On Friday I met with Katie, a researcher from the London company who want to produce a documentary including Goth parents.
“It’s lovely here!” She exclaims in that wistful and amazed way I imagine strikes anyone transplanted from the capital to the hinterlands. “It’s so quiet too!”
It IS quiet dear reader, astonishingly so for a sundrenched anniversary WGW. As I showed her around the old town we weren’t even crushed by crowds of steampunks and photographers. We could navigate the Bizarre Bazaar easily. There was room in the pubs. Was it the end times? Time would tell, so it was on to some preparatory drinking of cocktails and then to the Spa for the Friday bands!
Sigue Sigue Sputnik Electronic
Sometimes I feel like an alien, sings Martin Degville of dystopian new wavers Sigue Sigue Sputnik Electronic. Well it’s good to see you don’t look it, what with the sequinned top straight out of Star Trek and the infamous pineapple on the head.
Even so, it’s a hard rocking, tight and breakneck slice of filthy electro rock. Polished, hilarious and amazingly professional – I saw SSS play London’s Slimelight years ago and it was a hilarious shambles.
Now it’s Gene Genie, Degville in his Bowie phase. To overcome Spa acoustics there’s more weight on volume than actual precision or control! But it’s still a rousing blast of a track. I wonder if the crowd possibly need to be drunker to appreciate SSS?
They end on Love Missile of course. It’s effortless, madness, and the crowd lap it up. It’s easy to see why they were so popular when they broke out, and why they still command a loyal fan base.
My first time with this legendary American band. They dodged customs and immigration security to get here, but it hasn’t affected their enthusiasm at all.
Andy Deane’s voice is a sonorous chant channelling the best excesses of Nineties Goth. Backed by melodramatic guitar stylings, it’s a wonderfully indulgent trip into fulsome Goth metal past.
Their first two songs cut fast and loose, but they finish on a knife edge. “Find forever gone” is massively bombastic, and the band range crazily over the stage, energetic andand yet posed for every photo the crowd snaps. The lyrics are familiar love and loss, but delivered with a quivering American passion at contrasts with our stoic English Goth sound.
Something I discover very quickly is that every song crashes to an abrupt end! Literally the last thing I heard in this song was Andy saying “I don’t know. Oh, thank you!” Even HE was surprised when a song ends.
Bella Morte are bombastic, overly dramatic, and going down a storm! “Mourning Sun” is a fantastic soundtrack to heartbreak and, uniquely, ends beautifully. Their “Plan 9” song at the end is just a bonus for a very satisfied crowd.
It’s the atmosphere that’s suddenly been lacking all night. Swirling lights, billowing smoke and an ominously intoning computer voice. It’s the Cruxshadows demonstrating their mastery of stage presence.
Rogue is the twisted ringmaster, and his violinists and twin Soviet cyber dancer assassins are his performers. The band make it seem effortless but it’s clearly a well rehearsed and polished act utterly at odds with the cheerfully ramshackle efforts of Bella Morte!
Rogue can’t help himself but scale the barricades and sing directly into the faces – or more accurately the mobile phones – of the packed front row. The band are recording perfect, but the audience has a shrill passion that I haven’t seen for a band yet.
Amidst the high tech, the wireless violins, the electro drum kit and lap top and synth their sole conventional guitarist seems very alone, like he’s wandered on stage from another band.
The lyrics are the oft-copied convention of techno angels, cyber love and shattered android dreams delivered inin Rogue’s instantly recognisable vibrato.
It’s deftly sliced and smoothly served cyber classics, and a packed Spa can’t help itself – the crowd surges every time Rogue climbs on something or launches himself into the crowd, shrieking and singing along.
He’s in the crowd now, so our attention is divided between him and his dueling blonde space gladiators – it’s delightfully overdone melodrama that even a stage soaked in dry ice can’t hope to conceal.
It’s been a night of synth flavoured excess and exuberance, an overly dramatic performance that has put other Spa gigs to shame. A grandiose and glorious procession of alternative entertainment – and we’re only half way through!