Monday, October 24, 2005

Old Goths Never Die

But they never stop thinking about it.

I am an old Goth. And never have I felt older, than in the midst of the blaclk-garbed youngsters at last night's Bauhaus concert at Portland's Roseland theater.

I was about 19 or 20 when I heard Bela Lugosi's Dead for the first time, the Bauhaus song made famous by the movie The Hunger. Bela was on a tape made by a friend, and accompanied other songs by Goth bands like Christian Death and Birthday Party, Nick Cave's band. If my Catholic, crucifix-obsessed, cemetery-visiting, horror-movie-addicted father had been alive in 1983, I could have said to him, "Dad, there are other people just like us. They're called Goth Punks." The closest thing to a tribe I've ever experienced were my friends who wore black, listened to Bauhaus, Gene Loves Jezebel, Siouxie and the Banshees, and who dared to look Death in the face constantly, as they got their eyeliner just right in the mirror.

Last night, I was surrounded by people who were my age when Bauhaus broke up. They were babies when Peter Murphy, Daniel Ash, David J, and Kevin Haskins went their separate ways. They were just tots when Rozz Williams fronted Christian Death, and still snotty-nosed kids when a world-weary Rozz hanged himself in 1998.

All of my goth friends were there, I'm certain. None of us recognized each other, so none of us spoke. But each of us knew that we were all there last night. Carrie and Ken, Keith and Craig, Glynis, and of course, Nick, my best friend at the time who introduced me to every cool band I've ever liked. OK, Keith got me hooked on GLJ, but Nick gets credit for introducing me to Keith.

I missed those days, being unemployed but beautiful, conversations revolving around bands and death, for hours. I missed the MDA and acid, drinking two bottles of wine in a sitting, and getting made up and going out.

I showed up last night in glasses--not contacts, no makeup, not a stitch of black, and in my comfy, elastic waistband 'fat pants.' I just didn't give a crap about how I looked. That wouldn't have happened 20 years ago. Or even 10. I realized last night, as I sat among the cellophaned and spiked locks, the flounce and lace, the velvet Edwardian frocks and ivory complected wenches, that I had turned into my dad.

The concert? My favorite parts were the beginning, David J's bass throbbing from the floor to the rafters as the band took their places on stage, and the encores, during which Peter Murphy honored his musical heritage of being the lovechild of Neil Diamond and David Bowie, with a perfect rendition of Ziggy Stardust, and the grand finale, Bela Lugosi's Dead.

The lowpoints--Daniel Ash blowing a sax. Maybe he actually plays the sax. I think he found the instrument backtage, left behind by another band. A goth gutairist honking the life out of a tenor sax--it was, well, upsetting. I remember seeing Love and Rockets play at the Pine Street Theater (when it was still the Pine Street Theater). Great band, but underwhelming live. Jane's Addiction opened that night. That was the nightI became a Jane's Addiction fan. I don't remember much of L & R's performance, except for the Bubblemen's comic relief.

Maybe Bauhaus just aren't a compelling live band. They still look good though--having the best cheek bones, jawlines and eyebrows in the business. Murphy isn't as imposing as I thought, but he vogues really, really well.

My last impression of the evening, as we all filed out of the venue slowly, funerarily, and spilled out the front doors onto 6th Avenue, I revisted my youth again, recalling the crappy, studio apartments I lived in, remembering how my punk friends would crash on the murphy bed, in the bathtub, on the floor. I exited the club into a squirming sea of black, and remembered the cockroaches of my youth. On their ways to parties and cemeteries, Portland's goths loped into the night oblivious to their conventional futures as soccer moms and computer programmers, and fading from black corsets to stretch pants and fleece jackets.

They'll learn to like khaki. I did.




Blogger azalea the black said...

I just found you. I'm a blue-collar old goth myself.
Please visit my blog...
Peace, sister!

4:15 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Blogroll Me! Site Feed