Nights Out

Necropolis
  This well-attended club night at Windfall for the first Saturday every month occurred on schedule Dec. 1 and again on Jan. 5 at the start of the new year, hosted by Father Jeff and backed up by resident DJs Patrick, Templar and Aengel. The latter date also corresponded to the birthday of the last two of these as well as that of DJ Paradox.

  Doors open at 10:00 p.m. with Mandana Banshie Templar at the gate.

  It’s always an exceptional experience from a musical standpoint when this particular group of master DJs demonstrate their depth of knowledge and electronic mastery of their repertoire. Father Jeff performs some mash-up magic with his set and is followed by the ever-creative Sean Templar, the ingenious Patrick Cusack and, then, ace purveyor of post-punk favorites, Erik Aengel.

  It was a particular pleasure to dance to Alien Sex Fiend’s “Dead and Buried,” Bauhaus’s delightfully chaotic “In the Flat Field” and increasingly popular Turkish-language showpiece “Sanri” by She Past Away. Along the way we heard Peter Heppner of Wolfsheim vocalizing on electronic musician Schiller’s “Dream of You.” Representative, danceable favorites included tracks by Covenant, And One, the Sisters of Mercy and Souxsie.

  I don’t believe there is a more conducive or sophisticated setlist to be heard at any dance club anywhere.

Procession
  Billing itself “a lascivious dance macabre,” Procession, the monthly, no-cover Sunday night event, held at the basement level of Lower East Side venue Home Sweet Home, celebrated its third anniversary on Dec. 23. Host DJs Mark Cage Knight and Joe Hart served up a mix of contemporary electro, post-punk and classic goth to an overflow crowd. The turnout was massive for the event, and celebrants danced into the early morning hours of Monday amidst dense fog and atmospheric red lighting while obscure videos flickered on the battered brick wall.

  A special candle-lit ceremony was administered at 1:40 a.m. by well-known occultist Clifford Hartleigh Low, while his beguiling assistant Tara performed ritual binding of a male volunteer to the sounds of incantations and ancient music. Mixologist Jonezy, himself a big fan of the goth scene, manned the bar with efficiency and courtesy. The layout of Home Sweet Home has been renovated to provide improved dance floor space, more sitting booths and a superior sound system, but remains delightfully gritty.

  Procession, having survived — against all odds — the past three years, remains the tri-state area’s only regular monthly Sunday dark dance night, attracting ever more regulars from the region, some coming from as far away as Connecticut and Philadelphia.

Strangelove
Drom
Saturday, Dec. 22, 2019

  The Depeche Mode Fan Club New York sponsored a night of ‘80s dance and fetish play at the Lower East Side club Drom on Avenue A, calling it “StrangeLove Before Christmas” and taking its name from the lead single from DM’s sixth studio album, Music for the Masses. DJs Xris Smack, Ash and Shred provided the relevant postpunk tracks, including DM favorites “Strangelove,” “Enjoy the Silence” and “It’s No Good,” but also including cuts by Siouxsie, the Pet Shop Boys, the Smiths, the Cure and Sigsaly.

  Visual treats were provided by scantily clad cuties who lightly (or not so lightly) spanked willing volunteers pretending to be bound to a diagonal “St. Andrew’s Cross” for laughs and titillation. The manager Lirron Bloch provided hospitality and served as emcee, promising to make the fan club’s night a recurring event.

QXT’s
  New Jersey’s flagship gothic/industrial nightclub, QXT’s ran a “So80’s Party” on the last Friday of the year. Early in the evening, the lower level was given over to a conclave of the Iron Garden for a presentation on “Sacred Spaces” and for merchant stands where crafted and artistic items were on display. Two new members were inducted into Iron Garden citizenship. Early in the day, the main floor upstairs hosted a karaoke event.

  At 10 p.m. the dance club opened with DJs Damian Plague and Ash on the main floor spinning, as you might expect, classic ‘80s while “Who’s That Girl” starring Madonna played on the big screen and various monitors around the club. Down in the basement DJ Len Otype Bogatch served up industrial and related powerhouse tracks in Area 21 while DJ Victrola manned the booth in the crypt.

  A trove of nightlife celebrities were on hand for this, the last “So80’s Party” of 2018, including Myke Hideous of Empire Hideous fame and countless of Q’s regulars. Photographer Miguel Aviles’s select images can be accessed on the QXT’s Official Facebook page, cataloguing this most recent party plus many prior events.

 

New Year’s Events

 

The Red Party
Mercury Lounge
New York City
  The Red Party transformed on New Years Eve into an “All ‘80s New Wave Ball” in the first hour of 2019, at 12:30 a.m. to be exact. This is a recurrence of the “Post-NYE” concept that allows revelers to attend whatever friend-and-family early event they want right through the midnight arrival of the new year, then to show up at the Mercury Lounge for their much needed dose of Goth and Deathrock. It served as the “Girls on Film” edition of Forever Young, the trademark theme of hosts Sean and Mandana Banshie Templar, who have carried this motto to events around the world.

  As on previous iterations of the event, Sean shared deejay duties with DJs Ash, Matt V Christ, Jeffo! And Erik Aengel, all of whom appear in the photo accompanying this report. Not surprisingly, this stellar line-up kept the crowd enthralled and dancing until the scheduled Monday morning closing.

QXT’s
  Newark nightclub QXT’s hosted a New Year’s Eve party. To judge by the nearly 100 photos posted on the official Facebook page by Miguel Aviles, it was glamorously attended, fabulously decorated, outstandingly festive and packed!

 

Recordings

Walk On Fire
Indarra
(Metropolis Records)
  This new project, Indarra, is comprised of a Toronto-based cohort of musicians with chanteuse Sue Hutton formerly of Rhea’s Obsession, on vocals. The band pulls together composer, instrumentalist and synth wizards with pedigrees that include trip hop and groove works. The band takes its name from a Basque word for supernatural power an/or grace.

  Indarra makes its debut with a video available on YouTube with “Turn the Light Within,” the seventh from the album of 12 tracks. The visuals were partly filmed at a recent Pittsburgh performance and draw upon the artistic resources of the Ontario Arts Council. Thus, they are mesmerizing as well as highly professional in the creative sense, featuring shadowy, fiery images.  Hutton’s singing is backed by vocals from Athan Maroulis (Spahn Ranch, NØIR) — whose recognizable visage appears on split screen — and by intense and pervasive percussion in the form of Indian tabla.

  All the tracks I listened to were subtle, seductive and hypnotic, benefitting from the ethnic sound of Indian percussion, and each will be absolutely delicious fare for fans of downtempo, experimental dance and ethereal psychedelia.

Wake Up the Coma
Front Line Assembly
(Metropolis Records)
  It’s still possible for veteran band Front Line Assembly to pull some surprises after all these years, despite being appropriately pigeon-holed in the industrial category. They earned, after all, their place as a cornerstone in the foundations of the genre. Not that die-hard FLA fans will find any lack of adherence to the signature FLA sound which comes across emphatically, as it has for the past 32 years.

  The first of 12 tracks will satisfy the desire of FLA fans that rapid, complex industrial beats and Bill Leeb’s hissing vocals still rule as in days of old. Already by the second track, “Arbeit,” use of German lyrics in a harsh accusation, “Was machst du?!” (“What are you doing!?”) adds a touch of novelty as the pounding beats go on. The third track features Jimmy Urine of Mindless Self Indulgence in a delightful and respectful cover of Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus.”

  From there the album knocks out typically satisfying songs that showcase the characteristic features of Leeb’s oeuvre, sometimes slowly plodding, sometimes frenetically fast-paced. Love and hate are explored as are countless synthetic voices, rhythms and tempos. The eighth is the title track featuring Nick Holmes from Paradise Lost can be described as melodious, with distorted, stressed-out vocals and choppy beats.

  The balance of the tracks present rhythms that are sometimes hypnotic, frequently at a gallop but occasionally slowed into negative territory. The album concludes on a change of pace on Track 12 and with crooning by Chris Connelly of Revco.

  Overall, the album presents the best features of an opus by a mature band with capabilities that go beyond mastery and yet still able to summon up creativity as well as novelty without abandoning their beloved style.

Belirdi Gece and Narin Yalnizlik
She Past Away
(Metropolis Records)
  For those waiting on this for word on the availability of these two albums by Turkish post-punk duo She Past Away, Metropolis has secured the North American release of both. Selections from these albums, characterized by driving, mesmerizing poetry have become utter favorites and essential tracks at most every goth dance clubs in the past two years.

 

Museums

 

“Jewelry – The Body Transformed”
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  Currently on exhibit at this great New York City museum is an exhibit examining the concept of how jewelry acts upon and activates the body it adorns. Objects from many cultures and time periods are on display, some stunning, some merely curious. New Dark Age was drawn to those display items that seemed to speak to the gothic-industrial crowd and included these nearby items, from left to right: jeweled opera gloves; gem encrusted brass knuckles; crown-of-thorns in precious metals; and a silver-plated human mandible bone.


 

Merchant’s House
  We followed a lead in the sightseeing directory of New Goth City, “America’s Goth Scene Guide,” to pay a visit to The Merchant’s House Museum on East 4th St in Manhattan. There is much to be learned about the social and economic life of early New York at this National Historic Landmark, the only 19th Century family home in New York City preserved intact both inside and out.

  A guided tour ($10 – $15) not only gave us a look at the actual Duncan Phyfe furniture, gas chandeliers, decorative arts, clothing, photographs, books, household and personal items of the wealthy family who inhabited the home for over a hundred years; but provided detailed and sometimes appalling information on the laborious existence of the poor immigrant Irish girls who served them in back-breaking, round-the-clock duties, 24-7.

  Much insight was gained regarding the low-tech, dimly lit and chilly world that even the well-to-do experienced in the 19th and early 20th Century. It was even more sobering to learn of the onerous life of their servant-girls who, fleeing famine-stricken Ireland, were forced to live arduous lives and perform herculean labors for the most meager wages and a roof over their heads. 

 

Obituary

 

Jason Heveran (1979 – 2018)
  Jason Heveran, a.k.a. J-Sin Trioxin, singer-guitarist for the horror punk band Mister Monster, past away on Dec. 14, 2018. Details of the cause were not readily available.

  Jason founded Mister Monster in 1998, having served in several bands prior to that date, including the Empire Hideous and Spy Society 99. Between activities with Mister Monster, Jason played guitar with Michale Graves’s band The Undead and served as producer for West Virginia horror punks Blizkid.

  Mister Monster produced several albums and EPs, and was featured in the video game soundtrack for“Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, alongside Empire Hideous and Ghoultown.

  A personalized tribute to J-Sin can be read on the Myke Hideous Facebook fan page.

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