9:30am, Saturday morning. Goths in the Penta Hotel (otherwise known as ‘Goth Central HQ’) got a rude awakening when the fire alarm went off and everyone was forced to exit the building at short notice. A sea of black issued forth from every doorway with a few perplexed tourists being swept along amongst them. Those still abed were forced outside in pyjamas and all manner of gothic nightwear was on display, yours truly included. (REALLY glad I decided to leave the minion pj’s at home!) Happily, there was no fire and we were all able to return inside shortly afterwards.
Some time later, we joined the ‘human wreckage’ of last night at the Butler where we spent the afternoon nursing our tender heads, enjoying curative drinks and lunch while discussing the events of the previous night.
Returning to the hotel, we got our gothic glam on and returned to the Face Bar for another night of great music. The second night of the festival opened with Greek band, Drama Queen. Comprised of four guys fronted by a diminutive young lady with a big voice, this band had me dancing after only two songs and were well received by the assembled crowd. According to fellow gig-goer, Andy Buchan, they were “Like The Last Cry only with a woman singing.” Obviously a good thing. (Check out this excellent review of Drama Queen’s album ‘Artificial Galaxy’ in Gothic Rock Magazine.)
Winter Severity Index, from Rome, were up next. A three piece electronic/guitar band, their set was powerful, at times dark and brooding but like one of their songs, a ‘Compulsion’. The female lead singer’s voice was somewhat reminiscent of Talk Talk to my ears. I hadn’t heard of this band before but really liked them. Check out samples of their music on Bandcamp.com.
Third band of the night was also from Italy. The Stompcrash, a very glamorous looking band, (well, they are Italian!) they soon proved there was more to them than just style as they performed a tight, well-rehearsed set of powerful songs with dark lyrics. Literally music to my ears. The crowd loved them and dancing happened. As a bonus, Andrew Birch of The Last Cry joined them on stage to duet on ‘Duality’, much to the delight of every Last Cry fan in the place.
The next band was October People from Spain. These guys blew me away with their amazing sound, easily crossing the divide between mainstream pop, post-punk and goth. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed them. Before their set had finished, people were hurrying to the merch stand for the band’s cd’s & vinyl, which they sold out of by the end of the night. It’s worth mentioning that the lead singer resembles a young Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode. A big plus for many of the ladies. Try their latest album ‘Love is colder than death‘.
The night ended with Saturday’s headliners, The Last Cry. This was the band that many of us had come to see. You could tell by the amount of Last Cry t-shirts in the room that most of ‘The Family’ were there in support. The mood was high as Andrew, Chris and Tim took to the stage with a jubilant Andrew waving the Welsh flag aloft. Wales had just beaten England in the Rugby by a narrow margin – Tim’s face said it all! 😉
The band kicked off proceedings with ‘No Resistance’, a powerful and brooding opener. Quickly followed by ‘Punishment’, a crowd favourite which got everybody dancing. Then ‘Haunting Me’, also from the ‘Walking To The Edge’ album. Throughout the set, the band took the audience on a non-stop roller-coaster ride of emotion, bringing us to tears with songs like ‘Be With You Again’, riling us up with ‘Truth and Lies‘ and bringing us to the heights of euphoria with the anthemic ‘Song About‘. As intense as always, they brought the house down, leaving everyone emotionally wrung out but extremely happy. Definitely the highlight of the whole weekend for me.
After the bands finished, there was another club night, Nostalgia, hosted by DJ Martin Oldgoth, which went on the wee hours. Footsore but well satisfied, I retraced my steps back to the hotel around 3am, tired but anticipating the last night to come.