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  • Goth Weekend : Theatre Review/Preview

    Earlier this week I was invited to the Live Theatre to check out a new play, ‘Goth Weekend’.

    Reading over the synopisis I decided to attend, with more than a hint of scepticism.

    Although my interests are multi-faceted, I am extremely passionate about the Goth scene, it’s been something I embraced since a teenager and I did spend 13 years as part of Newcastle’s leading Goth Nights… so, in that time I’ve seen lots of TV, Film, Radio, etc. poke into the Goth scene and often not quite being very reflective.

    The set up for the play is fairly simple. Widower Father, Kenneth (Sean McKenzie) meets Belinda (Jessica Johnson) much to the disproval of their respective children Anna (Amy Trigg) and Simon/Bram (Gurjeet Singh)

    It’s a simple trope of opposites attract, middle-aged Kenneth being encouraged to move on by daughter Anna : albeit she’d prefer someone closer to her deceased mother than Gothic Musician Belinda, whilst her son would prefer his mother to re-kindle with his father, who is the singer in a band headlining Whitby Goth Weekend… whilst Belinda is playing cabaret covers (“they’re not covers they’re reinterpretations”) in pub back rooms to 5 people.

    So, the idea – it’s not new or groundbreaking…
    But…
    Actually…

    It’s a lot of fun.
    Writer Ali Taylor has done some serious homework here.

    There’s a few jokes that work on different levels. You don’t need to know or understand the Goth scene in order to enjoy the play, but there are subtle jokes and references you can appreciate more.

    We all know a Kenneth, someone who isn’t really into it but can put a feign twist (“I used to like The Mission back in the day” – which translates to “they had a track on that dad-rock CD I quite liked”) in order to try to impress a woman.

    We all know a Belinda, someone who lives, breathes and eats Goth but is sometimes hankering a little bit back towards the good-old-days with a glimmer of rose-tinted nostalgia

    We all know a Simon/Bram, kind of brought up into the subculture by a pushy parent but overall not fully invested.

    We possibly don’t know an Anna, but her commentary and voice of reason puts a special touch on things.

    The play also pokes fun in the right places. Anna quips, “I’m allowed to slag off Scarborough, I live here” and so the way the play pokes fun almost feels like it has a right to, because it’s there and understands.

    I’ve never reviewed a Theatre Play before. So, if you are a regular Theatre-goer I can’t tell you how it stands up.
    I can, however, say if you’re into the Goth subculture, it’s a fair angle and representation, fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously and yes, the performances are convincing.  I’m sure there’s a lot you can relate to and plenty will raise a knowing smile, as well as a giggle.

    The play runs at the Live Theatre until October 28th.

    You can find out more and book tickets here
    Of course, if you are interested in Gothic Music… why not check out our Cold in Berlin show at Trillians on Sunday October 22nd?  Entry is free….
    More Info Here…
    All Photos by Tony Bartholomew


  • EU Referendum and the Music Industry

    Unless you’ve been under a rock for a while, you’ll be aware that next Thursday the UK will host a referendum on whether to continue to be a member of the European Union.

    Like us, you’re probably bored of some of the tit for tat, scaremongering and prophecies of doom by both sides.

    It’s one of those really difficult things as facts are unfortunately scarce, there is no real “use case” on leaving the EU and then negotiating new trade terms.
    We can point to Switzerland and Norway for pros and cons of either argument, but neither of those has been previous part of the EU.

    We are seriously concerned about the impact that this vote could have on the music industry.
    I don’t want to scaremonger, or exaggerate – there’s been too much of that in the press – but to share our concerns.
    We do use the word “could” so will try to explain the possibilities.

    The music industry has had a lot of problems in recent years. Some it hasn’t always tackled the best way (Metallica suing Napster springs to mind) and on the whole, the music industry will get through whatever happens, but, will have to adapt and change again.

    A vote to remain would do little to improve the music industry, but, a vote to leave would likely throw up a lot of extra barriers which would make it more difficult for smaller bands, niche bands, DIY labels, DIY and small promoters.

    At the moment – we have free movement with the EU. This a free movement of people, goods, trade. Impact to any of those will impact the music industry.

    While many point to Norway or Switzerland – they have the free movement of people, goods, trade as part of their agreement with the EU.

    So. Potential impacts.

    Last year, British artists accounted for over 17 percent of album sales in the six largest European markets after the UK—Germany, France, Sweden, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands—where they enjoyed nearly a third of the share.
    Any tarrifs brought in on exports of music would cut the revenues for the labels and ultimately the artists.
    At a time when artists are seeing lower sales, often blamed on the rise of the internet.

    This would have a biggest impact on smaller or niche markets – it’s not that I don’t care about Adele, but, there is a big appetite for alternative rock, metal, Goth, Industrial and associated in Europe and it’s the smaller acts, niche labels, DIY, who are likely to feel the pinch more.

    If bands are receiving even less revenue from their records than present, many more will be unable to afford to contine.

    For companies like us, it’s obviously in our best interest that bands are making money from records as that is what keeps them afloat.

    I may, one day, document how little bands actually make from touring. Obviously Iron Maiden do alright, but I mean – well – any band asking £20 or less per ticket.

    Any restriction on movements of goods and/or people would increase the cost of touring.

    This is of course where we are most concerned.

    First off. Bands would be required to produce a Carnet.
    A Carnet is published documentation stating all of the equipment a band will be touring with.
    It costs between £1000-£2000 (depending on circumstances) and last just 12 months.
    This is 2 way for European bands coming into the UK and for UK bands going out – so – a band doing a 10 day UK tour has an extra £100-£200 per show to cover – the only way to cover this is in a fee and this will inevitably push ticket prices up. Again, top end bands, say, Nine Inch Nails, can probably absorb this fairly easily – a band doing club shows to 100 people per night asking £14 per ticket instead of £12 is going to be noticable to fans and, of course, may start to put some off.

    This would also be fairly costly and restrictive for UK bands to tour within Europe – detrimental to their development and denying them of experiences.

    This also adds in complications if gear is broken/lost on tour, or if new gear is bought to complete the tour, the band will have to pay taxes at customs upon leave/return.

    And, of course, the risk that every time you cross a border or checkpoint that someone could ask to do a full stocktake of all your gear on board.

    Older bands may remember the days of the Carnet, queuing at each border and then a risk that every piece of gear would have to be unloaded and checked against the serial numbers which is both stressful and time consuming… and if there’s any discrepancies, bands can be sent back to the previous border point – which can end up wasting half a day or so.

    This is of course before I mention every band’s most hate word…. Visas.

    I deliberately didn’t mention this first – because – well, it’s possible for a trade deal to continue to allow free movement and if bands can come and go without a Visa we don’t have much problem, but, they may of coruse still need the Carnet above.

    Any restriction to free movement “A points based system”, “Paperwork” whatever is extra work for the bands (when they should be practicing and writing new songs!) and of course the extra expense involved.

    In the past 18 months I am aware of a few visa problems.
    Our own problem was with Eric Martin who, in December 2014, was refused entry to the UK on the paperwork. We still do not know what was wrong.
    This caused financial loss to Eric, to the touring support act, to the agent, to us. This caused inconvenience to the fans who’d made arrangements for the tour, booked trains, hotels, time off work, etc.
    This is always a concern when visas are involved.
    We also have other examples, The Last Dance were detained on their way to Whitby Goth Weekend and of course Zardonic did not receive paperwork in time to take his slot at Resistanz Festival.
    Going the other way, Surgyn had to delay their part of the Aesthetic Perfection US tour as paperwork didn’t come through in time and they are one of many bands who has forked out a lot of money for Visas that were either delayed, restricted, or denied.

    In order to get a visa as a band, you often have to prove you are a real “credible” band and for niche bands this can be quite hard to build up enough evidence.

    This is before we get into things like filing taxes on tours, copyright agreements, or of course that the whole of the EU is currently open for bands to choose where to print flyers, posters, records, merchandise in order to find the most appropriate deal for them.

    The best case scenario in the event of a leave is that all free movements remains in place – and leaving just becomes a pointless tickbox exercise.

    The absolute worst case scenario
    – Bands will receive less for music they sell outside the UK.
    – The impact of this being they don’t receive the income required to stay afloat
    – It will be more expensive for European bands to tour the UK (and depending on Visa changes, could make it more expensive for all non-UK bands to tour the UK)
    – As a result, more bands will omit the UK
    – And others will see higher ticket prices
    – Which will put more strain on risk on small venues and independent promoters
    – It will become more expensive for UK bands to tour in Europe
    – Alternative genres like Rock, Metal, Goth, Industrial are likely to be affected the most

    We suspect the actual result in the event of a leave to be somewhere in the middle

    There is a lot more to the referendum than music.
    Some of you will read this and feel that it’s still a risk worth taken or believe you will be better off and thus be happier to pay more to see bands play.
    I don’t want to be argumentative.

    But – we are an independent promotions company which is not our main source of income.
    We can not afford to absorb price rises and believe higher ticket prices for small/medium bands would lower turnouts and have a knock on effect to venues and bands.
    Regardless of the vote, we will strive to continue. We would of course have to consider new negatives when considering any shows to book.
    We just want to put bands on people like, at a good price. We also want our friends in smaller bands to be able to do gig swaps with bands in the EU fairly easily, should they wish, for the fun, experience and development.
    From a company perspective, we are In.


  • Combichrist announce This is Where Death Begins…

    CCH photo 300x200Norwegian-American group Combichrist returns with an unapologetic masterpiece. The new long player “This Is Where Death Begins“ is an apocalyptic behemoth of guitars, electronica, infernal drums and dark elemental force.

    The album is released on June 3rd on CD, Deluxe 2CD, Double LP and Special Fan Box.

    Thudding tribal drums, guitars slammed in your face like a 20-ton-weight, chopped up synth-attacks and in the midst of it Andy LaPlegua rampaging like an unrestrained demon of wrath: on their new album, “This Is Where Death Begins”, Combichrist are conjuring up a proverbial hellfire. A black monolith of unbridled aggression. Produced by Oumi Kapila (Filter) and Andy LaPlegua, with guest vocals from Chris Motionless (Motionless In White) and Ariel Levitan (MXMS) and mastered by the legendary Vlado Meller (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slipknot, to name just a few), Combichrist have created a milestone of their career. “This Is Where Death Begins” is released as a regular album CD, as a lavish colored gatefold double vinyl, incl. the album CD and as a deluxe 2-CD-Digipak-version which contains the bonus disc “History Of Madness: Old School And Rarities Live At Complex, LA” (a fine selection of the group’s early Industrial classics.) The album is also released as a strictly limited fan set in a deluxe A5-Digipak containing the double-CD plus the complete recording of the group’s energetic live show at Summer Breeze Festival 2015 on CD and DVD (Combichrist’s first ever official live release) as an exclusive bonus. The party is over, the world is on the brink of disaster… but we stand tall and face it, guns cocked: My Life, My Rules!

    Combichrist play Newcastle Riverside on June 29th as part of their European tour with Filter and Rabia Sorda.  Tickets are available from www.seetickets.com