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New Dark Age — August 2018

Filed under: Goth Stuff,live music,Movies,New Dark Age Monthly,Recorded Music,Uncategorized — doktorjohn August 6, 2018 @ 4:01 pm



Necropolis

This month’s edition of Father Jeff’s Necropolis truly lived up to its name by hosting an official book launch of Hippocampus Press’s “New York State of Fright,” an anthology of horror stories by NY authors featuring stories set mainly in and around NY.

Before the first music began , there were readings, book signings and trivia discussions. Then, after the first set of dance tracks, Windfall manager Chris Savo called a pause. Brooklyn horror author, Teel James Glenn, attired in tuxedo, manned the temporary podium and read a creepy, humorous vampire short story with an unexpected twist to great approval by the necropolis crowd.

Also in attendance was film director Jonathan Berman, visiting NYC for the premiere of his documentary about the UFO-cults of the 20th century, “Calling All Earthlings.”

Despite the heat, the humidity and the absence of numerous scene sustainers who were away in Ireland, Father Jeff and Patrick pulled off a rockingly successful episode of Necropolis with the assistance of DJs Joe Hart and TJ Lepore.

QXT’s Aug 3, 2018

Newark dance club, QXT’s nightclub hosted a free admission night called “2080” dedicated to 80s New Wave, Synthpop and Synthwave, at which DJs Ash and Damian Plague served up the requisite fare from 10 pm to 3 am the following morning. Heard was the softer stuff on which the crowd grew up like Depeche Mode, The Cure, Duran Duran plus Synthwave giants Lazerhawk and Dance with the Dead. About midway into the night, Damian concocted a beautiful mashup of Filter’s “Hey man, Nice Shot” and NIN’s “Closer” which set the dance floor into ecstatic frenzy.

Cabaret Voltaire


Cabaret Voltaire
Industrial Demos 1974 – 1976
Mataram Music (2018)

Cabaret Voltaire, the English industrial music pioneer group, formed back in 1973 before the era of digital media. Experimenting with cut-up technique, using audio tapes, sound samples, loops and the like, they introduced the world to a radical alternative to the conventional music based on rhythm and melody and helped create the industrial genre.

Still active in both performance and recording (although the personnel members have evolved) they just released a collection of their do-it-yourself works from the mid-70s entitled “Industrial Demos 1974-1976,” containing ten tracks from the era when they were musical icons of the Dada art movement. As far as I can tell, each of these have been released before amidst the myriad studio, live, remix, and compilation albums and numerous singles and EPs.

This album starts with “The Dada Man,” an erratically cadenced series of speeded up tape squeaks, metallic banging and sci-fi noises. The next track,“Ooraseal” has no recognizable rhythm and plays with vocal samples run backwards while an electronic chirp drones on. “A Sunday Night in Biot” features distorted, tinny vocals that pierce the waves of synthetic roars, beeps and burbles. The sound of a kazoo breaks in now and then.

“In Quest of the Unusual” is a brief piece that produces a chaotic wall of sound with clicks and snaps occurring without any regularity. Echoic roaring sounds and vocals are heard through the rhythmic, percussive “Do the Snake.”

“Fade Crisis” utilizes echoic, foghorn-like samples to create a spacy, faraway feel without anything resembling rhythm. “Doubled Delivery” is characterized by a double-speed marching cadence that is relentless, over which are layered synthetic burps and buzzes.

“Venusian Animals” is the track that most resembles the soundtrack of an early sci-fi thriller with loopy mournful electronica and sweeping wind-like noises. “The Outer Limits” falls into the same category but employs a painfully high-pitched drone behind the repetitive sound of a machine sloshing through an electronic swamp toward some remote destination.

The album concludes with “She Loved You,” an eight-minute largely empty track with sparse pounding sounds, backwards recorded voices and quiet blasts of synthetic growls and horns.

Credit where it’s due – this group took what limited technology was available and put it through every conceivable operation, thus helping open our minds to a new auditory experience that led to where we are now. It was more noise than music, but it served its historic purpose, and from it has flowed industrial, techno, electronic, EBM and more.
All these tracks can be accessed on Youtube.

Panic Lift


Panic Lift “End Process” 10 tracks
Metropolis Records

This is Panic Lift’s fourth album, released this Aug 24, two years after, “Skeleton Key.” There are ten tracks of essentially industrial electronic rock with elements of symphonic, synthwave and Linkin Park-like rap. It opens with an electro-industrial track that has interjected spoken word, The next several tracks contain some nice, melodious singing that alternates with harsh, hissing vocals, always to a compelling, rapid beat. Several tracks are at a slower, more moderately pace and feature eerie strings and hypnotic, synthetic arpeggios. Staticky voice samples make an occasional appearance setting a post-apocalyptic mood. Some of the electronica has a pseudo-aquatic, New Age feel even as it leads into a mechanized cadence and pleasant full vocal singing. Belching guitars form a frequent element that places the overall category of the album into hard, symphonic rock.

Sometimes the lyrics (all of which can be read on the included cover art) have an angry, accusatory sense, issued in a gravelly voice, but James Francis’s versatility is that he can switch to mellow crooning within the same track. The music is always inviting, pleasing to the ear as well as conducive to the dance floor. The appeal of this album was such that on first listening I was able to find each track immediately satisfying.

Panic Lift is on their “End Process” tour in support of this album.

Rated A
Beautifully brutal

The Ink Bats


The Ink Bats
“Loss”

The Oakland, CA-based Ink Bats are touring the West Coast in support of their nine-track 2017 disc,“Loss” and to promote the Youtube-accessible video of the album’s sixth track, “Caves.” The album starts right off with a rocking number with a driving beat and mournful, high-pitched wailing vocals. The pace slows a bit with the second track, but the beat is still compelling and vocals more controlled, though no less anguished. The third cut features a drawn-out, elongated electronic guitar droning and plaintive masculine vocals that evoke Fields of the Nephilim over a snappy cadence, The fourth track opens with an eerie, eloquent sample of a British patrician that contrast with the long instrumental intro and beautiful choral vocals supported by prominent drumming with – again – a driving rhythm.

By the fifth track begin to wonder if the Ink Bats are going to keep up the irresistible verve you have been listening to, and they succeed admirably. Luscious female vocals of rhythm guitarist Josie Dot have an operatic quality as they rise above accompanying mean-sounding instrumentation and male backup. Judge the deliciously dark sixth track, “Caves” yourself, by checking it out on Youtube. Rather than stand out above the other tracks, it rather epitomizes the richly textured gothic, PostPunk style of the rest of the album, which itself is a stellar entry into that beloved genre.

The last three tracks are three, four and five minutes long, respectively, and each presents a unique, work, consistent and well-situated within the traditions and conventions of the Goth Rock style. Except for the percussive elements, any of these ten tracks would make suitable soundtrack entries to mystery or horror cinema.
Find the album which is available via Bandcamp in digital download, on CD or even in vinyl edition, and don’t fail to check the “Caves” video on Youtube.

Cyborgs Among Us


Cyborgs Among Us (2017) 1:45 documentary

This film takes a serious look at the increasing interaction of humans with technology, with particular emphasis on implanted electro-magnetic and mechanical devices. The opening sequence seems, at first, to be a fantasy in which a young man with an antenna arising from the back of his head narrates his bizarre perception of the sights, sounds and aromas he experiences in a natural as well as urban environments. Shockingly, and amazingly, it becomes apparent as the narrative progresses, that he is in fact a real person, not an actor. Born without any color perception at all, he lived – prior to the implant – in a world of grays, blacks and whites. He had a real antenna surgically connected to his brain that allows him to experience the colors of the world – as well as electromagnetic wavelengths such as ultraviolet and infrared – in the form of sounds of different pitch and timbre. The implant collects colored light information and converts it to sound perception in his brain.

This is only one astounding example presented in this real-life documentary. A worker who lost his right arm in an accident is shown having had a high-tech, incredibly versatile arm connected to not only the remaining bone of his arm’s stump, but the actual nerves that allow him to control the movements, – some of them quite complex – of his elbow, wrist, hand and fingers – and to actually feel the touch and weight of objects he is handling!

Shown is a sort of Olympics of paralyzed and amputated individuals with devices that replace and/or augment their ability to ambulate, control artificial limbs and perform tasks.

A deaf gentleman who has had cochlear implants to restore hearing directly to the auditory area of his brain discusses the versatility of his sound perception, and the options it provides him to focus on various sounds, to filter out unwanted noise so that he can understand conversation in loud environments and to shut out sound completely when he chooses to do so.

The film turns to a workshop run by a small group of piercings-adorned cyberpunks who are engaged in high-tech body modification: the surgical implant of electronic devices into their hands and fingers that enable them to operate electrical sensors and devices and to perceive electromagnetic fields.

Finally the film calls attention to the growing political movement and in particular Mr. Zoltan Istvan, sometime-presidential candidate of the Cyborg Party, who expounds on his belief that immortality in some form or other will be coming soon as advances in technology make replacement parts and computer storage of brain functions a reality. The future – this film reveals – is now!
This film can be accessed on Amazon Prime and other sources.

Nico, 1988

“Nico,1988” (2017)
Written and directed by Susanna Nicchiarelli

Manhattan’s Film Forum held the US theatrical premiere of “Nico, 1988” – an unsentimental docudrama about the last years of punk-cultural icon, Christa “Nico” Päffgen. Model, singer, actress and Andy Warhol-designated celebrity, Nico gained recognizable status singing with the Velvet Underground on their 1967 debut album, “The Velvet Underground & Nico.” Prior to that she had been a model and had acted in Fellini’s classic “La Dolce Vita” and Warhol’s experimental film “Chelsea Girls,” roles earned in no small measure by her lanky 5’10” supermodel frame and exquisite, chiseled features. Musically, she is credited with a role in initiating both the punk and Goth-rock scene.

This movie is not about those joyful years of celebrity and triumph, but the sordid last couple of years, when Nico expressed violent objection to nostalgic attempts by interviewers and fans to reawaken those memories. Sometimes she even tried to reject the stage name Nico and demanded to be called by original name, Christa. Except when the need to finance her costly heroin addiction forced her to revive her chanteuse performances before rock music-thirsting fans in Italy and in Eastern Europe.

Danish actress Trine Dyrholm masterfully portrays Nico – aging, dissipated, hoarse from chain-smoking and booze, numbed with Methadone and hard stuff, reviving the stage persona that was Nico again.

We get a view inside her bitter decline during interviews and when she is interacting with her tour crew and her devoted, late-career manager, Rick, convincingly portrayed by Scottish actor John Gordon Sinclair.

The plot includes bizarre experiences touring in Italy and in dilapidated, police-state Eastern Europe. It shows her causing disillusionment of naive, nostalgic fans and making quick, necessary getaways from the law. It peers into the pathetic relationship she had with her estranged son. Thrown in are a couple of kick-ass, out-of-control and drug-infused band performances. Altogether it is a lurid story line that serves as a vehicle for spectacular, stirring acting and brilliant cinematic direction.

“Nico, 1988” acquaints the post-Millenial generation with an historic cornerstone personality from the countercultural 60s, as she coasts twenty years later into her final demise.

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


Das Ich Besucht Amerika

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

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

Satanik Germanic
Hanzel und Gretyl

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

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.

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.

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.

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