Saturday, 23 August 2014

3/12/2011 Gotham festival @ Islington Academy

SubjectGothamDateCreated12/14/2011 3:12:00 PMPostedDate12/14/2011 7:12:00 AMBody3/12/2011

It's four in the afternoon, I'm surrounded by Goths - and it's not even dark yet!  What's going on?!!! Am I in some weird rock video? Is this a dream? Am I insane? Or Am I dead?  Maybe a little of all those things, but in actual fact I am at the Gotham festival at Islington Academy. It's the last ever Gotham, and to be honest the turnout isn't massive - which might explain why. Although it takes a lot to get Goths out in daytime. 

I've already missed the first band - I guess it's takes a lot to get me out in daytime too... This being an Academy venue, I have already resolved to avoid patronising the overpriced bar if possible. However, this might be more difficult on this occasion as the event runs from mid-afternoon until 3 AM. Can the venue really expect to keep people prisoner for up to twelve hours in a venue that doesn't sell food? Not that I have any intention of staying late in this concrete cavern as Goth isn't my scene and I haven't even heard of most the bands. However, the security at this event are much more reasonable than at the two previous recent gigs I've been to upstairs here - they say we are allowed out for more than just a smoke if we have a stamp on our hands. Why can't it always be like this?

The first act I see is Maleficent. The show gets off to an interesting start with ballet trained Miss Maleficent Martini performing some classical styled dance moves.

Sorry for the more rubbish than usual photos - although I was at or near the front for virtually the whole set, I had five 'proper' photographers bobbing about in front of me between barrier and stage so it was vitually impossible to get clear shots most of the time - and then the smoke machine ruined most the rest of my shots.  Miss Martini's ballet shoes are soon replaced with some sexier high heeled items, then after two or three songs she departs the stage to get changed... It's some time since I've seen this band, and apart from the two vocalists the entire band seems to have changed since then. More effort has been put into the musician's visual presentation now. There are also two guitarists instead of the previous one, and unlike before when DAT or computers were producing some of what we were hearing now it seems much more live.

After a while Miss Martini returns - after a remarkable transformation from broken ballerina to sultry siren. The photographers at the front go into overdrive!

The effect is certainly visually striking, but unfortunately the muddy sound mix makes the music sound like fairly generic Goth fodder. There seem to be some good musicians in the band, but the sound at this show doesn't really do them justice. There is definitely musical potential here and 'Model Song' (I think that's what it's called) stands out in particular as a possible single.
After all that excitement I feel in need of a drink, so with a stamp on my hand it's off to the adjacent Wetherspoons for some reasonably priced refreshment....  Suitably refreshed with tasty apple based beverages (Weston's Old Rosie cider) it's back into the venue in time for the next band.

Lilygun are an interesting contrast with the previous band. Both feature female vocalists with classical ballet training - but there the similarities end. Well apart from both having a bit of a Goth influence obviously!

The intriguing Anna Christina has a totally different approach to how she want's her band to be perceived. Although her classical background is less obvious, it must help in the way she moves with fluid grace onstage.

With Lilygun the focus is far more on the music than the visual presentation, although there is a certain theatrical quality in Anna Christina's stage presence.

This band's lineup has seen a change since their recent Purple Turtle show, with another bass player spinning through the revolving door. Aaron John from Boy Of The Afterthought is standing in for this gig.

I managed to get a lot more pictures of Lilygun as there weren't a load of 'real' photographers in the way, unlike the previous band. The smoke machine remained a problem, and like with Maleficent there were some potentially good shots that were rendered useless.

Lilygun have been sounding heavier and more metalic recently since guitarist James Ford joined the ranks. This is greatly accentuated at this show as the guitar is VERY LOUD! I don't have a problem with that. 

Lilygun got a noticably better sound mix than the previous act, and the clarity helped the 'light and shade' textures of the music shine through.

I certainly enjoyed the contrast between Maleficent and Lilygun in spite (or because of) their singers common backgrounds but wildly different approaches in presentation - wouldn't it be boring if all bands looked and sounded the same? Music is all about expression, and everybody has something different to express - things would be so dull otherwise. Variety is the spice of life, and there is plenty of variety just between these two bands - never mind the rest of the bill.

This is certainly the biggest and best (and loudest!) Lilygun show I have seen.  I really enjoyed the much heavier sound of the band - it will be interesting to see if this will be reflected in the band's forthcoming album. After Lilygun finish their set with a dramatic flourish I head back to the pub for some more refreshment....

I return to the venue to find a somewhat lacklustre Goth band playing - also female fronted, but her voice isn't to my liking. The music is very generic and uninspired Goth.  There is no one else on the bill I'm bothered about seeing, and no one seems very interested in staying - so we went back to the pub. And this time we stayed there. Which was nice. 

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