CD Review

BLACKOUT A.D. TOUR, Washington DC

by Klaatu

Good Goth my head hurts.

Actually, that could sum up the whole event. But let's not omit the details...

1824 Half Street SW Washington DC is not exactly the place you'd expect to have a party. It's definitely fairly huge, a two story edifice on the inside, but outside where hundreds of goths stood in line for hours until well-after the scheduled opening time of 8 PM, it was a grim scene of abandoned industrial wreckage across the street from a major urban transformer-farm. As I watched the ghostly flickers of heat-lightning on the western horizon, I also sweltered in good company with the rest of the black-clad crew. Eventually they opened the doors and let us in, first requiring that everyone without face paint or a mask would have to wear a silly plastic domino which, while slightly obscuring the face around the eyes, also completely ruined all pretenses at peripheral vision. Once inside, the silly plastic dominos rapidly vanished.

I had expected the scene to live up to the predictions of basically being a bunch of freaks in leather whipping each other into a frenzy of jiggling cellulite to the thumpa-thump of doof-doof music[1] and I was in fact not disappointed. However, it did turn out to be so much more than that. Washington DC, it would appear, evidently does have some Goths who aren't appallingly overweight, who also know how to dress to the nines and can actually even dance.

In fact, the place was completely packed with so many lovely, well-(un)dressed, and apparently-unattached women performing interesting moves that I promptly proceeded to the bar and got "faced." This put an extreme crimp on my cash-reserve and I am in fact flat broke today due to my need to get exceptionally trashed so as to ignore all of the loveliness all around, combined with the fact that a can of Bud in a plastic cup was $3.00 and a tip was of course required.

Being the dunce that I am, I didn't quite figure out that the bands were upstairs, so I missed Godhead and the other bands, with the exception of Faith and the Muse. I'd never seen them live and don't have [2] any of their albums so I didn't quite know what to expect. If I had a CD player, I would definitely add them to a collection. The whole performance was quite solid, the vocals were excellent as was all of the musical work, the band was tight and even some black DC cops were clearly enjoying themselves.

I did get to see a lot of folks I hadn't seen in a while, which is always nice; basically 90 percent of the remotely freaky DC scene showed up, ranging from the basic Goths to some ol' fellah, probably pushing 80 who showed up in a Rolls, escorted by one of those ageless ol' gals who defines the concept of "elegance" and his coterie of bodyguards.

The freak show was, I don't know how else to put it, almost unobtrusive. All during the Faith and the Muse performance there was some gal off on a little stage off on the sidelines casually laying on the cat-o-nine-tails strokes delivered underhand to the naked buttcheeks of some quivering lardboy chained to a big X, and so far as I can tell nobody noticed.[3]

The other freak show, however, was something of an overload. Now I am so far gone into plain-vanilla tastes[4] that I simply thought this to be a complete overload of sensuality in many cases, or simple extravagance or exhibitionism. Now Goths are one thing, some of the fetishy stuff was another.

I had absolutely no problem appreciating some of the fashions, especially the one gal who had a nice outer wrap parted in front to reveal a substantial portion of the local Victoria's Secret stock adorning a really quite toned body, but I didn't quite know what to make of the guy who had his black-dyed jockstrap lashed to his admittedly-buff self with a combination of leather straps and padlocks. There was one guy there in a mailshirt (he makes 'em) in a quilted pattern which would definitely break someone's knuckles but which wouldn't turn a dagger; however, the mailshirt he'd made for his lady friend was not only formfitting and rendered her quite fetching, but also would have been worth a lot in a knife-fight. There were assorted variations on general leather, and a whole lot of folks wandering around in what amounted to lederhosen with their buttcheeks hanging out, which in some cases was not a pretty sight. In other cases, it was quite the treat. Most of the guys seemed to be fairly unoriginal outside of the leatherboys, sticking mostly to standard Goth themes, but most of the ladies were doing their best to be fetching and in general did a fine job.

Basically, as best I can tell, a good time was had by all, even me. I'm not entirely sure how I got home last night, though I did indeed manage it[6]. I think I'd drink less next time (I hope) but I'd definitely do it again, particularly to see Faith and the Muse. I'd also definitely do it again to see that gal in the Victoria's Secret outfit too...

[1] I must credit Benton for this phrase, or at least its inspiration.
[2] So revoke my friggin Goth Card already. Sheesh.
[3] My first BDSM review and I was jaded within 5 minutes. Clearly I've been in Washington too long.
[4] I probably wouldn't know one fetish from another if it bit me on the ass on network TV in super-slo-mo.[5]
[5] Well, maybe with subtitles.
[6] Well, of course alone. Don't be silly.