Since there was such a hubub about my last article (including a letter to The Belfry Network calling for me to be "fired" as I'm not representing the website well in the eyes of that particular reader), I will be including the following disclaimer with every article I write here from now on. Just so people are absolutely sure. I know most of you get that I write opinion pieces but it seems I have to spell it out. I also want to see more writers offering their views on the site, even if I disagree. We don't grow and understand without debate.
Like it? No? Well get used to seeing it because it's going to be at the top of every article from now on. Are we happy people-who-think-I'm-representing-The-Belfry-Network-badly? Trick question - you're probably never happy unless I'm a yes man validating what you think. Or I stop writing. As far as I'm concerned I'm not stopping any time soon. Don't like it? You don't have to read it. Better yet, get writing and tell me why I'm wrong with some evidence to back it up.
Present your rebuttal
Goth Devoid of Live Bands
Something that I see pop up a lot is people saying they have nothing happening in their local area. This is part of the reason why I wrote the articles about getting your local scene going, events and DJing. But I also hear about stuff like bands not being common or even not playing at all in people's local scenes compared to others which seem to get all the bands constantly.
For me I happen to live in one of those places that doesn't get a lot of goth bands touring unless they are local or interstate. When a goth band does come to Australia, the promoters usually forget there are more cities in Australia than Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Even Industrial and EBM lineups who are usually three people at the most skip Perth and Adelaide over. If you live in Canberra, Hobart or Darwin - forget it! No one comes to those places and I know there are local goth scenes in Canberra and Hobart.
Why does this happen? It's all about money. Touring in Australia is very expensive for bands. It costs a lot to fly here from anywhere else in the world. Cities aside from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne are smaller and don't get the numbers to the gigs. Plus it's a big extra cost to transport to Adelaide or Perth. A short three city eastern seaboard tour has less travel between cities and more people turn up. Going to a gig from Perth is tough as it's west coast to east coast but for Adelaide it's a 12 hour drive/bus to Melbourne or a couple of hours by plane. If you can get away for it.
Been looking for an excuse to post this video for a long, long time :D
This does have an effect on the local scenes in smaller cities though. Over the years I have known so many people who have left Adelaide to live in Sydney or Melbourne because the local scenes are better there and they get live bands we don't. So in a way it makes it even harder to get decent attendance when bands play here as we lose local numbers.
Why am I talking about this? I imagine there are other cities across the world in the same situation as Adelaide and Perth who don't get live gigs and lose people to the cities that do. So these examples can be applied worldwide.
So when I see people talking about how it sucks they never get live bands I know the feeling. Cities like this are pretty much relying on whatever club nights they can get going as the main events. With a smaller scene it is also less likely for local goth bands to pop up. But it is not impossible.
I will admit that even I get an attack of the green-eyed monster at times when I see amazing gigs happening in other places. But I also get a little annoyed when a festival line up in Germany or USA is being shared around and someone from an eastern seaboard Australian city complains "Why don't we ever get anything like that?" Ohhhh you have no idea! At least you guys get something compared to nothing. I'm pretty sure the people in Hobart think that about us when we get a rare gig too.
Cat's head gets all the cool shit
For context this is the sort of town Adelaide is right now. Live metal gig - great attendance. I managed a metal DJ event on new years eve and it did better than my regular event Cybermorph ever has. There are multiple one day metal festivals per year and they all do well. One thing about the metal crowd, they support whatever is put on even if it's not exactly their cup of tea. The goth subculture can learn a lot from that. Punk stuff does reasonably well. When punk was bigger in the late 90s so was goth. The big thing in the last couple of years has been local live electronic acts with EDM, chiptune and post-punk influences. They do regular gigs with varying line ups and they are fairly well attended. I'm not complaining, it is simply how it is.
Having access to live goth bands is amazing but it is not the be all and end all. A local goth scene can survive without them running club events and other gatherings. We can make do with what we have. It's still better to get out and experience something in meat space than spend all your time online.
Ok, take a look at this.
I get that it is meant to be a parody. At least thats the intention and the person who made it is a comedian. But even as a parody I think it really misses the mark. The following is what it's supposed to be a parody of.
Personally I don't see it. All they have done is taken the opening line that sounds a little like saying "goth gang" and built it around that. According to the hip hop crowd commenting on the facebook upload of the video it's hilarious but from what I have seen most goths hate it. I can see why.
As a whole, the video makes goths look terrible. It is a parody created by an outsider co-opting goth. Wearing black, some skulls, "hawt gawth chix lesbos", dreaming about killing your parents and a Marilyn Manson tee. Pretty much every outsider stereotype there is. And that is the problem.
I'm sure on a hip hop level it is spot on but on a goth level it's not even close. It makes us look bad. Good satire and parody laughs with its target. This is clearly laughing at goth. It is meant to be demeaning.
This isn't the first time we have had something with gangs and hip hop culture either. Did you know Sisters of Mercy once toured with Public Enemy? This was around the time Public Enemy's album "Fear of a Black Planet" was released. Sisters of Mercy has the song "Black Planet". Could there a more perfect coincidence? Surely this worked out...
(picture from post-punk.com)
It just didn't work. To be fair it sounds like the venues, promoters and record companies just didn't like such a clashing mix on the same line up. But it also sounds like the crowd were only there for their thing anyway, as evidenced in mentioning some of the Public Enemy fans leaving as Sisters of Mercy went on. I'm sure if they swapped places on the line up the same would have happened too. At Big Day Out 2000 I walked out on Red Hot Chili Peppers as I had no interest in seeing them after Nine Inch Nails finished so I understand it.
Ironically I saw Public Enemy live in the late 90s (a friend was sick and sold me a cheap ticket) and they put on a great show. They had no support acts. The only opportunity I have ever had to see Sisters of Mercy was the same night Psychic TV were playing a once-off Adelaide exclusive gig for the Adelaide Festival of Arts. I stand by that decision as it was a magical night. Besides, Sisters might come back. I doubt Genesis P ever will. Two legends in dark alt music booked on the same night in Adelaide - a city no one comes to. The stars must have aligned just right for that to happen.
More recently, the band Prayers has heavy gang influences in their self-genred "Cholo Goth" music. I have listened to some of their music and I think some is awful and some is ok. To be honest it sounds more like it should be called Cholo Synth or Cholo Wave to me than anything goth. Credit where credit is due though, Prayers are interacting with the local goth community and I have heard plenty of positive things about them. Maybe it is a regional thing where the locals get it and outsiders don't.
Something else worth mentioning is how little influences from gang culture have started to worm their way in. Clothing (I guess you'd call it a ghetto style) mixing in with other styles common in goth subculture. Even some gang slang like the term "thicc" being adapted as "gothicc". It is a joke based on thicc's use as a meme but we have seen people take these jokes seriously over time before. The ever expanding "types of goth" I'm looking at you.
Linking goth to gang stuff is dangerous. It has nothing to do with what goth is about. We do not glorify violence and crime. An interest in death and the macabre does not imply a link to violence too. The interests of goth and gang cultures don't match up.
It's not like gangs and hip hop culture are a new thing either. Goth and hip hop survived separately for years. Both subcultures have been around about the same time (both starting in the 70s? I could be wrong regarding hip hop) with neither needing to merge with the other before. It is ok for things to be different and for people to like different things.
Goth is open to new people getting involved but getting involved does not automatically make everything you are into goth by default. Nor does it mean that we must accept you as goth just because. I'm sure the hip hop crowd might let me party with them but if I claimed to be gangsta they'd laugh at me.
[laughing in gangsta at me because I deserve it]
So what has changed? Why are we starting to see the gang thing now? I think it's a by-product of the "everything is goth" mentality. But unlike things like pastel goth, cyber goth, nu goth and even health goth (Seriously? Haven't there been black workout clothes since forever?), gang culture is big enough in the mainstream to be a threat. Gang culture glorifies violence and crime where the others do not. We do not need the bullshit we copped with stuff like the Columbine massacre all over again thanks to outside influences bringing their violence in with them.
In goth, if bands don't like each other they will use subtle songs and rumours to have a dig at each other. One such example :
Never has tension and drama in goth subculture escalated into killing. We can't say the same for gang culture. We don't want that in the goth subculture. It seems for the most part the two subcultures don't want to mix either and thats fine. It's okay for things to be different and we don't need everything to be goth.
Something fun to end on. The article I linked with Sisters and Public Enemy was originally based on one written by The Gothquisition's own Andi Harriman. You can read that article here.