Article/Blog – Death Guild Nineteenth Anniversary
San Francisco, CA, DNA Lounge, 03/20/2012
To commemorate the nineteenth year of Death Guild, the oldest weekly goth/industrial dance night in the country and the second oldest in the world, San Francisco’s DNA Lounge hosted four nights of celebration, March 19-22. The always effervescent Everything Goes Cold headlined the second night, which featured all local industrial bands. Not ordinarily a popular night for partying, Tuesday’s crowd was surprisingly energetic as they danced to mixes by DJs Decay, Lexor, and Unit 77 between sets.
The show opened with the very stylish, goth-tinged Limnus. Reminiscent of a prettier Jay Gordon, front man Jay Blanch oozed androgynous charm as he strutted through each song, adorned in leather and artful makeup, owning the stage, stomping his platform boots through the mass of wires and equipment, crooning to the crowd. Although there were four men onstage, all eyes were on Blanch and band cofounder and bassist Jared Warren. Both know how to play to their audience and Blanch, in particular, brought so much youthful impudence to his performance, it was like watching rock music being reborn. On the downside, whether from a problem with the sound system or the mic settings being too low, it was nearly impossible to hear the vocals.
Next up was Chapter One (who have since changed their name to The Vile Augury), an EBM duo from Castro Valley. Vocalist Michael Vile Augury seemed to be having a very good time, often grinning through his songs and acting as if it was very normal to wear what appeared to be a beagle skull around his neck. The music was full of dark sounds and typical EBM elements while his vocals were more like spoken word than singing, but his evident glee and lovely onstage support, Leslie Saint made the performance very enjoyable.
Cynical Mass has played DNA lounge before and the band’s sci-fi/video game-inspired costumes guarantee they’ll be remembered, by appearance anyway. They’ve recently improved them with masks adorned with red LED lights, which produce a rather cool effect, especially when the stage lights are low. Completely separate from the gimmicky costumes, it seems as if the group has been brushing up their live performance skills. More confident movement and with a stronger focus on the music with a little less distortion on the vocals, Cynical Mass’ live show is becoming a good representation of the image they have worked to present.
Finally, local favorites and modern coldwave heroes Everything Goes Cold took the stage, fronted by Eric Gottesman who has put in enough stage time with various bands over the last decade to be considered a veteran. Unfortunately, despite the band’s professionalism, they were plagued by technical difficulties with backing tracks that forced them to restart at least two songs. Gottesman jokingly blamed Apple’s Lion operating system, but despite the humor, his annoyance was rather obvious. Upon the departure of former drummer Kenny Pardo, the band shuffled a bit with drumming duties taken over by former keyboardist Mike Blodgett. Tyler Newman of Informatik stepped in to cover keyboards, though he seemed to forget he wasn’t the star of the show given his stage presence and energetic performance. EGC always puts on a good performance, with or without technical problems. Despite moments where certain instruments were too loud, vocals were too quiet, and live drums didn’t match the backing tracks, Gottesman and co. had enough passion for their art to keep the energy up. For one song, they brought out a guest musician with an electric cello. For another, Gottesman played a theremin. For those who had no idea that he was playing an instrument, it just looked like he was a mad scientist drawing sound from thin air… which is actually pretty much what a theremin does. Nonetheless, it is a marvel to watch if you don’t get distracted by the technology behind it.
It was a great night for music as these four local bands put on a world class show and celebrated Death Guild’s birthday in style.
Charity VanDeberg (CharityV)
Photographs by Noel Holmes (courtesy of Noel Holmes Photography)
Russ Wright (courtesy of Russ Wright Photography)
Death Guild 19th Anniversary