Live Reviews
Whitby Goth Weekend – April 2016, Part Two

By Jordan Mooney.
Photography by Zhaos Photography.
The Cat on the Wall Crew is: Jordan Mooney, Kane Foster, Eddie Eales, Ross Eales, Matthew Sambrook
With thanks to Jo, Jem, Magenta, Tim, Rowan and Trash. Much love!

 

We’ve sorted out most of our pre-ramble in Friday’s review – so I think it is only right we spare you the tedium and move right along to Saturday. Strap yourselves in once again, ladies and gents of the particularly Gothy persuasion – we’ve got quite an evening ahead of us.

SHE MADE ME DO IT

Shaneena Dax (Vox), Will Crewdson (Guitar)
London, UK
www.shemmdi.com
Facebook.com/shemademedoitpage

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She Made Me Do It are the latest young group of upstarts to set heels on the Spa Pavilion stage; a largely electronic driven outfit from London, Shaneena and Will are enormously talented people who like to run into music firing on every multimedia cylinder. Their music videos are fantastic, their music is well written and on paper they seem more than fitting to lead in the evening. There is no denying that their pedigree (Rachel Stamp, Adam Ant, etc…) is an excellent one, and I was anticipating the result very heavily.

And they were good! Not a show stopper or something I’d flock to see, but they reflect their recorded material well, got the audience’s attention and Shaneena’s voice is near angelic in quality and range, with Will proving his prowess at classic guitar swagger. Who can argue with that combination?

However, this ends up being another group I end up putting into that ever-increasing pile of ‘not my thing’. There wasn’t a bombastic, loud intro or even much in the way of personality – and I’m sorry to say that for myself it wasn’t very memorable. I felt like neither were pushing themselves to their limits; it all felt a bit too ‘safe’ and strictly within a perhaps over-constrictive comfort zone – and the set seemed a little confused.

The third (or fourth) track on the set was absolutely marvellous; the catchier titles were perfect for a Goth Weekend party and more like them would have proven the group to a tired, hill-clambering, new-rock-wearing audience almost immediately; but, as it stood, I found it drawing me to the bar.

I’m not a huge fan of electronic rock, or the poppier aspects of SMMDI’s music – so it’s perhaps of no surprise I’m rather reluctant to make any more criticisms. For your intrepid writer, it proves difficult to try and provide authority on the matter. I know for a fact much of the audience found it utterly excellent; more power to them and more power to She Made Me Do It, I say.

 

RHOMBUS

Ed Grassby (Vox, guitar), Alixandrea Corvyn (Vox), Rob Walker (Guitar), Andy Holmes (Guitar), Lee Tablot (Drums), and Joanna Moy as the recurring fiddle player.
Huddersfield, UK
www.rhombus.org.uk
Facebook.com/Rhombus.UK

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I’ve reviewed Rhombus so many times as part of Whitby Goth, it’s becoming a bit of a slog to try and resist making the same remarks. Jokes about the size of the group, mentions of Ed’s ever-exceedingly fashionable hats, use of the words ‘passionate’ and ‘soulful’; One is in danger of becoming repetitive.

However, things have changed! Rhombus have now dumped their drum machine in the bins round the back of an M&S car park and Lee Talbot, their usual studio skin-basher, has taken to the fray; he’s joined by Alix, Ed’s latest second in command, and the resulting change is rather massive. Now, the entire group feels on par with their peers – that drum machine always was the weak link – and there doesn’t seem to be a loose spot remaining.

The result is a bigger, tougher sounding Rhombus – far more bite, even a little meaner. By far, the best way to hear the group and, in my opinion, the best gig I’ve seen from them yet. It was a perfect storm; every factor was built to take Rhombus to another level, and it succeeded with ease.

Special tips of the hat to Ed’s fine jackets and hats, as usual, and the appearance of the Count hanging from the microphone…

True; the group are perhaps more geared to ‘grown up Goths’ and their following isn’t a clearly defined age group or WGW Demographic – they’re, really, a strong throwback to the classic Goth movement with a touch of extra soul. Like Goth-rock without the vampirism and a touch more originality in their writing. (Controversial, I know, but, there, I said it anyway.)

I liked the touch of showing some of their lyrics on screen; a nice brainwave and a good way to become more attached to the group without them having to change much in the way of their stage act. This is of no surprise, mind – Rhombus are a very respectable sort of operation on every part of the field and provide a good ‘how to’ for younger outfits on how to operate.

I hope many budding musicians take note when Rhombus are on stage; they’re a good pointer on doing it ‘correctly’. As close as one can do music ‘correctly’, anyway.

 

FUZZBOX

Vix Perks (Vox), Maggie Dunne (Keys, Vox), Megan Burke (Guitar), Sarit Black (Bass), Hannah Layhe (Drums)
Birmingham, UK
Facebook.com/OfficialFuzzbox

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Fuzzbox (or We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It! To give their full name) sadly prove a little tough to talk about. I’ve never seen a band who looked and sounded so nervous on stage before, at least in my eyes; rather bizarre in my view considering the massive gigs they’ve performed in their heyday.

I feel particularly rough criticising Fuzzbox as by all accounts they are utterly wonderful people. I’m sure if I was here to review people I’d be giving everybody the highest ratings possible; I loved Fuzzbox’s proud feminist edge (not bad…For a girl!) and I loved the chemistry the members had on stage. The show itself was absolutely wonderful. The music, unfortunately, was the weaker point.

I have no doubt they’re very talented, and no reason to doubt that it was due to nerves getting the better of them (one member remarked to one of our group ‘I’m fucking terrified’…) – but it still feels rather odd to me that such a thing should be a problem so late in a band’s career. What is one meant to say?

The few tracks I could recognise were performed decently enough. The audience seemed excited just to see Vix Perks and her cronies on stage; and I can’t argue with the masses; particularly when they’re more experienced in an artist’s repertoire than I.

I have a theory that Fuzzbox work off of their personality rather than how they sound; a few off-hand remarks from long-time fans seem to corroborate with this, and that, in itself, is rather respectable in its own way – certainly very ‘Punk’. Make of that what you will!

WAYNE HUSSEY

Wayne Hussey (Vox, Guitar), Evie Vine (Accompanying vocals)
London, UK
www.themissionuk.com
Facebook.com/themissionuk

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This is the moment we’d all been waiting for; one of the most eagerly anticipated headliners in WGW history; only missing out to his band The Mission, who are due to take the stage in November. Oh yes, the atmosphere bristled with excitement as Wayne Hussey was finally taking to his chair with his guitar.

And I mean no small praise when I say he is undoubtedly one of the most musically talented performers in Goth Weekend’s pedigree. He was a stunning show, beginning to end. Wayne has a unique talent for keeping his heart to himself then unleashing the lot on stage.

Mellow, calming, almost hypnotic in nature. The power of a man with a guitar is once again exemplified here to a fantastic degree. The question, I suppose, is whether I’d use it to finish a party. The result was like a lullaby; I felt myself calming down, steadily reaching an almost narcotic level of milieu – and when there’s still hours of partying and DJ sets to be had, one could question if this sort of performance is ‘right’ for Goth Weekend’s finale. Nobody could possibly doubt the reasoning of such an incredibly talented man taking the headline; but I can’t help but question if something so mellow and relaxing works for a closer. Perhaps I’m just more into a proper ‘party’ atmosphere at that time of night?

Regardless of my reservations, I certainly heard no such concerns from the audience. Mr. Hussey had them wrapped around his finger effortlessly, and his stirring vocals were filling his most adoring fan’s eyes with tears. An encapsulating, if rather melancholic, performance.

Special mention must go to his accompaniment, Evie Vine, who happens to have one of the most utterly beautiful voices I have ever heard on stage or any other. Together with Wayne, the result was absolutely spellbinding.

While I may have reservations about their place in the headliner, there’s no reservations about sheer talent. Hussey is amazing; astounding. And completely blew my expectations away; probably taking the audience with them..!

And, so, steadily, the world famous Whitby Goth Weekend drew to a pleasant, introverted close. The audience’s reaction was deafening, and, as the sea of black flooded in waves towards the bar, the event officially felt complete.

Rather lovely it was, too…

 

CONCLUSION

In many ways Saturday was a rather mixed bag for me; this isn’t a sign of weakness in the performances, rather a gap in my interests, and if anything was to serve as a reminder of being ‘the young’un’, my perhaps middling anticipation towards tonight’s line up does so clearly. I’ve not got the nostalgia points for many older musicians, so I miss out on rather a lot of that excitement the audience tends to come over. In one way it makes me a much fairer sort of reviewer… in many ways it perhaps makes me a bit unqualified!

Once again, I’m pleased to say we’re likely to have upset any purists – and still managed to move them  – and that sums up the weekend’s ever inspiring intentions nicely. It’s Goth, Jim – but not as we know it.

The weekend is very clearly going from strength to strength both backstage and on stage – the audience feels more overcome every year, and the line ups only grow more unusual and exciting.

By far, the highlight for myself was Mr. Hussey and Ms. Vine’s performance musically, but extra tips of the hat are well deserved for each and every one of the groups that took to the Spa’s panels those two freezing, windy April evenings. The result was a very educational experience for me – walking away with more bands notched into the belt and, perhaps most importantly, an event that seems to be growing. It may not be non-stop glitz and glamour, but for many of us? Its home. And we’d hate to lose it.

Genre defying? Yes. Eyebrow raising? Certainly. Bizarre? But of course; what else could one hope for from a good festival? As long as we don’t end up going Glastonbury’s route, everything’s hunky dory with me…!

 

NEXT LINE UP

Phwwwoaaar! Look at the talent on that! Three of our favourites of Goth Weekends past, set to return – we advise you to get buying your tickets; this’ll be quite a party!

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WWW.WHITBYGOTHWEEKEND.CO.UK

 

About the author

Compulsive hat wearer, eccentric, fan of all things audio-visual, part time Goth, historian, and railway enthusiast, Jordan is the closest you can get to everybody's weird uncle. Except he's less than 60 years old.

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