Tuesday, 22 November 2016

A Review of Goth City Festival - Launch Weekend.

Last weekend, I've had a blast in Leeds, at the Goth City Festival. This was the launch weekend for the event but the first of its kind for Leeds and West Yorkshire; I feel I've  just experienced history in the making.

The Goth City Festival was based on celebrating the rich history of the post-punk and goth movement within Leeds and Yorkshire. For the celebration, Leeds hosted a series of events from Gigs, acoustic sets and social events, providing something for everyone. I felt the most interesting event to attend were a discussions panel about Leeds Goth in perspective,  and readings featuring the acclaimed Rosie Garland. The perfect concoction of creativity to honour and induce a bit of dark culture to the city.

 The festival showcased a range of alternative bands associated with the goth scene who have been long established, in the underground scene or to the newest and upcoming acts. The event has been a collaboration of Goth City Promotions,  Carpe Noctem and the local goth/ alt' community.  The festival wanted to maintain DIY ethos chose to work with more independent venues that have supported the music scene.

The most important reason, the local scene wanted to give something back to the community was part of the festival'a fruition. All funds raised will be donated to PAFRAS, Positive Action For Refugees and Asylum Seekers a local West Yorkshire charity that provides support to destitute Refugees and Alysum Seekers.

Launch Night 

 Friday night the first gig was held at the Pack Horse, on the outskirts of Leeds. The boyfriend had booked the Kingston Hotel, a couple minutes from the venues not too far to wobble if we got too inebriated.

 We enter the upstairs room and greeted by a trad goth looking Joel ( the founder of Goth City Promotions) dressed in black and haddonned his buckled winkle pickers for the night. The first night was  dedicated to Leonard Cohen, whom sadly died in the same week. On the table was a loving requiem tribute, comprising of a photo, a black rose and candles burning on the table in his memory. 

We also offered the option to purchase raffle tickets with all proceeds being donated to PAFRAS, the boyfriend purchased a couple, I was looking forward to hopefully, winning something.

 I anticipated a huge turnout there fewer  people than expected, but there were around forty people, still a good.

Isolation Diversion

 The night started off fashionably late but so worth it with Isolation Diversion making Goth City Festival history as they were the first band to perform.

Isolation Diversion a Manchestain band that started off as the solo project of  Mark  Thrope  vocalist and guitarist .  They've been building their reputation up since they starting gigging in December 2013 and have released several EPs. The band were highly influenced with  by post-punk and alt music.

The band had an old style of alternative sounds which has a beautiful solemn sound with hints of dirge-like melodies and lyrics. They've developed their own distinctive sound with a harmoniously blending of male and female vocals which become very androgynous and soft sounding. The songs are simple, yet complex working on a number of different levels.

My favourite track was Prodigal Son, I fell under Isolation Diversion siren spell. This song has more of ethereal tone while maintaining their solemn sound. I can't stop listening to it.

The was a short intermission to draw the Draw prices, with Joel and his lovely assistant Martin Aylward, the drummer from The Expelaires. The prizes were donated from, an array of people like Joel,  Rosie Garland and other members of the scene. I wish I had recorded this was an absolutely hilarious with everything going wrong at every turn, from reading the ticket out nobody claiming the prizes, to at point the hat being dropped, some of the interesting banter about the prize and the chemistry between Joel and Martin was priceless. I couldn't help thinking the raffle may have been fixed as the same people kept winning prizes. Joel reassured nothing like that had happened and its just a coincidence. Logistically the number of people who attended with the number tickets meant a few people were likely to win more than once. I even won a set of tarot cards, and one guy won a sparkly spider ring, he was kind enough to pose for a photo.

The Expelaires

The next band were Leeds very own punk band  The Expelaires,.They established in 1978 and split in 1981.  The bands former members include Craig Adams (The Sisters Of Mercy, The Cult and The Mission), David ‘Wolfie’ Wolfenden ( Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and The Mission) and Grape (3000 Revs and Groovin’ With Lucy) The band reformed in 2012 and have been touring ever since.

The music was punk with some general rock influences through their melodies. The band was a lot more energic performance which great for a good pogo. In the Punk fashion, their lyrics more were about creating anarchy and rebelling against the establishment.

 My favourite was Poundland. It had a satirical theme based on someone losing their job from Poundland and that person is now forced to volunteer in the same job or risk losing their benefits. This sadly resonates truth at the present  state of the UK. Ok, no more politics.

During and after the event, we got the opportunity to talk to some of the other patrons about the awesome launch event, music and general life. With some really interesting exchange of anecdotes.

I think the launch night has a fantastic start to the Festival and was a great introduction  to  the bands and upheld the DIY ethos. The choice of bands was astounding from The Expelaire representing leads musical heritage and Isolation Diversion reflecting the of talent that's emerging at present time.

The night had a simple but intimate affair, which gives me some experience of the fledgeling alternative scene.  I can only imagine as I was born in 1988. The most important thing was over £128 was raised.

Second Night of the Launch Weekend. 

 Saturday night was a collaboration event with Carpe Noctum that featured three bands which seemed were more goth orientated than the previous night. The event was held in the Lending Library, a larger venue, able to accommodate a bigger audience.

Doors opened from seven and the first band were  Caffeine Kill, sadly we missed most of the band and caught their final songs.

The Bristol based band have been established since 2002 and built a reputation for their lively energetic performances. The locals have described the band as "Bristol's answer to Rammstein kidnapping Gary Numan and forcing him to sing at knifepoint". This review had in me in stitches.

Upon entering the band had a lively performance. The lead vocalist captured my attention with his hand claw emitting beams of  light. I can't really review the band except what I heard they sounded decent, and it's a shame we missed them. Their style was more 90's industrial with heavy guitar riffs, and a lot of electronic influence; they sounded similar to Orgy. The vocalist sounded like a more twisted and disturbed version of Gary Numan.

The next band afterwards were the Lesbian Bed Death the band were formed as a sideline by the guitarist Mr Peachces in 2004 the band has performed ever since and often changed their sound along with musicians due to commitment reasons.  Their current line-up includes the affable Mr Peaches, vocals Sienna Vernon, guitarist Vik Voodoo and drums Aaron Samdi.

The first thing that stands was Sienna's voice, had a tremendously powerful voice that suits the lyrics and melody.  The band's melodic theme with heavy guitar style riffs. All their lyrics inspired via classic horrors movies. The band's dark and macabre style lyrics offer a gothic quality, despite not being goth.

The weekend had a wonderful choice of bands with such diverse performances but my favourite has to be  Rhombus.  I have soft spot male and female vocalists. Rhombus is native to West Yorkshire. I didn't realise how large they were but I've not been into the music scene for awhile. The Band starting performing live and eventually supported large bands like The Damned. Gaining recognition as a contemporary goth band.  In their first album Remberance Day, they first added a female vocalist, who ended up joining the band permanently. The band have gained international acclaim and often tour Europe.

The band captured a range of darkwave influences, and use a combination of deep droning male vocals and more airer female vocals. The female vocals  a haunting whisper compliments each other wonderfully. The use a range of  traditional driving base, textured brittle occasionally flange style  sounding guitars and electric violins. The songs produce an upbeat medlies a great rhythmic energy   that made me wanna dance. After hearing their first song I was an immediate a fan.

Afterwards, I purchased a couple of albums from  Lesbian Bed Death and Rhombus. I managed to get the CD's signed and my photos taken with the band members. So I was feeling pretty stoked. All  the band's members were amazingly friendly and happy to chat. This one my reason for preferring smaller gigs as you get a more personal and intimate experience, usually get a quick chat.

Just as I thought the excitement had died down and ready to leave. We an extra special treat of  Carpe Noctum, Leeds local Goth night. This is one of  the most welcoming and awesome goth nights I ever attended. They played an array of post-punk, 80's Goth, electronic and some mainstream metal. There was ample room to dance and move. What I loved the friendliness of the venue and astounding positive vibes.

The weekend was a fantastic launch to the festival, listening to incredibly talented musicians, highlighting the diversity of music within the goth scene, enjoying ourselves, meeting friendly people, most important raising essential funds and awareness for a deserving charity. I hope this festival is the start of many to come as such a worthy alternative for a Goth festival, if you're like me and hate big crowds. 


  1. This sounds like a great festival! Wish I could have attended! Sometimes with raffles they don't shake the barrel well and the same people's tickets are all near the top, or that's what I think! Lucky there were lots of prizes!

    1. I was really lucky to think they were once Rosie Garlands an author and from a post punk band the March Voilets. I feel like my Granny had some influences and wants me to learn tarot since did it. I seem to some kind connection with authors we purchased the house from author. Sorry, I'm rambling yeap it was aa really good night. It's nice writing something a bit more goth orientated.

  2. What a weekend! Looks like you had a killer time!

    1. It was an amazing weekend and really enjoyable. I wish I was near leeds to do rest of the festival. Sadly, we have to pay for now. Oh well, better to some of it than nothing.b

  3. Lesbian Bed Death, serisouly? *rolls eyes*
    Sorry, couldn't resist...these band names freak me out sometimes...:D
    The event seems fun and quite refreshing since most goth - y events seem to be club nights centered around a very specific trend in fashion...if it makes sense. This is a very good intiative^^

    1. Some off them are quite interesting. The event was great night and the weekend. It was lovely good music, lovely people and positive vibes and the goes to help a worthy charity. So on all fronts a good night.

  4. I know nothing of goth music, I'll admit- But congrats on a great weekend and winning tarot cards :)

  5. Don't worry, I'm only sharing this event as a good night I only shared as my experience. To be honest I have secret love for Dean Martin and velvet voice. over all it was fun think I'm going to learn tarot.

  6. looks like you had an amazing time Sarah :) x x x

  7. I did it was really fun and loads of interesting bands

  8. Wow, what an excellent weekend! Sounds like you had an amazing time! Congrats on your win with the tarot cards!

  9. Thanks. It was a wonderful weekend and I loved every moment.


Life Update.

Hi, it's been a very long hiatus, not to say the least. Since my last post, a lot happened in October. I had a death in the family ...