Stand up, don't be shy.
People, people, people!
Get up! Get up! Get up!
-- Repo: the Genetic Opera, We Started This Op'ra Shit!
So 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.