In this article we explore the Sounds that have shaped Goth Culture, present, past & future!
Depeche Mode - September 22nd - Starplex Pavillion - Dallas, TX
I did it - It finally happened: I saw Depeche Mode perform live- For some reason the specific pleasure has escaped after being a fan for over 25 years. Everytime we were in the same town at the same time, something would ALWAYS come up to prevent me from seeing them.
I've ever been at multiple festivals they were at & STILL managed to miss them. I did catch Dave Gahan do his solo thing a couple of times in NYC about 15 years ago, but I was finally ready for a spin with the whole deal.
Now Depeche Mode per this article might be a be a band that you would equate more with the 1980's but they enjoyed their greatest commercial success with 1990's Violator & it's follow up 1993's Songs of Faith and Devotion.
With the latter album it started an LP-every-four-years cycle that still exists to this day leading up to this year's excellent Spirit that this show is currently part of the tour in support of.
Beginning with Going Backwards they aimed for maximum impact, deviating occasionally from the studio arrangements but almost always in favor of more rather than less. Louder. Bigger. Busier. Admittedly, seas of dedicated fans demand a certain amplification, but the approach was at times exhausting, especially when it risked steamrolling the subtleties and nuance of songs like World In My Eyes
Principal songwriter and sometime singer Martin Gore delivered an emotional version of Home that stood out for its spare simplicity, as did his vocal turns on A Question of Lust and Somebody.
Not least because they were surrounded by so much bombast, older tracks like “Stripped,” the gorgeous new “Cover Me” and a gratuitous but lovely cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes” turbo-boosted already reliable anthems like “Never Let Me Down Again” and “Enjoy the Silence” felt somewhat unnecessary no matter how well Gahan sold them with his swagger. It was as if the group, having made its hard-earned way to the top of the heap, was still hustling to justify the huge crowds by abandoning some of the traits that once set it apart.
So Much Love
Barrel of a Gun
A Pain That I'm Used To
In Your Room
World in My Eyes
A Question of Lust (acoustic)
Where's the Revolution
Enjoy the Silence
Never Let Me Down Again
Walking in My Shoes
"Heroes" (David Bowie cover)
I Feel You
Drab Majesty - September 11th - Three Links - Dallas, TX
A group that would definitely fall in the future category - I stumbled on to them as I was already in the neighborhood at a separate gig & swung by this venue that my friend owns to discover this intense & visually stimulating freakshow by this futuristic duo known as Drab Majesty.
Comprised of former Marriages’ drummer Andrew Clinco and tourmate Alex Nicolaou, alter egos Deb Demure and Mona D respectively, the two performed tracks primarily from The Demonstration as well as a few songs off their 2015 album, Careless. Slow and brooding, Drab dug into the mesmerizing track for “Hallow” before delving into “The Foyer”, a hauntingly dreamy soundscape that kickstarts Careless.
Harking back to 80’s synth nostalgia, “Too Soon to Tell”‘s slick icy vocals with darkwave undertones flowed seamlessly into Drab Majesty’s contemplative track for “Not Just a Name”, commemorating Deb’s ability to mold his craft from something familiar to work that’s deeply personal and genuine alongside flawless transitions from the upbeat to the somber within his 40 minute set.
Lords of Acid w/ Christian Death - Oct 16th - Trees - Dallas, TX
As your disapproving parents might say, Lords of Acid leave little to the imagination. Their lyrics are unapologetically raunchy and sex-positive and their industrial-flavored dance music pounds with the subtlety of a jackhammer.
Perhaps because of these attributes, Lords of Acid were a key entry-point into the dance music scene as it took shape in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The group’s first two albums, 1991’s Lust and 1994’s Voodoo-U, were particularly influential on the sound and style of early rave culture. In recent months, Lords of Acid have begun reissuing these out-of-print classics on vinyl and now, the Belgian group are on this tour of the States (their first in 6 years) in which they are performing Voodoo-U in its entirety.
Dubbed the Sextreme Fest ‘17 tour, the group, ever a rotating menagerie of artists and musicians, the one constant over the years being founder Praga Khan. Lead singer DJ Mea Fischer is powerhouse delivering a tour de force performance of slaying in style & smashing (literally) anything that was in her path & when she ran out of those, she actively went LOOKING for more things to break.
Not out of anger but seemingly out of sheer enjoyment to unleash the strength she was feeling & the band behind her tackled the music with equal attitude.
Assisting Mea on the mic was new addition Devon Disaster, who had joined the band and tour just a month before the show, seemed like she had been here her whole life & brought a veterans' confidence of equal seductress & submissive.
The Genitorturers - November 5th - Trees - Dallas, TX
The Genitorturers out of Orlando, Florida are an industrial metal band whom originated during the 1990 Florida hardcore music scene. The band, founded by lead singer Gen, was initially called The Festering Genitorturers, shortening their name thereafter.
In 1993, they inked a deal with IRS Records and released their dÃ©but album, 120 Days of Genitorture. Since then, they have released: Sin City (1998 Cleopatra), Machine Love (2000 Cleopatra), Flesh Is The Law EP (2002 Cleopatra) and Blackheart Revolution (2009 Retribution Music). The band is currently out on their 25 Years of Depravity tour & Genitorturers wasted no time in diving in to the debaucherous live show they are known for, albeit a bit toned down from their earlier years. Nonetheless they were on top of their game even with a hobbled venue sound system due to circumstances beyond their control. No sign of aging rockers in this band as GenÂ took to the stage full of vigor, her sinister, sleek performance coupled with her powerful voice domineering the crowd.
Along with pornographic theatrics, they fuse elements of hardcore punk, metal, and industrial electronics into their music. Their provocative live shows have helped bridge the gap between the fetish scene and the music scene. They like to call their live shows the Fetish Music Realm, which utilize audience volunteers and are filled with sexually charged antics.
All systems were go; a hi-octane performance that never let up for a split second. They cranked through a couple dozen songs without any sign of slowing down, with the crowd well in to the show. At this rate they will be going for another 25 years, if not more!
Ministry - November 11th - Gas Monkey Live - Dallas, TX
Al Jourgensen, the maniac of my nightmares, front man for Ministry, the first band that I truly feared. Sure I was a little nervous first time we saw Slayer when I was 16 & sure my first taste of a mosh pit with Anthrax at 14 was a tad nerve racking but I'll never forget my childhood friend Chris, who moved away as sophmore only for my family to relocate to his new town our Senior year. By then he had a whole new thing going & he introduced me to 1989's The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste and it scared the bejesus out of me.
When we went to see them on the Psalm 69 tour they even had a chain length fence separating them from the crowd just to illustrate the potential depravity of the audience, having to protect yourself from your own crowd! It could have been a stunt but it worked & we were hooked. I know that time marches on & I'm glad that after a hiatus, Ministry is back but their was no semblance of that menacing machine that they once were here in this live setting.
Always forward thinking still, they did something very smart by partnering with Death Grips to introduce themselves to the current tastemakers which made for a very interesting night of music (see our separate review of Death Grips here) but by the time Ministry took stage the crowd had thinned considerably.
Inflatable chickens that resemble Donald Trump take the stage. Known as one of the pioneers of Industrial Metal, opens their set with “Let’s Go” and if you’re familiar with the bands albums, you know that vocal effects are common in their sound. I noticed immediately that Jourgensen had those effects turned down and seemingly cleaner vocals. He did have two separate microphones, presumably with different vocal effects. Even Jourgensen seemed surprised by apathetical the crowd was "I've never known Dallas to be this fucking tame!"
Sure it was a Saturday night but the post-millenials seemed indifferent & those that came for Ministry seemed old & it was more like date night for former goth kids turned parents. At best Ministry just seemed like a pretty good Metal band with a muscular take on dance music, at worst, they felt like a bad Prong cover band. Al I love you but your bringing me down. Thanks for the memories.
Punch in the Face
Rio Grande Blood
Just One Fix
Gates of Steel (DEVO cover)