There are few better ways to kick off the holiday season than with a good concert. 2018 was no exception in this regard - the DNA Lounge brought in a trio of goth heavy hitters spanning the last 40 years in. The night was opened by Curse Mackey, who seems to have worked with just about everyone on just about everything from Thrill Kill Kult to Pigface. Second up was a relatively new group called the Bellwether Syndicate (whose work I've grown quite fond of since that show), comprised of William Faith (best known for being one of the founders of Faith and the Muse) and long-time goth DJ Scary Lady Sarah. They really capture the feel of classic goth and post-punk while still sounding fresh. Last and certainly not least were gothic veterans Clan of Xymox, still going strong and sounding as powerful as they did when they were first founded in 1981.ev.
A month or two back (tired of me saying this over and over?) I had opportunity to attend the Aprilween edition of Turbo Drive at the DNA Lounge and dance the night away in costume to fine music and so much artificial fog that the Sisters of Mercy would have to admit their envy.
Well, I was sort of in costume. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to make it at the last minute, so I didn't actually put together a costume. Danny Delorean, however did an awesome Driver cosplay from Drive that night, down to the varsity jacket.
Okay, enough of me going on about a night over a month ago. Here are the pictures, few though they be.
Back in March of 2017 (I know, I'm still cleaning out my picture collection) I attended yet another Turbo Drive at the DNA Lounge to see yet another synthwave concert, that time Pixel Memory and Protector-101. When I wasn't dancing I was snapping pictures of the performers as they blew our minds and melted n>0 faces in the crowd.
Aw, hell, I don't have anything witty to say right now. Here are the pictures.
20161228: The DNA has started a Patreon account to accept donations!
20161222: It seems that the DNA Lounge is coming up with contingency plans, and they need our help!
JWZ bought the space that is now the DNA roughly 17 years ago and during that time it's become one of the premiere hotspots of SF nightlife. Just about any kind of event you can imagine has been thrown here, from a local motorcycle club renting it out while their primary clubhouse was undergoing repairs to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's silver anniversary, and raves a-plenty over the years. Many have come to see a burlesque show or two at the DNA, or catch an up-and-coming band in a new and strange genre of music, or even come for a slice of pizza and a glass of beer while hoping to be tapped for the stage show of Point Break Live once upon a time. I don't think anybody can easily count the number of concerts the DNA's hosted over the years (though I've no doubt that JWZ would probably know off the top of his head). Long time readers are probably aware that I usually haunt Death Guild, the country's longest running gothic/industrial club night as well as Turbo Drive, the only synthwave dance night I've found anywhere in the country.
In the last two years attendance has dropped off noticeably, and it's hurt the DNA Lounge in a real way. JWZ says that he can't afford to subsidize it anymore, and it might have to go out of business for good.
All I can ask of any of you, gentlebeings, is this:
Please re-share this post far and wide, so that as many people can see it. If you'll be in the Bay Area for any length of time, please visit the DNA Lounge. Go on a night of the week and pay the club a visit, it's not expensive to get in and the people there are genuinely cool folks; treat them well and they'll treat you well. Give the music on that night a fair listen that night. You might like it, you might not, but either way you'll be exposed to something new. If you can't make a concert or a club night (or the night's really not your thing), visit DNA Pizza next door and pick up breakfast, get lunch, or maybe have a slice or two and a cold one after work. DNA Pizza's open 24x7 and they have some of the best pizza in SF. Hell, if you're on the other side of the country and there's no way you'll make it to California in time, consider buying something from the online store?
The DNA Lounge is a fixture in the community of San Francisco. You can see just about any kind of live act, hear styles of music you've never heard before, and dance until your legs are sore. This club means a lot to many of us and we don't want to see one of the few places that we can be ourselves go away. Please, if you can, help JWZ out and keep the DNA Lounge alive.
In October of this year, I once again made my pilgrimage to the DNA Lounge to spend the night dancing at Turbo Drive, the club's monthly (sort of) synthwave dance party. A sucker for the old-school synths as always, I dressed up in my finest to see Vice Reine, Night Club, and the Beautiful Machines perform live. I especially wanted to attend because that particular night celebrated the release of Night Club's first full album, entitled Requiem for Romance (listen to it!) This was one of the few nights where Turbo Drive was held on the main dancefloor of the DNA and not at Code Word, the side club upstairs. All three bands put on top-notch shows; Night Club was enjoyable as usual, and I really got into the Beautiful Machines.
In my photo album, you'll find a couple of photographs of a woman in a hand-made, full cyber costume constructed especially for Turbo Drive. Her name is Mikaela Holmes, and she specializes in wearable art of all kinds, from leather to optical fibre, low-light reflective to hand-formed electroluminescants. Photographs (hers and mine) don't do her work justice, you really have to see it up close to really appreciate it. She even has a bunch of tutorials up at Instructables. If you get a chance, stop by her Facebook page and check it out.
Anyway, here are the pictures I took.
The week of 21 March 2016 marked the 23rd anniversary of Death Guild, the longest running goth/industrial night in the United States and second-oldest in the world. In a community where club nights may exist for a handful of years and then vanish, only to be replaced by a new team of promoters Death Guild stands out as the archetypal club night: If you visit SF and you like to dance, you really need to stop by the DNA Lounge on Monday night. The evening of 23 March 2016 was a very special night indeed because three locally prominent bands performed that night to celebrate: Good, old-fashioned goth from Roadside Memorial, storytelling new-school goth by Anthony Jones and his band featuring UnWoman on electric cello and vocals and accompanied by Ariellah, and Information Society celebrating the release of their latest album, a collection of covers of music that helped shape their sound called Orders of Magnitude (which debuted at #10 on the Billboard Electronic Dance Music Charts).
Roadside Memorial is a band that very much plays in the old-school vein - rumbling bass, reedy guitars and at least two octaves of vocals that are fun to listen to and pretty much assured to get you dancing if you're familiar with the music already (full disclosure: I'm not but I'm going to be tracking their work down soon). The closest I can compare Anthony Jones to is the Cruxshadows, because Jones tells coherent stories in at least some of his songs, vamps for the crowd in some of the same ways, and has a few distinct story arcs that cover multiple songs (which I always seem to fall in the middle of, for some reason). I didn't expect to see UnWoman on stage with them - I haven't seen her live since Hexenfest a couple of years back. InSoc was... InSoc. If you've listened to their work over the years, turn it up a couple of notches and you've got their stage show. It's fun, you never know what to expect from them (say, coming out wearing spandex hoods and calf-length mad scientist coats), and if you know the songs it's hard to not sing along. Which I spent much of the night doing, I'm not ashamed to admit.
I think you can tell that I had an incredible time that night. When the bands weren't on stage I was dancing to the DJs (perhaps a little too hard...) and generally having a great time.
Anyway, here are the pictures I took from the dancefloor. When I wasn't taking pictures I was singing at the tops of my lungs or cutting a rug.