doktorjohn.com

Castle Party 2017

Filed under: New Dark Age Monthly — doktorjohn August 13, 2019 @ 10:08 pm

Peter Murphy interview with New Dark Age

Filed under: New Dark Age Monthly — doktorjohn August 8, 2019 @ 2:24 pm

NEW DARK AGE – JULY 2019

Filed under: New Dark Age Monthly — doktorjohn July 27, 2019 @ 9:21 am



New Dark Age – June 2019

Filed under: New Dark Age Monthly — doktorjohn June 20, 2019 @ 12:31 pm



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May 2019 NEW DARK AGE

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn June 5, 2019 @ 2:13 pm

New Dark Age May 2019

Filed under: New Dark Age Monthly — doktorjohn May 22, 2019 @ 7:51 pm

Johnny Marr at the Wellmont

May 1, 2019

Prolific singer-songwriter Johnny Marr is was born John Maher to Irish Catholic parents and raised in Manchester England where he began his musical career at age 13. The area surrounding Manchester is dotted with numerous American and British Army and Air Force bases that were established during and active after the Second World War. The exposure to American blues, rock and country & western music had an intense influence on the young people growing up in that vicinity, and the number of world-renowned bands coming from the area is legion. Opening with the unbelievably rousing anthem, “Tracers” from his third solo album, the “Call the Comet” (2018) Marr set the stage for an emotionally intense and enthusiastic show. He followed with the Smiths’ “Big Mouth Strikes Again” with characteristic 80s sound from the Smiths’ album “The Queen Is Dead.” Next came the brand new composition “Armatopia” then he returned to “Call the Comet” for “Day In and Day Out,” which Marr described as a dealing with the issue of obsession. Several more tracks from that new album were interspersed with Smiths songs, most especially the revered “How Soon Is Now?”

So it went, alternating between more from “Call the Comet” and iconic Smiths songs, right through the encores which were represented by two from each category, concluding with the powerful “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet.”

Besides Marr’s famous work with Morrisey and the Smiths, he has played and collaborated with such well-known bands as The Pretenders, the Crib, Modest Mouse and the supergroup, 7 Worlds Collide. Marr’s jangly and unique guitar style has had incalculable influence in the alternative music scene.



NEW DARK AGE – April 2019

Filed under: New Dark Age Monthly — doktorjohn April 22, 2019 @ 11:43 pm


Darkside of the Con – March 29, 30, 31 – 2019

There are almost countless “fandom” conventions that cater to one or more pop culture phenomena. Prime examples include the Comic Con, Steampunk Con, Dragon Con, and the cons devoted to Anime, Manga, Star Trek, gaming and many more. Most fandom cons include a significant component of darkside interest. E.g., the first con I ever attended was Goth Con in New Orleans in 2001.

For the past three years, under the auspices of his online community, Vampire Freaks, impresario and producer Jet Berelson (Jet VF) has hosted an increasingly popular, annual convention that caters to the fans of dark entertainment and interest – those generally known as Goths.

Jet Vampire Freaks & friends

Darkside of the Con 3 was a three-day convention held at a castle-shaped, luxury hotel, the Sheraton in Parsippany NJ. Its scope, as in two previous iterations, included everything dark and creepy, whether musical or fashion related, especially those morbid phenomena with a sly, tongue-in-cheek aspect. Goth – as the subculture labels itself – is a “big tent” phenomenon, built around post punk, electronic and industrial music, its adherents identified by predominantly black attire.

The Long Losts on stage


Performances by some eighteen bands, including such famous acts as Stabbing Westward, Aesthetic Perfection and Assemblage 23 were held in a Grand Ballroom. Beloved local and indy bands filled the bill. Renowned deejays from New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia spun appropriate tracks for late night dance parties, balls and nightclub-themed events, including Cybertron, Stimulate, The Red Party and QXT’s. Naughty burlesque performances and costume contests featuring outrageous and diverse characters took place. Some contestants wore incandescent and LED-illuminated total body garb. Others appeared as villains and victims of sci-fi, fantasy and horror fiction. A live theater troupe performed the action of “A Nightmare Before Christmas” simultaneously while the movie itself ran on the big screen behind them.

Some costume contestants

Panels and lectures/workshops abounded with such interesting and useful subjects as Goth Parenting, the Paranormal, Rope Bondage, Gothic and Horror Literature, Mask Making and Elders of the Goth community. Live action role playing theater invited attendees to participate in the action. Artisans of all ages got to paint in a workshop, and an introduction to making electronic music was held for aspiring composers. History buffs got to learn about the Original Goths and How They Shaped the World.

A lecture and demonstration of live bats was presented in a side room by state licensed wildlife exhibitor “Batman” Joe D’Angeli. Joe’s background as a singer in a 90s glam metal band and as a frequent presenter at Chiller granted him a certain theatricality in addition to his take on conservation science.

Hallway beauties


The halls were lined at all times with vendors selling artworks, jewelry, garments, accessories, literature, and more.

Vendor stands

Those same halls were replete with the most astounding and alluring eye-candy that this subculture can put forth. Both scantily-clad beauties and decidedly overdressed models, some in steampunk, outlandish or fetish attire strolled the corridors displaying their costumes, corsets, headdresses, footwear, horns, studs, spikes, armor and the like.

Mr Haunt and friends

Not only does Goth flaunt the norms of mainstream culture and society, but encompasses numerous subdivisions and outliers that go against the norms of Goth itself!

Sights in the corridors


No one, not even Jet VF himself – who was omnipresent, seeing to the smooth running of events – could take it all in. Without intending to slight or overlook many of the fine and fabulous participants, I offer my own observations on those few highlights I was able to attend, given the fact that I was confined for most of the three day schedule to my table where I was vending artworks from the opening hours on Friday night right up until the closing on Sunday evening.

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Panic Lift on stage


At around 10 pm Friday night, one could attend a screening of the original “Dracula” (1931) starring Bela Lugosi. Friday’s lineup in the Grand Ballroom included Jersey boys Panic Lift, who wed electro-industrial to melodious song, sometimes sung full-throat, sometimes delivered in a distorted growl. A video of their performance at Darkside is linked on their Facebook page.

Stabbing Westward

It is not a shortcoming, but a virtue that Friday’s headliners, Stabbing Westward, rest upon their laurels that go back more than thirty years, because this is music that never fails to excite. The industrial rhythms, the recurring hooks, Chris Hall’s plaintive scream and mantra-like lyrics constitute a formula that is hard to beat for sheer musical enjoyment. Their performance was followed by a show of voluptuous beauties on stage as the Darkside Burlesque.

Around the same time, and going on into the night were two party events. The Red Party hosted by Sean Templar et al. ran a night called “Stay Sick” playing Deathrock, Goth and PostPunk. A few doors over, Cybertron teamed up with Stimulate to host an industrial dance pajama party.

One of several dance parties


Saturday performances in the Grand ballroom started at 2:00 pm with Lorelei Dreaming, an electro-EBM group with a bewitching female lead. Also on the playbill was the horror-rock couple, the Long Losts, who spiced their act up with a sexy dancer/contortionist. Later Rexx Arcana’s FGFC820 performed harsh EBM as a lead into LA-based industrial/pop trio Aesthetic Perfection, just before another round of costumes and burlesque.
Meanwhile in the various salons were panels on Gothic literature, on “What the Hell is Goth?” and on Dark Visual Arts. A panel of Elder Goths brought their combined life experiences to bear on the issues of the Goth subculture and the Goth lifestyle as they relate to personal values.

Elder Goths Panel

The evening ended for many with a QXT’s-hosted dance party at which one could stomp to Sisters of Mercy, Skinny Puppy and Covenant.
On Sunday, those wishing to participate could wake up to morning yoga. There were panels dealing with race issues in the alternative music scene, on polyamory, on Gothic horror in cinema and a conclave of the Iron Garden community. Kids were entertained in a salon that offered Spooky Story Time, Spooky Coloring and the chance to paint a ceramic skull with or without supervision.
Stone Burner performed a violent, primal kind of tribal rock music in the Grand Ballroom. Andy Deane’s singing solo with the backup of percussion as The Rain Within was nothing short of spectacular and not to be forgotten.

Andy Dean of The Rain Within

At 5:00 pm the festivities ended with EBM favorites Assemblage 23, and the vendors closed down amidst last minute impulse sales.
Happiness, a sense of community and a feeling of exhausted satisfaction prevailed as attendees, participants and the staff brought the festival to a conclusion.

Play It Loud – The Instruments of Rock & Roll

The Metropolitan Museum just launched a mega-exhibition entitled Play It Loud – Instruments of Rock & Roll, co-organized with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This is the first time a major museum examines the instruments of Rock & Roll. It’s impossible to overestimate the influence of Rock & roll on 20th century culture. The instruments have had a profound impact on the form that rock music has taken.
Guitars and bass guitars make up the essential bedrock of the exhibit, and include the first ever Fender from 1949, Les Paul’s early “Klunker” (1942), “The Hoss” Telecaster, the Stratocaster, the Gibson Southern Jumbo (1944), Rickenbacker’s Twelve-String and Eddie Van Halen’s “Frankenstein” composite electric.
Radical designs include such novel shapes as the “Flying V, the skewed Explorer and the SG by Gibson. But the collection also includes a petite grand piano, a Tama drum set, an upright bass, the Aztec 5-string, and a bass violin.
The Hammond organ is represented along with the Moog synthesizer and numerous compact electric keyboards. The venerable saxophone made the transition over from jazz and blues to rock & roll, and is seen in the collection along with such special items as the autoharp, Brian Jones’s Appalachian dulcimer, the Rolling Stones’ violin. Trumpets, trombones and the Sitar and even the Theremin are on view.
Rigs, amps and Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP piano with custom housing round out the music-making machines.
But there are also stage costume garments and iconic posters that demonstrate the rock & roll sensibility in graphic arts. Many show wear and tear as well as actual destructive abuse, The term “Loud” in the title refers not only to the sound but to a whole style and attitude.
All in all there are 185 objects that make up the exhibit, and there are both a catalog and a photo book available for purchase.
The exhibition is free with Museum admission.

Album : “Invocation” with image of Bulgarian “kukeri”

Dead Can Dance
Dionysus – Act II: The Invocation
Back in October last year we reported that Dead Can Dance was releasing their ninth studio album. It went on sale in November 2018. Now they have released a fascinatingly beautiful video of “The Invocation,” the second movement of the Act II of this album, “Dionysus.” It was directed by a Bulgarian company and contains breath-taking imagery including Bulgarian folk dancers – called “kukeri,” in colorful, exotic costumes. They perform ancient Balkan ritual dances as a form of exorcism to ward off evil in a tradition that is believed to date back to the cult of Dionysus, the Greek god who is also the title and the subject of DCD’s album. Mingled with the dance sequence are magnificent time-lapse landscape and skyscape sequences that are the signature style of video artist Ron Fricke, previous videographer for DCD and responsible for “Koyaanisqatsi” (1982) and “Baraka” (1992).
Above all, it features the glorious and blissful music of Dead Can Dance and vocals by Lisa Gerrard that are of surpassing beauty. It’s easy to access and view on Youtube by searching for it under the title and Dead Can Dance. DCD will tour Europe in May and June of this year. They haven’t announced an American tour yet.

New Dark Age March 2019

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,New Dark Age Monthly,Uncategorized — doktorjohn March 20, 2019 @ 11:24 pm

Necropolis Attendees

M Banshie and Sean Templar with portrait

Ashley Bad enjoying sitting with Chloe Alexis at Necropolis

Adorns on stage at the Red Party

DJ Glenn Maryansky and host DJ Sean Templar at the Red Party

NEW DARK AGE February 2019

Filed under: New Dark Age Monthly — doktorjohn February 18, 2019 @ 5:03 pm

Sanctuary Magazine 5 Year Anniversary Party
QXT’s, Newark

On Jan 12, QXT’s hosted the Sanctuary Magazine 5 year anniversary with much festivity. Attended by models, including magnificent Ashley Bad, the event included participation by fashion designers and entertainment by The Iron Garden, an act by shibari artist Flame Hel and live performance by electro-industrial duo Hot Pink Satan. Owing to the fact that Sanctuary Magazine features photography of glamorous, gothic and fetish models, interviews, profiles, and articles relating to underground lifestyle and events, dark, mysterious, intriguing and seductive night creatures filled the club.

The Iron Garden put on The Dark Banquet, which involved a procession of candle-bearing models in Goth attire, followed by a reading by Madame X, then the undressing of two sacrificial “victims” – one male and one female – who got down to their barest minimum of body coverings before reclining on the centrally-placed altar and undergoing ritual cleansing and sham sacrifice.

Next, their supine bodies were strewn with various fruit, including bunches of grapes, etc. A call to various pagan deities was issued by a celebrant in honor of the passing of a successful year of the magazine. The procedure concluded when the on-and-off stage participants came up, picked and devoured the fruit while ominous music played. This process can be viewed by searching “The Dark Banquet” on YouTube.

Live musical entertainment for the night was provided by Hot Pink Satan an aggro-industrial duo out of Pittsburgh, featuring an incredibly gorgeous and wanton vocalist, Clea Cutthroat, in heels, fishnets and electrical tape pasties but not much else, except a blond wig that came off midway through the act revealing a black Mohawk, and theatrical blood, which got generously smeared on her statuesque physique, also, midway through the performance.

Clea Cutthroat of the band Hot Pink Satan while still “dressed”

And what a performance! guitar accompanist Jeremy Creamer blasted out beats, noise and hooks while dancing singer Clea Cutthroat released vocal hellfire. The otherwise unflappable audience stood in shock and awe. It proved to be a musical act that transgressed many norms and rules of civil society, even for QXT’s, the headquarters of gothic, punk and industrial culture in the metropolitan area. Keep an eye out for the next time Hot Pink Satan passes through the tri-state area and, if the description herein appeals to you, make every effort to attend their performance.

at Windfall NYC

Sean Templar (left and center)admiring his portrait by Doktor John (right)

Feb 2, the first Saturday of the month saw a recurrence of the immensely popular dark dance night Necropolis at its usual location, Windfall on 39th St in Manhattan. Host deejay Father Jeff was at the turntables early on, although from time to time he did turn the music over to his associates, Angel, Patrick and Templar. The last of these, Sean Templar, was basking in the attention he was getting from the same-night unveiling of his painted portrait by yours truly. His better half, M Banshie, had propped the oil painted canvas featuring his likeness at the entrance desk to draw the attention and admiration of all comers. When questioned as to the choice of subject, the artist responded that few subjects had the similar level of celebrityhood or good looks.

When not in the booth, Father Jeff greeted arriving attendees at the desk. Some distinguished guests included off-duty deejays V-Christ and Arsenal; Sir William Wells of web directory New Goth City; Jorge Obando of the band Lost In Echoes; and Derrick Hussey of Hippocampus Press, publishers of sci-fi and horror literature.
The crowd was well turned-out and included some eye-catching goths and cyberpunks of both genders. Windfall’s host, Chris Savo oversaw the festivities with dutiful attention to comfort and safety.

Celebrity guests at Necropolis

Housekeeping note: The coat check at Windfall has been moved upstairs from its prior basement location, making it easier to don and doff outerwear in the winter season. Clean and convenient restrooms remain at the basement level, where there’s now less traffic owing to the removal of the coat check to upstairs. One more note: Chris Savo is exploring the possibility of a “drink and draw” night at Windfall for those artistically-inclined within the gothic/punk/industrial scene. Keep an eye on this column for further developments.

QXT’s So80’s Nite

Friday Feb 8 saw a special edition of QXT’s recurring “So80’s Nite,” this time featuring a celebrity guest deejay appearance by DJ Kurt Harland, singer for the band Information Society. In addition, it served as an afterparty for birthday celebrations of two Iron Garden luminaries, namely Madame X and Denise Ericksson, who transported their festivities from an earlier gathering at Lee’s Hawaiian Islander in Lyndhurst to the Newark Nightclub.

Fanged celebrants – Photo by Dario Valdivia

Regular deejays Damian Plague and Ash filled the bill and the air with apropos iconic dance favorites from Pet Shop Boys, The Cure and Joy Division. It was a particular pleasure to pound the pavement to rarely heard Joe Jackson masterpiece, rapidly cadenced “Steppin’ Out.”

Mercury Lounge NYC

Spear of Destiny

On Feb 9 the monthly Red Party provided exception live entertainment this night in addition to the select dance atmosphere for which it is famous. Not widely known this side of the Atlantic, British band Spear of Destiny features original founder, lead vocalist Kirk Brandon on rhythm guitar. It is presently a quintet with five-string bass, a lead guitarist, drummer and keyboardist. Founded in 1982-83, they have fourteen albums including seven in the 80s/90s and seven post turn of the millennium.

Coming on shortly after midnight, Spear of Destiny, on the first stop of their North American tour, put on one of the most memorable performances ever featured in a small venue like the Mercury Lounge. Led by Kirk Brandon, whose vocal skills are nothing short of astonishing, they put on a set of folk-infused hard rock that was so exhilarating that it provoked a spontaneous slam-dancing mosh pit.

Rumbling bass, explosive percussion, a versatile and creative lead guitarist and keyboards that ran the gamut from synthesizer to organ to electric piano backed and supported Brandon’s vehemently rendered singing and rhythm guitar. His vocals were clear, and full-throated, articulating serious lyrics in a forceful, emphatic but melodious fashion. Virtuoso guitar and drum solos added depth to the tight and captivating arrangements as did backup vocals from the entire band. The manner in which Spear channeled British/Celtic folk music was in a manner reminiscent of U2.

Dance music before and after the live performance was curated by host Sean Templar and by his consistent Red Party associate, Jarek Zelazny as well as by guest DJ Jose Frances of Dark Dance Radio.

Museum of Sex
Leonor Fini: Theater of Desire 1930 – 1990

Until March 4, 2019

Leonor Fini – Self-portrait

It is a disgrace and a genuine outrage that this uniquely talented visionary artist is not a household name. Leonor Fini, (1907 – 1996) was a prodigiously talented, multidimensional artist and forceful proponent of the feminist outlook in her paintings, her designs, her statements and – above all – in her life. Italian-Argentinian, Fini settled in Paris where she became acquainted with Max Ernst, Picasso and Salvador Dali. She had no formal training, but she became an accomplished painter through association with established artists, and by her own spectacular talents with a brush and by her unorthodox compositions. In addition she wrote novels, plays and did designs for theater and commercial items. Her iconoclastic views on life, sex and gender provided rich inspiration and material for her artistic expression.

Fini’s paintings, drawings, and costumes will leave visitors with the fineness of her work as well as the explicitness and the allure of the disturbing subject matter. Self-portraiture, human subjects, full frontal nudity and sexualized situations, all executed beautifully, cover the wall and fill the glass cases on two floors of the Museum of Sex. Women – and Fini herself, for she declared that she was the subject in which she was most interested – are portrayed as warriors, powerful, sexy, and iconic. Men – Fini had two male live-in lovers all her life – appear as objects of desire – passive, beautiful, androgynous and under the gaze and protection of a woman, usually Fini in self-portrait.

Two paintings by Leonor Fini

A slide-show is ongoing in an entrance foyer and features photos of her posed in various environments plus quotes and observations about her by friends, critics and lovers. Her own statements declare her denunciation of tradition, conventionality and the commonplace in life, the arts and sex. Two videos are on giant screens showing her theatrical performances and dazzling costumes. On display are explicitly erotic drawings and illustrations she did for such publications as Petrarch’s “Satyricon,” “The Story of O” and works by Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, Jean Genet and the Marquis de Sade.

In her lifetime, Leonor Fini was featured in the “Fantastic Art, Dada & Surrealism Exhibition” at MoMA and the “International Surrealist Exhibition” in London. She was sought after as the portraitist of choice for the rich, famous and glamorous and even featured in LOOK magazine. Yet somehow, all that has not been enough to place her at the level of fame of Picasso or Dali. The only explanation appears to be outright discrimination on the basis of sex, because – for originality, creativity, diversity of talents and utter quality of her work – Leonor Fini stands at the highest level among the other artistic giants of the 20th Century.

Le Ceneri di Heliodoro
Rome

Trisol Music Group (Germany)

If you haven’t heard of ROME, or of singer-songwriter Jerome Reuter, stop whatever you are doing and check him out without delay. New Dark Age first encountered this unique music experience at the Dark Alternative Music festival in Poland’s Castle Party in 2017 and again at Wave Goth Treffen in 2018. Defying classification, Rome has been called “industrial folk” and “neo-folk” because of its blend of high-cultural references, profound themes and ingenious blend of poetry, traditional song-writing and unusual acoustic/industrial arrangements.

On “Le Ceneri di Heliodoro” one will be mesmerized by Reuter’s melancholic baritone and simple, sincere melodies combined with chant, electronica, bombastic interludes, to say nothing of the industrial and ambient sounds. Twelve tracks are presented, starting with the momentous “Sacra Entrata,” followed by emotionally-wrenching “A New Unfolding,” in which ominous male chorals accompany Reuter’s plaintive call. The next several are heart-wrenching, melodious, acoustic guitar pieces that deal explicitly and painfully with Reuter’s pessimistic commentary on America, Europe and the world.

Creative use of samples and a backup chorus prove to be powerful adjuncts to rich, hypnotic guitar and vocal mantras that together make up a spectacular musical collage. Track titles are in Latin, Italian, German and French, but Reuter’s impassioned lyrics and those of his male and female vocal accompanists are in English, even as they reference Roman legions, philosophical issues and life-and-death questions.

Six other albums are available from this astonishing artist, but the latest, “Le Ceneri di Heliodoro” is a great place to start for those willing to explore the opus of this wondrous and extraordinary musical genius.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductions 2019

Hall of Famers – The Cure

Congratulations to The Cure, the sole representative of the Post Punk movement in this year’s class of inductees which otherwise included metal’s Def Leppard, pop stars Janet Jackson and Stevie Nicks, alternative music giants Radiohead, and classic 60s rockers The Zombies.

Just for the record, the Cure started out in 1976 as The Easy Cure, soon evolved from their earliest New Wave beginnings into icons of the gothic rock scene and by 1992 had been accepted into the mainstream as cited in Pitchfork’s video “A Brief History of Goth.” They secured their status, having won countless awards and having been nominated for two Grammys and numerous MTV awards. Led by frontman Robert Smith they produced over a dozen CDs and 29 world tours, with their most recent stop-off in the NYC area in 2016 to sold out crowds at the ma

December 2018 New Dark Age

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,live music,New Dark Age Monthly,Reviews — doktorjohn December 5, 2018 @ 7:37 pm

VNV Nation at Irving Plaza

Nov 24, 2018

Hamburg Germany-based electronic music project VNV Nation (“Victory Not Vengeance”) fronted by Dublin-born singer-songwriter Ronan Harris continued their 2018 tour with a performance to a packed and enthusiastic audience at NYC’s Irving Plaza in support of their latest album, “Noire.” They are famous for idealistic themes bordering on the sentimental and for passionate anthems.

New Dark Age doesn’t attend VNV shows because of Ronan’s unwarranted and incessant talking instead of singing, but we interviewed scene celebrity and event promoter, Lady Zombie, a big fan, who was attending her third VNV concert. She found the synth-wavers openers, The Rain Within, to be an awesome stand-alone act, capable of pulling off an amusing cover of Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” They were followed by Holygram, updated post-punks from Cologne, Germany whom she described as having “an 80s goth sound.”

VNV opened with the ominous-sounding “A Million” from their new album followed by “Retaliate” from their “Transnational” (2013) album, then went back to the new album with “Armour” which features soaring, heartening melody and lyrics.

Ronan was loquacious as always, expressing his love of New York and imploring the crowd to put their phones down and to sing along.

They hit a couple more tracks from the “Noire” album, concentrating their set on their fans’ beloved favorites from their historic body of work. Thus, “Space and Time,” “Farthest Star,” “Chrome” — Lady Zombie’s favorite — and “Resolution” were included in the regular set. After nineteen songs they took a break and the crowd chanted “VNV! VNV!” prompting a return, starting with “Nova,” the first of the three encores which concluded the show with “All Our Sins” from “Noire.”

An official afterparty was held at the Pyramid club at which Ronan and the opening bands socialized with the fans.
VNV Nation at Irving Plaza
Nov 24, 2018

Light Asylum at Synthicide

Brooklyn Bazaar
Nov 29 2018

And Harriman’s club night Synthicide hosted a performance by Brooklyn-based electro-darkwave band Light Asylum on Thursday night, Nov 29. Normally residing monthly at the Bossa Nova Civic Club, Synthicide was held this time in the underground space of Brooklyn Bazaar to a packed, sold-out audience.

The focus of Synthicide is on electronic music with frequent live acts, as on this occasion. The opening group was Ghost Cop, a spacey duo consisting of Lucy Swope and Sean Dack. Early in their performance they were joined by some technical and musical assistants who worked multiple sound boards and keyboards producing compellingly rhythmic, sometimes brutal noise, with some pre-recorded samples as well as, pleasurable, echoic, sung vocals.

Next up, androgynous synth wave duo Korine, from Philadelphia, now frequent flyers in the NY/NJ metropolitan area and coming off their well-received shows at Stimulate the week before as well as the Human Music Synthwave Festival in May of this year, put on an excellent example of that style. This was my fourth time seeing Korine and I had an impression that the they came across like New Order might have sounded if Ian Curtis had survived to sing for them.

Between the acts, hostess Andi Harriman manned the turntables with powerful, danceable tracks, but the packed crowd had little space to move other than to sway side-to-side or bob up and down. precisely because no one was giving up their place for viewing the upcoming, headline act, Light Asylum.

Led by female vocalist Shannon Funchness and accompanied by pre-recorded electro-industrial tracks, Light Asylum burst right on with the first five tracks from their eponymous album. “Hour Fortress” was followed by he funky “Pope Will Roll,” then “IPC.” The next song, “Heart of Dust” has a discordant and erratic vocal quality with a harshness reminiscent of Nitzer Ebb. So did the next track, “At Will,” also from the album.

A couple more tracks from that album were performed, and attention was turned to the “In Tension” EP, concluding with the overwhelming favorite “Dark Allies.” This masterpiece features bizarre minimalism combined with perverse gospel vocals that highlight Shannon’s frenzied, baritonal voice. The crowd of twenty-something Brooklyn goths and hipsters went wild.

The Red Party

Mercury Lounge
Sat Nov 10

The Red Party hosted the dark rock duo the Long Losts who performed selections from their album “Scary Songs to Play in the Dark.” Guest DJ Valefar Malefic joined regulars Jarek Zelazny and Sean Templar playing goth, death rock, post punk and cold wave.

QXT’s in Newark
Nov 16, 2018


The mid-November weekend was eventful at the premier alternative club in the metropolitan area, QXT’s in Newark. Friday Nov 16 saw an early evening presentation of Diva Burlesque, produced by Lady J in an effort at reproducing the atmosphere of early 20th Century strip tease in the tradition of Newark’s Empire live vaudeville theater.

At 10 pm, the dance area took off with a night dubbed “Cure/Mode” with emphasis on the repertoire of those two iconic post-punk bands and other 80s standards in the deejays’ sets. In Area 51 the theme was “Shelter” where one could hear German Industrial Techno, Danish Electro, French Industrial and more new contemporary artists.

Nov 17, 2018 saw Green Jello headline a list of live bands which included the Gothsicles, Singaya and the Broken Co., following which noted DJ Aengel joined forces with QXT’s regular DJ Mindsolvent for an edition of Blasphemy, the original goth and dark dance party on the main floor with the likes of Peter Murphy’s dance-conducive “Indigo Eyes.” Downstairs in Area 51 there was a variety of music with the likes of And One and Project Pitchfork, while DJ Victrola played 80s synth pop and Wave in the Crypt.

On Sunday Nov 18 Sunday Brave rattled the rafters in support of the release of their EP “Taking Over,” alongside noted soloist Constantine Maroulis and two of the hottest local bands, The Randy Haze Trio and Our Fears.

Dec 1, 2018 Q’s also hosted a performance by 80s superstars Anything Box to a packed audience with opening band, Philadelphia duo, Korine.

Stimulate

Drom
Nov 23, 2018

Producer and DJ Xris SMack presented an exceptional edition of the recurring dance and entertainment party Stimulate on Nov 23, Black Friday at the East Village nightclub, Drom., Featured were a synth wave-style original band and two renowned tribute bands as well as hours of ambient, alternative dance tracks curated by well-known metropolitan area deejays including DJs Paradox, Phoenixxx, Cyclonus and Xris himself.

The night was dedicated to facing industrial giant, NIN against PostPunk icons, Joy Division cover bands. The crowd’s choice was to be determined at the end of the show.

Philadelphia duo Korine opened at around 11:30 with catchy, electronic numbers and a pleasingly androgynous, New Romantic stage persona. They had just made a big splash at NJ’s Human Music Synthwave festival this past Spring and were performing in support of their debut full length album, “New Arrangements.”

Over the PA and between band performances we heard “Better Be There” by FunkyGreen Dogs and “Cold” by the Cure. Hot, live go-go action provided visuals through the night, spot-lighting at least three sexily-clad ladies who took turns on stage as the crowd of attendees danced to the likes of Marilyn Manson and Icon of Coil.

Next up, Nine Inch Nails tribute band SIN opened their set with “Pinion” in a 30-second intro, then quickly launched into “Terrible Lie” off “Pretty Hate Machine.” Frontman Byron did justice to the frantic style of early NIN with an uncontrolled performance that saw him strip to the waist and wrap his torso in strands of black tape as he sang and gyrated convulsively on stage. “March of the Pigs,” “The Hand That Feeds” and five more hits followed, for a total of eight songs. Included of course was the once-shockingly explicit “Closer” and concluding the act was “Head Like a Hole,” the milestone entry that brought industrial into the alternative mainstream back in 1989.

Finally, renowned Joy Division tribute band Disorder started their set with archival radio announcements of JD’s historic recognition in the U.K media, then fired up their performance with “No Love Lost” off their “Substance” collection. They moved steadily through eleven songs from the band’s body of work with such beloved selections as “Dead Souls,” “Ceremony” and the mega-hit “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” Even “Blue Monday” by the successor band, New Order, got featured toward the end of the set. Approval from the audience was overwhelming.

Art Exhibit and Lecture – “Metaphysics in Everyday Life”

Center for Italian Modern Art
Antonio David Fiore & Paul Stiron
Nov 28, 2018

The Center for Italian Modern Art has been exhibiting and educating those interested in the peculiar, seminal school of Metaphysical Art for the past year and a half. The standard-bearer of that school is of course Giorgio de Chirico (1888 – 1978), whose works were on display early last year, followed by exhibitions of, first, Alberto Savinio, and – now, currently – collected works of Morandi, Sironi and Carra, all recognized exemplars of the style.

Having always been fascinated by the concept, I attended a lecture and slide show on a Wednesday evening at the Center lower Manhattan, hoping to get a grasp on what this artistic genre is really about and how to distinguish it from Surrealism, to which it is ancestral.

Rare and stunning works by the three above-mentioned artists are on display as well as one iconic piece by de Chirico which helps orient the viewer to the precise core of the artistic movement that arose in and around Italy in the very early 20th century.

A lecture by two scholars of art appreciation delved into the influence of Metaphysical art on realms of décor and architecture beyond the narrow field of painting. What I found most satisfying was coming to learn the philosophical and psychological substratum that inspired the movement, and it is – as I understand – as follows:

With the decline of religion at the end of the 19th century, the Western world – as often the case, led by Italy – was seeking a deeper, mystical meaning in the everyday world, something spiritual in the forms and objects of the real world. Thus, an abandoned piazza, a lonesome statue, an anthropomorphic mannequin, stark earthenware vessels with cast shadows might all evoke an otherworldly feeling that religious experience might have provided in the past or simply as a rebellion against Renaissance high art. Another source of such rebellion was found in ancient and medieval symbols, which got reworked by Metaphysical artists into decorative architecture and interiors for the same effect.

This erudite presentation and repeatedly viewing these artworks provided me with immense help in understanding an art movement with dark undertones that was, for me, previously a mystery.

Stan Lee (1922 – 2018)

By now everyone has read that Stan Lee died Nov 12 of this year at the venerable age of 95. Born Stanley Martin Lieber, he was the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, its publisher and chairman. Collaborating with Steve Ditko, he helped create the immensely popular Spiderman; and with the late Jack Kirby, with whom he shared the prestigious “Disney Legends” award, Lee helped create a whole stable of comic book legends including Fantastic Four, X-Men, and the Hulk.

Noted for having brought the genre of comic book art to a more complex level that featured flawed heros, burdened with ambivalence and existential issues, Stan Lee is thought to have elevated the category to the level of 20th and 21st Century literature.

Alex von Nihil aka Oleksander Fushtey (1988 – 2018)

The No Return Post Punk Society, a twice monthly dance club night will now be without one of its resident deejays and co-founders, Alex von Nihil who died suddenly and unexpectedly a few days short of his 30th birthday. Partner and close collaborator of founder Ryan Walker, Alex was known and beloved of the NYC underground post punk scene for his sense of humor, warmth, openness and hospitality.

Alex welcomed all to the events he hosted, from die-hard Goths to casual clubbers, tourists, street people and even yuppies who often made their way down the steep staircase to the Pyramid’s basement level on the first and third Friday of the month where he served up the sounds of classic goth, death rock and synth.

In 2012 Alex won the Eklectik Poetry Contest with his poem “We the Villains,” reproduced here. He was remembered at various commemorative events held around town and in a eulogy written by Luna Pallida.

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