"Night the voluptuous, night the chaste
Spreads her dark limbs, a vaulted splendour,
Above the intolerable waste."
-- Aleister Crowley, "A Fragment"
So, last month I got myself out to the revival of Solace at its new venue, the Prop Box Theater out in Oakland. (Yes, I'm only just now getting to writing about it. No, I refuse to take responsibility for my own laziness.)
Solace, itself, was exceptional and elegant as always, with Persephone and Burning Skies spinning for us while some of those with better dancing skills than your own dear Mr. M made excellent use of the new dance floor.
The new venue is really lovely. Bigger dance floor than the previous space - or maybe it just feels like it. Definitely more room for a bigger and better bar (provided by Lorelei). The only complaints I have are: a) that there is less seating (tired legs); and b) less parking.
That said, I'm going to be in attendance at tonight's Solace anyway because, as always, I love the ambiance and the culture of the attendees and the ability to converse over the music and dance in a variety of fashions (well, observe others dancing in a variety of fashions, anyway - I am learning to waltz, though, with the help of Persephone and her main squeeze Charles).
In further catching up news: I also managed to make it out to the Aesthetic Perfection show back on 6/24. Amazing performances by Blackopz and [X]-RX as the opening acts, building the energy up for the headliner. And, of course, the AP part of the show was, to put it bluntly, really fucking awesome. They did an excellent job of taking the "turned up to 11" energy from the openers and cranking it up another notch or two with a lot of stuff off of the last two albums.
Anyway, hope to see you out and about, my darklings!
-- Mr. M.
"I bet you missyou miss my head!I bet you miss my head!"-- The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, "Do You Miss My Head"So I'm just going to admit to being a big slack-ass over the last two months.Now that we've gotten past that and you've all forgiven me, we can move on to more important matters that have nothing to do with my failures as a human being.The timing of my return to civilized discourse is, of course, excellent because it means I get to announce the return of that most awesome Oakland goth club/salon - Solace
!They've changed venues over to the Prop Box Studio (
925 45th Ave) and are having their first return event on Friday, June 8th.For those of you who haven't been to Club Solace before - it's a combination of dark ambient music club and gothic social salon. The music is elegant and the volume kept low so that even though there is waltzing and swirly dancing going on, one can still sit with a drink and converse with one's fellow darklings (on art, philosophy, history, and many other topics) without having to raise voices or keep commentary terse to minimize misunderstanding. While I am (clearly) a fan of loud, beat-driven music and the clubs that play it, Solace provides a delightful change of pace - re-introducing some Victorian-style sensibilities into the gothic scene and allowing a little more substance to bleed into our morbid stylings.
I hope to see some of you there in the near future!In other news, it seems SFGothic.net has seen a steady influx of "likes" in the last month or so... but, much to my surprise, a fair number of them seem to be from places like Italy, Germany, and Brazil. Now, I'm not one for humility (seriously, guys... read some of my other posts). But this surprise definitely falls into the pleasant yet radically unexpected
side of things. The internet still occasionally leaves this deviant a little in awe, what with all the inter-connectivity and stuff.That said, I'd like to voice my welcome to our new readers from other continents!And now some upcoming events!06/02
- Some Like It Hot Ball
(San Mateo) and Empire of Death
photo exhibit (San Francisco)06/08 - The return of SOLACE!! (Oakland)06/16 - Club Nocturne (San Francisco) and King Kong vs. Godzilla showing (San Leandro)06/20 - iVardensphere at DNA Lounge (San Francisco)06/24 - Aesthetic Perfection at DNA Lounge (San Francisco)06/26 - God Module
at DNA Lounge (San Francisco)And don't forget about Death Guild every Monday night at DNA Lounge and Dark Shadows on the second and fourth Fridays at the Cat Club.-- Mr. M.
"Unable to fight it. It's pulling tighter on the noose. Pumping concrete through my veins. No way to get out of these fucking chains."-- Imperative Reaction, "Panic Cycle"I had a busy weekend. Then I kept going out to do more stuff instead of staying in and writing a blog post as I intended.
Oh well. Here it is.I finally got out to Die Maschinen back on Friday night. It was pretty cool, all-told.It was a little strange, as I didn't get out to the Cat until after 11. But the place was fairly empty upon my arrival. Yet, by midnight, the numbers jumped about three-fold. Not as packed as, say, Dark Shadows, but still a fairly solid attendance.My only complaint was, at one point while waiting for the slated performance
, the DJ in the back room seemed to be playing some kind of meta-beat and jamming songs into that arrangement - so you couldn't really tell when one song was ending and another beginning... not that any of the pieces were fairly distinguished, themselves. So, as we waited for the coming performance, it just sort of dragged the energy down in the back room with unending beats that didn't even really inspire dancing.Bad form, that.Eventually Demodulate played in the back. Very danceable, which was good.
Got some serious work out on the floor thanks to them, alongside my new acquaintances from DG last week: Collin, Amelia, and Pythos. On the other hand, I was under the impression that we were there for a Down Machine Down CD release party... Maybe a last moment cancellation?So, I finally got back out to Solace on Saturday, after all these months of fate fucking with my time-table.
So imagine my disappointment when I heard that Solace
is going on a couple-month hiatus while Persephone
find a new venue. Turns out they've been having some problems with the Vagabond's new pricing scale which seems to fail to take into account the fact that the Ballroom is fairly small (ruling out large crowds entirely) and in a fairly questionable part of Oakland (further depressing attendance). Needless to say, very small events like Solace
and fellow Ballroom events the Cell
and (recently) Club Nocturne
can't really afford a price-jack based on unreasonable expectations from the VB's commune-inhabitant/caretakers.It's a shame, because the Vagabond is a very awesome space. But the fact is that they're basically pricing themselves out of the small venue market. And the event promoters talk with each other, so when one of those promoters finds another suitable venue
for a better price, the VB crew are like to lose the majority of their events in one fell swoop
.Regardless, Solace was awesome, if a bit morose from the announcement of the expected and necessary changes. Persephone and Dark Moon sound like they're shooting for a January reboot. So let's keep our black-nailed little fingers crossed, shall we?
As to Death Guild
... Well, it's fucking Death Guild
. It was awesome, as always
. I can't usually afford to go to DG as often as I'd like. Not because of expense, mind you. I just hate going to work the next morning feeling more
undead than usual.So for me to hit DG two weeks in a row was a bit unusual. Last week I was able to take Tuesday off to escape the issue of getting up and being functional. This week, though, I got a last minute birthday party summons (BTW: HAPPY BIRTHDAY JENNIE!! Also, Happy B-Day to Tawny and all those other folks that were celebrating birthdays that night as well... Seriously, there were fucking birthdays everywhere on Monday)
, so I managed to swing a deal with my boss to show up to work really late so that I could actually get some sleep and a shower before being expected to actually work on Tuesday.Anyway... A busy but awesome week, all told. A week that's continuing right into this coming weekend - I'll be checking out the Vespertine Circus on Friday night for their first show of the season (missing Dark Shadows this month, unfortunately) and the second instance of DJ Burning Skies' Club Nocturne on Saturday (Reverence is just a bit too far for me this week - in distance and expense - but I hope they have an AWESOME HALLOWEEN PARTY despite my absence), both at the Vagabond Ballroom (I know, first I complain, then I go to the very venue I'm bitching about). It's
going to be a very
Oakland weekend.-- Mr. M.
"Everybody, everybody! Oh yeah!Stand up, don't be shy.People, people, people!Get up! Get up! Get up!Everybody: TESTIFY!"-- Repo: the Genetic Opera, We Started This Op'ra Shit!Dark ShadowsSo I got to enjoy another evening of Dark Shadows
on Friday (7/15/11).DJs Melting Girl and Daniel Skellington have
built a fine industrial and gothic club night with DS, and I look forward to it continuing for some time. And, as always, the Visceral Vixens
were a treat to watch (I've started giving my favorites nicknames, since I don't know most of their real names - maybe I'll start doing a little "Vixen of the Month
" entry?).The only issue (and some secondary sources seem to agree) was that this third night of SF's newest (and already tied for the best) goth night
was extremely crowded
. I observed some element of this in my last post on DS as well: the way the Cat Club is structured makes the space extremely tight
. And Dark Shadows' seems to be already falling victim to its own success on this account.Is this something that can be fixed without costing DS attendance? I'm not sure. As I mentioned in that previous post, having a vendor take up one whole "sitting section" of the Cat Club certainly exacerbates an already problematic situation.
But the crowd was big enough that I'm not even sure this fix would help in the long haul.Or maybe I'm crying "fire" over a candle. Maybe the other night was simply an unexpected and irregular (but still good for the promoters) attendance spike and, with time, as DS becomes more of a fixture of the scene perhaps this will become less of a problem...But now it sounds like I'm actually hoping against their continued success and that's not the case at all.
I want DS to be wildly successful. And I always want there to be a crowd of awesome and interesting gothic folk keeping it strong.So maybe I should just shut up about it?
I finally got the opportunity to attend Solace
last night (7/16/11).The short version for the tl;dr folks: Solace is lovely and charming and intimate and Meph plans on making it one of his regularly attended events.Now the long version -Happening once a month at the Vagabond Ballroom in Oakland (which it co-inhabits with other monthly events such as the Vespertine Circus and, my newest indulgence, the Cell), you already know that the event is going to be intimate and comfortable.And DJs Persephone and Darkmoon have absolutely focused their energies towards taking advantage of these attributes of the venue.Solace might be more aptly considered a salon (much like the Cell), in the classic sense of a group of people gathering in a comfortable space, listening to music, and indulging in company and conversation (from politics to art to philosophy... I even spent an hour discussing all-shows-geek with one fellow).
Between the tenor and low-volume of the music (don't expect much industrial here, children!), the insistence on a dress code (no jeans, no sneakers!), and the open, genial nature of the attendees (who are a very welcoming but still close-knit crowd), it almost seems silly to call it a "club", at least in the modern sense of the word.No thumping beats. No go-go dancers. No yelling over the music to a bartender that doesn't care who you are so long as you pay for that drink (speaking of which - while the selection may be a little limited at the modest little bar, the drinks are fair priced and well-mixed for your money).No. Solace is for those with an interest in a more classical and elegant Romantic Goth scene (think Byronic and Victorian) involving pleasant interaction more than loud music, conversation more than gyration, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere more than the dour "isolation in a crowd" that many a club (and maybe a bit too much of the scene in general) offers.Along with the natural ambiance of the Ballroom, the music that provides the mood for Solace tends towards swirly and "classic" goth, classical and neo-classical, ambient, and chamber music - with a smattering of little charming bits from things like the soundtracks of Labyrinth and Legend. And the dancing ranges from the well-known and flowing "goth style" to twirling waltzes and cotillions - it actually makes this dark soul want to learn ballroom dancing so that he can join in.And now, my favorite part - the attendees. Never have I walked into a club and been so warmly welcomed and made to feel so comfortable and relaxed. Half the attendees know each other, but, instead of sitting in a little clique and excluding the irregulars, these lovely people are among them - personally welcoming them, asking how they like the club, and initiating (and sustaining) pleasant conversation in little knots throughout the venue space.I would like to personally thank DJs Persephone and Darkmoon, Lorelei the Bartendress, the lovely Alexis (of Alexis Berger Designs), the delightful Madame Deidre Anaid (of the Cell) and Steven, Eve, Charles #1 (the dashing doorman), and Charles #2 (my geek-fu conversationalist) for making my first evening in attendance a lovely and thoroughly bewitching one.-- Mr. M.