Saturday, September 5, 2009

Depeche Mode - Tour of the Universe - 09.04.09 - Tampa, FL

A three hour drive that seemed like days. Driving across town from the venue just to find a Starbucks amidst the farmers markets, taco buses, creepy little rundown roadside motels and closed drive in theaters. Scoffing at the $30 "vip" parking in lieu of walking farther to the main gate during the only 15 minutes of rain at the venue all night. Seeing Depeche Mode for the 5th time. Priceless.

While Dave Gahan is still pulling off his signature spins and snake like girations and Martin Gore's outfits are as shiny as ever, for a band with a discography a mile long there was a notable absence of signature songs that people of all ages go to see legendary bands like this for. Specifically staples like People Are People and Everything Counts, though other favorites like Flys On The Windscreen and In Your Room had their moments, Dave's vocals on those powerful, brooding tracks seemed less committed than on previous tours. Perhaps due to recent surgery, or the moist open air venue, or maybe having done them ad nauseam. I Feel You was by far the best track of the night, vocally and visually. Martin stepped up the guitar and head banged like it was a metal show, and stepped back to man the keyboards while Andy Fletcher simply stood there next to the live drummer and additional keyboardist, none of which were introduced, instead Dave introduced Martin three separate times as either Mr. Martin or Mr. Gore. Yes, Dave we get it, he's awesome. And he is, his vocals were as strong as ever and carried every track, especially where Dave fell flat, and as always when he's belting out the soaring piano ballad Somebody.

All in all, despite what seemed like an epic trek through adverse weather, dozen and dozen of State Troopers ganged up on car after car they had pulled over, there really was no better way to kick off the Labor Day weekend then spending a Friday night with Depeche Mode in Tampa, FL.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Beautiful Deadly Children - The Gospel According to Goth

A Kabaret Grotesque by Bertie Weirdly
Mallard Independent Publishing

Beautiful Deadly Children appear to be a long-lived English goth outfit that never quite made a name for themselves outside of their immediate scene in Birmingham (home of Black Sabbath and Napalm Death!), and what notoriety they gained was mostly for flamboyantly unfortunate taste in costumery. I'm talking troll ears, fake claws, batwing dresses with wings, puffy shirts aplenty, and surely illegal applications of PVC and rubber. Whereas any other band would have given up in the face of such deafening indifference, Beautiful Deadly Children took quite the opposite tack. With a delusional self-belief that rivals that of Half Japanese and Andrew WK (and usually I’d approve of such world-making), BDC decided to concentrate not on honing down the music to a darkling point, but to instead pen a lengthy tome detailing their life and times. The results aren't pretty. I'd rather not do a hatchet job on this book, because the concept behind it is something I'd certainly want one of my favorite bands to do (I think the Kills were talking about doing a photography book), but this is... definitely... not... that. Here's the problem, the writing is pretty pedestrian, it feels like I'm reading an overlong Myspace profile. To make matters worse, it seems that they run out of things to write about halfway through (which is weird, because, y'know they had complete control over the book) so by the end, when they start giving (lengthy) make-up tips, the book drops out of my hand and falls to the floor. The tone is in turns overly precious and desperately clumsy. And the pictures, ehh.... you dare not look. It's just a roly-poly bunch of chancers shoehorned into a dizzying array of inappropriate, unflattering, and faintly ridiculous attire. I don’t care if you hang out at the Factory or the Castle every weekend going back a decade, you’re going to be channeling Ogre from “Revenge of the Nerds” ‘round about page 30. I think it's possible to age with dignity in the gothic scene, but these cats just ain't there baby. May I direct you to the new Horrors album instead?

- Mathew Moyer