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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.

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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Clash Bar Cover Band Night

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

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Attack of the Clones

disorder copy
Featuring

Flaming Youths
Disorder
Street Walking Cheetahs
Pulp Flannel

Clash Bar

June 3, 2016

By Doktor John

Clifton NJ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Noir at Arkham in Brooklyn

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

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

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

Disorder
Straight To Hell
Rockaway Bitches

disorder at Saint

Disorder

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

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

Rockaway at saint

Rockaway Bitches

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

Straight to Saint

Straight To Hell

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

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

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

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

IAMX – Metanoia Tour

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

Webster Hall

October 30, 2015

by Doktor John

New York, NY

IAMX Stage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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