event at 2 pm and reports that the event was packed all night, estimating some 300 people, representing the whole spectrum of goth, punk, techno and industrial fans – came through the doors. Incidentally, Harriman succeeded in selling off the entire stock of her notorious book, “Some Wear Leather Some Wear Lace,” which covers the history of the Post Punk movement from the 80s onward, at the merchandise stand. Among the 11 or so live bands, Post-Punk group, The Pawns and industrial band Statiqbloom captured the audience with their on-stage presence and interesting sound.

Museums & Galleries

Taxidermy: Art, Science and Immortality
at Morbid Anatomy

taxidermy panorama

Brooklyn NY
Aug 12, 2016

Brooklyn’s Morbid Anatomy Museum opened a new and dazzling exhibit with a champagne toast on a Friday evening. Attendees to the reception were guided through the multifaceted aspects of the art by the exhibit’s curator, J. D. Powe whose personal collection comprised the majority of the pieces. Mr. Powe, who is a co-founder of an educational software company, explained how his fascination with taxidermy began with his earliest visits to natural history museums. Small pieces and then large were added to his collection which by now boasts a staggering array of miniature as well as grand acquisitions, spanning the whole variety of specimens. These include wild and domestic; animal, fish and fowl; artistic arrangements; dramatic dioramas; furniture adornments; freakish abnormalities; and perfect, paradigmatic exemplars of the various species.

Thus we are treated to glass cases chock filled with vividly colorful birds, one serving as a fireplace screen. The right half of a sailfish in a regal pose floats high on a wall over a variety of his finny cohorts, while several toothed probosces of different sized sawfish lay disembodied and ready for inspection directly below. Two-headed cattle, a dwarfed calf, a walrus with duplicate tusks and other mistakes of nature are preserved for study and to evoke amazement at nature’s sometimes-slipshod processes of reproduction.
Elephant and rhinoceros feet drew attention in the case displaying functional items such as ashtrays, flower vases and bookends fashioned from animal parts. An entire wall was stacked high with glass cases housing the mortal remains of beloved, deceased pets, mainly dogs. Free-standing canines stood on the floor below them and were aesthetically beautiful representatives of man’s best friend, a large hound and a spotted Great Dane. Little dioramas housed theatrical tableaux, one of which posed a paternal frog administering an over-the-knee spanking of a young’un.

Enlightening, educational and at the same time mind-boggling, this exhibition brought a decidedly respectful – even loving – approach to a practice that might seem controversial to some. The emphasis here is on the beauty of the animal world and of each subject, the ingenuity and skill involved in the craft, and the fascination we appropriately feel when given opportunity to examine carefully prepared and maintained samples of the natural world.

The really good news is that this exhibit is being expanded starting in September with some anthropomorphic taxidermy, i.e. animals clothed and posed as if engaged in human activities. Look for it!

The Creeper Gallery
in New Hope, PA

IMG_1006Creepy monkey

No trip to the twin cities of Lambertville NJ and New Hope PA is complete without a long and leisurely tour of this extraordinary gallery where artist-owner D.L. Marian gave us a brief rundown on how and why she came, along with her partner and fellow-artist, Danielle Deveroux, to fill this tiny storefront with grotesque and gorgeous sculptures, paintings, mixed media constructions and rogue taxidermy specimens, all of museum quality. Definitely not for the squeamish or the easily offended, these works, self-described as “gothic,” are horrific, iconoclastic, charming, even while bordering on the sacrilegious, but seem to get away without offending by being so ingeniously conceived and artfully crafted. There are fabricated or altered effigies, dummies, heads, skulls, shrines, photos, paintings, constructions and assemblages to provide material for your nightmares as well as food for your thoughts on mortality, morbidity, aberrations and Hell.

You can learn more by checking out their website, but nothing can substitute for first-hand, up close and painfully personal viewing of the ever-changing exhibit of items for sale at the Creeper Gallery.

Manus x Machina
at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

On exhibition from Fashion Institute of Technology at ”Manus x Machina,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art held a display of the wildest and most artistic and high tech examples of mainly dress designs produced by a combination of astounding and specialized manual skills and modern day mechanization, such as 3D printing. The range of styles and materials was overwhelming in diversity, but we zeroed in on the most sci-fi and gothic pieces.

MetMuseum goth coutureMetMuseum Leather

Which all goes to show how far and deep into the mainstream culture that gothic/punk/industrial taste has penetrated!

Meanwhile, on the roof of the Museum, the Met had erected the façade of everybody’s favorite creepy domicile: The house from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” which, set against the beautiful twilight cityscape of New York City’s skyline, appeared as a mischievously evil blot on the otherwise uplifting panorama. MetMuseum %22Psycho%22 House

Aunt Ange at Pianos – In the Aug. 8 Aquarian

Filed under: Live Music,live music,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn August 23, 2016 @ 7:32 pm

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New Dark Age July – August 2016

Filed under: Goth Stuff,Live Music,live music,New Dark Age Monthly,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn August 17, 2016 @ 12:39 am

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New Dark Age June – July 20 in The Aquarian

Filed under: Goth Stuff,live music,New Dark Age Monthly — doktorjohn July 20, 2016 @ 11:58 am

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