Six bands on a Sunday afternoon is an interesting proposition and risks becoming an endurance test for the bands and the audience. In the end I was there for the last couple of songs of the first band until the end of the last band - though no long service medals were awarded. It was tough to tell how many people in the room had actually paid to come in - I suspect not too many - and the question of whether there were enough goth bands to fill an all dayer here was answered by having a number of bands who really weren't goth - but here's my summary/impressions anyway - without any mention of any people with mohicans with pants on their head.
First up were Novelty Dolls. I only caught the last couple of songs, but as the openers I don't think they had an especially long set. The keyowrd here I think is potential - they were quite interesting and while a little bit downbeat were a step above the usual emo-by-numbers. If they keep at it then I suspect they could end up producing something interesting but you can say that about so many bands.
Second was The Torpedoes. I didn't like them to start with, then I realised that I didn't like them as a goth band - because they were a pretty piss-poor goth band - but once I started listening to them as a rock'n'roll band then things were suddenly much more enjoyable. It's probably not very trendy to enjoy rock'n'roll but it has its place. Not a big place for me, but a place none the less. Of course I shouldn't have been too surprised with the whole Deathrock (urgh!) label and relative success of bands like Zombina - but this was much more traditional and, IMO, better for it. Ooops. Country and Western for me next perhaps...
Third up were Tracer. Let's just be polite and say they weren't really my taste, at all. Saying that, there was the odd moment where I could see where they were trying to go but it was all a bit too much for me. Maybe I'm getting old, but it's all too easy to do bad "guitar + growling into mic" and it takes real talent to do it well. And I didn't see much of that with Tracer. Still, there were people on the floor so perhaps it's me...
Next were Voices of Masada who I thought were terribly dull when I last saw them a couple of years ago. Recently signed to Strobelight I hoped that they had improved and I wasn't disappointed. There was much more confidence on stage, matched by increased competence and just better music. Better in the sense of "classic late 80s/early 90s goth" which it could be argued is more of a niche market these days as we live under the iron-fist-with-glowstick of Andy LaPlegua. So, not bad at all, but all a little bit retro - but that's goth isn't it?
Mikey, the lead singer from D.U.S.T. had clearly been committing "Rock God for Dummies" to memory before he took the stage as he seemed to be on a mission to put the "cock" back into "rock". On one level it's interesting to see how many very different bands can claim asylum under the same vague genre but on another level "Ow - my ears!". Musically? I thought they were ok. Actually that's probably being a little unfair. They were better than ok at what they did. Mikey knew what he wanted to achieve and was prepared to go out there and get it with enthusiasm.
Finally there was SBA who I've not seen for a long, long time. Ed was firing on three out of four cylinders, but somehow seemed to be convinced he was doing a lot worse than that. Criminally there wasn't the crowd there for him to interact with - despite some valiant attempts at heckling - so the gig was a little flat in places. Putting this very-much self-inflicted wound aside they delivered a good, solid, enjoyable set and inviting the entire crowd on stage at the end was an interesting thought. I can however see a real gap emerging between some of the older and the more recent tracks - Ed sayed that this would be the last time some tracks were heard and that's really not a bad thing. Some of the withered growth needs to be cut from the crop - though it will be interesting to see how some of the new darker, more depressed material sits alongside the upbeat proto-anthems. They're never dull though - but really do need to gig more widely and get into Europe/the US whatever it takes.