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Do the elder goths know how much impact they’ve had? I question it whenever I speak to Dusty Gannon of Vision Video, aka Goth Dad when discussing post-punk music. When I experienced Johnathan Horstmann live on stage, I wondered what Dave Gahan would make of the stunning virtuoso. 

They must know. 

Not only because Robert Smith went batty against Ticketmaster for us, but it’s also how he walks on stage with his distinctive humbleness and gratitude for his audience. I’ve witnessed it before, and I get to feel it again, with a different state of mind on June 1st when The Cure closes out World Goth May, for me, in Seattle, WA.

This month has felt like a giddy Goth cluster fuck comparable to the likeness of October. At the beginning of the month, I shared how I must be more aware of how I use my energy so that I can prioritize shows and balance life so as to not burn out,

In my mind palace, I would be at these shows every weekend in May, concluding with The Cure on June 1st in Seattle. But after it took me days to recover any energy after Covenant played, I had to reframe how I was going to proceed for the remainder of this dark spring.

On a recent episode of my podcast, Alex Gonzales of Matte Blvck shared how he attempts to balance his life between the band, producing Modern Wav, owning two businesses, and family life. His method stuck with me, and I have been practicing my variation. 

And then I read a book, started painting, went kayaking, and once again got lost in nature.

Not long after returning to the shores, I was finding out about more Goth shows and events. Instead of daydreaming of nocturnal butterflies, spiderwebs, and lying naked on mossy rocks, my head was filled with notifications about Beetlejuice 2, 3Teeth releasing their new single, Merchant of The Void, another Modern Wav and more core Goth/Alt Music show and events happening almost daily. 

Overwhelmed with so much going on, I decided to release the FOMO and asked friends about their experiences at Sick New World. Using social media for what I have always believed it’s meant for, I watched people in the community share their POV live right from where ever I was. It felt like I got a taste of Stranger & Lovers performance for World Goth Day in Mexico, and Yvette Velasquez is sharing her experience at WGT, Leipzig.

Im comfortable and can still feel the emotions. More than once, my body shivered, and I ran my hands over the goosebumps that kept erupting on my arms.

Not only was my FOMO mostly eradicated with shared videos of Skinny Puppy in Portland, OR, and local bands were posting themselves enjoying Gary Numan and Ministry, I was happy with my own past experiences with these artists.

In 2017 I went to see Gary Numan all by myself when he performed at The Observatory in Orange County, CA. Numan and his rad family are right up there with The Munsters, The Addams Family, The Zombies, etc. and, I can attest that Numan’s shows are ridiculously underrated and probably one of the best live experiences I have ever encountered. It felt like I was astral projecting with an entire venue of people while we danced and sang along with Dark Lord Gary. I am thrilled for those who could see him during this tour—especially those who saw him twice at Cruel World on such a large scale. Along with Urban Heat, Gary Numan belongs on much larger stages, but I will also not complain about the one-of-a-kind intimate experience like the one I had.

During Spring 2018, I treated myself to a ticket to see Ministry with Chelsea Wolfe supporting. It turned out that I ended up with a BOGO deal and took my Vagina Turd #2, who was 15 then. My protective as-ever Hubs warned me not to get in the pit with our kid, who is prone to broken limbs.

He should have known better.

Vagina Turd #2 and I inched our way to the front of stage left and witnessed Chelsea and then Ministry up close. Because my kids grew up head-banging to Thieves, Just One Fix, and N.W.O while driving my mini-van to Disneyland and or some after-school activity, I couldn’t deny the look in VT #2 eyes, his urge to get in the pit as Al Jorgensen belted Hang On…

Once-in-a-lifetime moments. I know Ministry fans had a fucking blast!

With two photoshoots scheduled towards the end of May and me wanting to save any symptoms of Stendhal Syndrome for The Cure, I didn’t buy tickets for The Sisters of Mercy, and the show sold out. I thought I was at peace with that, but on the day of their performance at The Crystal Ballroom, I had a moment where I needed to endure my low social battery and have my own TSOM experience. 

Every Goth knows the stories about how Sisters Lead Vocalist, Andrew Eldritch is known to hate TSOM being associated with GOTH. Therefore, TSOM shows have been known to be underwhelming, sound like shit, can’t see shit, and Eldritch hates his goth fans.

I had to see for myself. There were varied opinions about their performance at Sick New World in Las Vegas. My favorite people are introverts, so I understand how they can come off as neurotic and rude, so why not give it a chance and interpret them the way I would my friends? 

I was lucky and got tickets!

When ascending the stairs to the showroom, I decided to hone in a bit of Eldritch moodiness by skipping the TSOM merch but not without commenting on how I could get a more classic TSOM tee shirt at Hot Topic for half of what they were charging. 

It was also very amusing to witness fellow elder goths and meme-famous Senior Goths.

My opinion on TSOM was that the show wasn’t great, but it wasn’t awful. I was able to dance to my favorite songs. There was no blinding fog, and I considered Andrew Eldritch an artistic introvert. Sure, he half-assed most of the songs, but the show worked enough. And oh my goth, Ben Cristo, can we talk about him someday?!?

I got my Depeche Mode experience at the Hollywood Bowl in 2017. 

Bauhaus at The Palladium in 2019. 

I witnessed Siouxsie in 2004 at KROQ’s Inland Invasion. 

The Cure and the Inland Invasion the year before that. 

Siouxsie Sioux September 18, 2004 Photo by John Shearer

So, I’ve had my fill of the new wave and dark wave goth bands that defined Gothdom as I know and love it. 

It’s uncertain how much of my experience, if any, I’ll share when I see The Cure in Seattle. It depends on how much I want that emotion for myself. But I look forward to returning to more indie dark wave, postpunk, and goth bands. Especially the forthcoming more intimate shows with the bands that have become my new every day and whose songs are playing in the background, like a soundtrack to my life. Bands like Matte Blvck, Male Tears, Puerta Negra, Vision Video, Cruex Lies, Urban Heat, Korine, Haunt Me, ACTORS, Stranger & Lovers, Pretty Frankenstein, Die Robot, The Veer Union, solo players like Élishia Sharie and Blaqqrow.

There are so many new and emerging artists today that have been inspired by our elder goths. They remix each other’s songs and wear each other’s shirts on stage and while doing interviews. 

This World Goth May will never be forgotten. If humanity makes it that far, there will be endless stories shared decades from now about the Cruel World evacuation, and the pits at Sick New World. We Goths deserved this dark spring. We all have had to fantasize about seeing these legends while we still have them. Perhaps the new wave, dark wave, post-punk, Goth, and ALT bands were the ones to inspire the elder goths to give us one more show or motivate them to get back out there. 

But how romantic would it be if the elder goths attended shows of the aforementioned newer bands as they embark on their summer tours?

Johnathan Horstmann of Urban Heat. Cruel World 2023, Pasadena CA. Photo by Dave Creaney
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