Saturday, 27 October 2018

Leeds Goth City Festival 2018 Review

So Leeds Goth City Festival has returned bigger and better than ever with Incubus Succubus heading lining the official Friday opening night.  It's hard to believe it's the festival's third year. It feels like only a couple of months ago since the first Friday night.

Image may contain: text that says "GOTH CITY SEASON OF THE WITCH 1lth-2lst October 2018"

Firstly, I  really need to state, is big thanks to Joel Heyes and to the other contributors to the festival who've worked tirelessly to puts such a fantastic event on. After running costs, all profits made are directly donated to PAFRAS, a charity based in West Yorkshire that aids with Refugees and Asylum Seekers. Currently, the festival is looking at directly funding programmes with therapeutic benefits.

Secondly, I really love to shout out to Joel and including others organisers in the North for the rejuvenating the Goth scene up in the North. Their hard work is much appreciated, and I feel they we should at least purchased them a Snake bit or a decent pint next time you see them. Or even the local organisers in your area.


Thursday night was the warm-up party.  The Boyfriend and I wanted to show our support for the inaugural debut of  The Seventh Victim featuring Noircastle's very own Tim Synster and Mel Butler aka DJ Kitty Claws. On the night there was a theme of Goth up North with both supporters and performances from the Tyneside and Teeside area. 

We found the venue, Bad Apples that had gothic dive bar, aesthetic felt the perfect ambience. It is hard to miss Synster doing his Eldritch inspired attire that suits his demeanour perfectly, as he always seems to have an air of being the frontman of some brilliantly obscure goth band or sci-fi novelist. We knew we were in the right place. Also, there were many familiar and new faces, not to mention everyone clad in black. 

Seventh Victims made their epic performance, not only were they making  Goth City Festival history, but Northern Goth history, according to me. Since finding out the Noircastle crew were forming a band I've eagerly anticipated seeing them. 

Lights dimmed the smoke machine, a bit too enthusiastically releasing the murky fog, creating the Sister's ambience with Synster approaching the mike and started to sing. I was surprised his vocal style has a more natural raw power, then the deep baritone style I expected. At parts, he was able to reach a midway baritone style more similar to Porl King. At times, I felt songs narrative had a more antagonistic Ian Dury styling, particularly with Warhead. The band featured a range style regarding heavy rifts and deep base with them following many post-punk and goth bands by adopting a drum machine.  

However, they had terrible luck with the temperamental sound system where the music and vocal sound quality differed at times, which overalled impeded the quality of overall performance. Considering the band has only had several practices the put on a decent performance, I look forward to seeing them develop and hone their sound. 

They are definitely a multitalented lot, we'll hopefully, see great things  in the future.,

After the first performance, the basement got far too hot with many of us feeling the heat and cool down, so everybody had a chat about the first performance. I wasn't feeling well, due to gluttony and the heat made things worse. I stood outside chatting to Sarah, the vocalist for Sticky Pearl, but like usual I didn't realise who, she was one of the performers.

The next performer has had a more post-punk electronic style, again with the temperamental sound system, which really affected the performance sound quality and the overwhelming heat meant I had to stand outside. From what I heard outside it sounded interesting, just not quite my taste.

During the beginning of the night, Joel had been selling raffle tickets to raise money, so the Boyfriend brought a couple. Like the previous raffle, it was a hilarious haphazard affair that I wished I had recorded with Joel responding with his sharp jibes, in his broad Yorkshire accent.  The same people kept winning prize's with one them feeling a bit guilty about it, but they did purchase a whole lot of raffle tickets. I won a cd and top by Last July, somebody mentioned the band was a side project of Alixandrea from Rhombus. Definitely, need to listen.

Sticky Pearl

By this time the aircon was on, and the music system had finally calmed down.  Then again it could have been the soothing ethereal, yet powerful vocals of Sarah Parilla had that quaint mystical charm. There was the definitely heavy influence of by the Cocteau Twins and the Cure. For me, the band made me think of bands like Faith and The Muse and Leaves Eyes. The group actually felt like a Female version of the Golden Age of Nothing (seriously one of the best Goth Bands to come out of the North for years). However, it's not surprising with Graeme Wilkson bringing his instrumentalist's talents creating the diverse and sublime entrancing sound of Sticky Pearl. The band is definitely in my niche, I've already purchased their debut album from Band Camp.

We stayed as long as possible until we had enough, me inebriated, on the on gin and lemonade. Despite well-known Mother's Ruin renowned for its depressive tendencies. However, I seem to be immune from its adverse effects and tend to be rather merry I end up unbearable, and I talk incessantly. Anyway, we had a fab time  I spoke to anyone, and everyone, so much essential money was raised a well-deserved cause. We got the night bus back because we're frugal Northerners on a budget. 

Friday Night

Friday Night was the main opening event, I was ecstatic to finally see Inkubus Sukkubus live, I can first remember  listening to  the Vampyre Erotica album, and I was hooked, even now I still always go back to that album

The main venue was held at the Wharf Chambers, a former sausage packing factory since has been transformed into a private club that has run as a Coop scheme. Anyway, the venue had a wide range of frugal beverages including a cuppa of tea for 60 p. Not to mention there was a choice of four box ciders two were made by Lillies, definitely the best, a Broadoak it was ok, and the Perry that was beyond vile. The venue had a fantastic vibe complementing the festivals the DIY and mysterious atmosphere. This year the opening events central themes had a fey-like mysticism, enhanced by choice of bands, notably with  Inkubus Sukkubus. Then again, it's the festival is the Season of the witch

It was great to see such an impressive turnout .I'm ecstatic to see the Goth City Festival is becoming an integral festival for the UK'S alt and goth calendar.  

So we arrived with enough time to grab a couple of drinks for the start of the first bands With Seventh Harmonic official opening, (I know it was really the Seventh Victim but that was the unofficial kickoff.) 2018's Goth City Festival official night kicked off the festivities. With Seventh Harmonic. The band had my niche of folk, world, goth influences. It has such a hauntingly ethereal light, feminine sound that was reminiscent of the Dead Can Dance. I would typically have expected more melodic female vocals. Initially, the band a followed the more traditional route with collaborating with Ann-Mari Thim from Arcana. However, the group appeared with a male vocalist with more of the deep drolling baritone vocals, I loved the contrast that added a new element to this style of music. Ger, a vocalist, felt an Irish Druidsreciting incantation ritual through the narrative of each son.  I just can't believe I haven't found this band earlier. One word awe-inspiring. I highly recommend you check them out.

Next up was Dynosis, I had actually seen this band five years ago. It was one of those random encounters you serendipitous occurs. They were sublime I actually own two of their early albums Dyonisis and Intoxicated, I still enjoy. Unfortunately, I haven't kept up to date with their current work.

 I rediscovered a passion for an old band who have an extensive and diverse repertoire in both the song's narrative and melodies. The sound has a distinctly more melancholic, but gentle, upbeat tempo that empowered the audience. The vocalist, Nel, follows in a Celtic and Nordic folk tradition of light, ethereal vocal style with the song's narratives exploring the human psyche of emotional turmoil from a retrospective outlook. The last time, I saw them had a second vocalist performing in an operatic style. This time it was Nel, but in no mean does it detract from their performance.  I loved the balance of the heavier rhythm of the guitars and drums, which compliant and add more profound depth to the songs. With each performance, the crowd were swaying in sync and cheering ever louder after each performance. 

After ten years in the waiting, with loudest cheers of the night, the band emerged from a hail of smoke enhancing mystical vibes. Donning Le Catrina style make-up and began the most anticipated and spirited performance of the night. With each member working harmoniously together each musician animatedly dancing on stage, playing their most popular songs. Candia was definitely the star of the show, yet she never overpowered the others members but intensified their stage presence. Candia leads with her vivaciousness radiating with her unique, powerful vocals and her arms gyrating, beckoning the audience to dance. The crowd were intoxicant by their performance and followed the melodies in a frolicking manner. I was warned the Incubus Sukkubus were a lively lot, I didn't realise until the performance began, it refreshing to see the crowd go wild.  I even found a dance partner who couldn't stop moving as much as me. Time stood still with the performance feeling like an eternity of enjoyment simultaneously, it only felt like a few minutes had passed.

After the climactic performance, the frantic atmosphere began to slow down with many of the patrons leaving to get fresh air or for transport home. Even the boyfriend and I went out for some air. Everyone seemed to slowly return to sobriety but still with zealous energy from the gig. Everyone discussing how fantastic the bands' performances had been and plans for upcoming festivals. Even swapping anecdotes of previous times, they had seen different bands particularly Dyonoisis and Incubus Sukkbus.  Then there was a DJ on with only a few people staying it meant there was ample room on the dance floor with classic goth and 80's electronic hits being played for the rest of the night. 

We're becoming that selfie couple. Lol.

Joel and Martin posing for silly photos. 

At one point, I finally got to meet Candia and other lovely members of Inkubus Sukkubus. We had a quick chat and a couple of photographs. Everyone is just absolutely cordial and lovely. Candia who just radiates such positive vibes, generally you can tell she loves what she does and takes time to meet her fans. She reminds of  Dan Reed. Sadly, in the photos, I look like a right miserable git. I was ecstatic to meet the band for a few minutes seriously.


The last night was at the Fenton a fantastic pub, with even four proper ciders and Old Bloody Rosie, I hate Old Rosie. There was Orchid Pig Hog Father, I love it, but had it far too much. Anyway, I was mainly on two other ciders that they had on offer, both superb quality. All the Goth's and darkly inclined,black-clad and alt's were politely directed to the sign Goth Up Stairs. Saturday night felt more it should have been the Friday night, still a good night. I think it was a bit of good come down, from the previous night. Saying that I think the partying started taking its toll on me.

Matty one the sound engineers who made the whole event possible, we just kept meeting up with him during the festival I got a photo of the Boyfriend.

Joel working hard greeting all the patron, next time I need to purchase his a snake bite or a decent merlot. Seriously, I don't know where he gets his energy from. 

After hearing so much hype about the sister of Murphy, after the first song, I  can understand why they've amassed their reputation. The band members jumped on stage to take their position. With the audience erupted with a roar of cheers as the band entered. The bands started with their first song.  

The lead singer doesn't like Eldritch, but he emulated her demeanour and vocal stylings actually he could have been his vocal doppelganger, especially for First and Last and Alway album.  Yet, the band performed their own interpretation of the Sisters, using a far heavier guitar rift giving its modern sound, it still works. I love how Mya's strong vocals complimented Sid's vocals and really enhancing the female vocal parts of the songs. With each performance, crowds getting more livelier with each rendition being played. Sadly things ended about 11, so a bit early night than the previous night, which was probably was a good thing since we had 11 am check out. 

We had a fantastic night of getting merry on decent cider and beer, meeting and chatting to new people about the festivities.  Even one them was actually good friends with a mutual friend from Newcastle, originally he was from South Sheilds, so we were talking about being from Tyneside and general life. We said next time he's up we'll meet up for a couple of drinks. Life ix very strangely. 
A ph

We had an amazing extended Weekend in Leeds, it was a zealous atmosphere, which left me both exhilarated and exhausted, it felt fantastic feeling part of the goth community. Also, it was great to discover new talented bands, finally see a couple of old favourites. I can only comment on my experience in the North where the Goth and alt scene are starting to thrive again. It's hard to believe how dire things were only a few years ago. What I love is the changing atmosphere seems to be refocusing back on the music and providing opportunity with the new upcoming and current talent.


  1. Wow - what a great music scene you have. Jealous!

    1. It's fantastic at momment. A feed ago it was aweful.

  2. That is amazing Sarah! What a great time with all this music! Happy Halloween!

    1. Happy Halloween. It was a fantastic weekend.

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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 ...