Secret Society of the Sonic Six
We’re sitting on a second-floor patio of a building on the side of Chinatown near Union Station. We’re high enough above street level to watch ant-sized cars creep downhill from Dodger Stadium. I wonder if there is going to be a mad rush into this neighborhood to grab a French dip sandwich at Philippe’s before they close in another hour or so. If that happened, I didn’t notice. The streets are already lined with parked cars. Maybe people just left after the 7th inning to get their sandwiches.
Inside the club, the bands– Secret Society of the Sonic Six and Deathstrip– are sound checking. It’s loud enough where we can hear the music clearly on the patio. We’re also near a glass door, so it doesn’t take much of a stretch to peer inside. It looks and sounds like this is going to be a special night. It is.
Sometime after 10:30, Deathstrip heads towards the stage for the actual performance. This is the band’s first live gig, but you wouldn’t notice that. The singer is Fate Fatal from The Deep Eynde. That’s a band that has been ruminating in the L.A. goth scene for well over a decade. Fate was actually amongst the first group of musicians that I interviewed, way back when I was a college kid hosting a radio show on KXLU. I got to talk to him a bit before the gig, which was great. We hadn’t seen each other in years.
Last night was Underground vs. Amoeba. Larry G. and Diana M. played at Amoeba in Hollywood early Friday night. At the same time, I was playing a pretty hefty opening set at the Grand Star. I was just thinking about how cool it would be to do a split-screen webcast of something like that. Regardless, Larry and Diana joined us at the Grand Star later that evening and we traded off sets as normal. It was a fun night with a good crowd. Check out what I played. (Note: I tweeted the above photo while I was packing my crate. Ended up playing two out of six of those selections.)
Here’s my set lists from Underground on Friday night. We celebrated Robert Smith’s birthday by playing The Cure and other related stuff.
Best moment of the night was when I played “I Wanna Be a Cowboy” by Boys Don’t Cry. I only brought it because “Boys Don’t Cry,” as I’m sure you know, is also a Cure song. Wasn’t expecting it to do well, but people were all packed on the dance floor dancing with imaginary lassos.
A funny thing has been happening at Underground lately. People have been going nuts for the old L.A. goth club staples. Clan of Xymox gets people running to the dance floor. We get requests for Xmal Deutschland. It’s a little unexpected, but we decided to go with it and throw a party called Shadowplay last night. We said it was our goth night. It’s really a lot more than that.
We had a full dance floor before 11 p.m. I remember seeing my friend Tony walk into the club and I wanted to play this Creatures song, “Right Now,” for him because we used to always dance to it together back in the days of Helter Skelter and Coven 13. Then I looked at my phone and realized it was way too early for “Right Now.” I waited.
I got my start as a Coven 13 DJ. I’m incredibly grateful for that gig because that’s where I learned to work a dance floor. The gig also put me in touch with the bands who I would bring up to my radio show for interviews. That led to writing. So, Coven 13 played a pretty important role in my career.
After I graduated from college, I left Coven 13 and left the goth scene behind. I started playing at other clubs, playing different styles of music. Sure, I still went to the clubs here and there to see my friends play, but I was preoccupied with other stuff. Last night was probably the closest I’ve gotten to playing a goth dance party in over a decade. It was a lot of fun. I think my favorite moment was when I played “She Sells Sanctuary” and the whole room just went crazy on the dance floor.
I had too much music for last night. I cut my picks in half. Then I cut them in half again. Filled a crate as tightly as I could. I still played less than half of what I brought. We really need to do this again.
My friend, Gavin Hignight, recently released the novel The Freak Table. Last night, Downtown’s Artwalk hosted a group show inspired by the book, called “Won’t Back Down.” I was happy to DJ alongside Del from Tune in Tokyo for the event. I played two sets over the course of the night, both of which are inspired by The Freak Table.
Skinny Puppy– Worlock
Depeche Mode– Behind the Wheel
Real Life– Send Me an Angel
Sisters of Mercy– Alice
Chameleons– In Shreds
Siouxsie and the Banshees- Slowdive
Joy Division– Dead Souls
The Cure– Fascination Street
Front 242– Don’t Crash
New Order– Bizarre Love Triangle
The Smiths– Bigmouth Strikes Again
Stone Roses– I Wanna Be Adored
Suede– The Drowners
Clan of Xymox– Louise
Ultravox– Dancing with Tears in My Eyes
Human League– Seconds
Tears for Fears– Change
House of Love– Destroy the Heart
The Las– There She Goes
Duran Duran– The Chauffeur
We had a great night at Underground. Thanks to everyone who came out for a little Friday night dancing. My next gig there is March 8. This will also be the release party for Los Animales, the webcomic that Jeaux J. and I make. (Yes, it’s online now. Catch up here.)
Here’s what I played tonight.
This one got really ’80s.
Siouxsie and the Banshees– Dazzle
Strawberry Switchblade– Since Yesterday
Depeche Mode– See You
Clan of Xymox– Muscoviet Mosquito
Duran Duran– Careless Memories
Joy Division– Isolation
The Smiths– What She Said
The Cure– Primary
Adam and the Ants– Ant Music
Bow Wow Wow– I Want Candy
Sisters of Mercy– Alice
Soft Cell– Memorabilia
New Order– Perfect Kiss
Ladytron– Evil (Ewan Pearson Mix)
The Rapture– House of Jealous Lovers
The Clash– Magnificent Seven
Soft Cell– Sex Dwarf
Duran Duran– Planet Earth
Siouxsie and the Banshees– Slowdive
The Cure– Boys Don’t Cry
Dexy’s Midnight Runner– Come on Eileen
Depeche Mode– Personal Jesus
Human League– Don’t You Want Me
Gorillaz– Dare (DFA Mix)
Amy Winehouse– You Know I’m No Good
Hanging out with my pals Tony and Flora. (Photo: Carlos R.)
You know the “One does not simply…” meme? There was an image going around on Facebook that read, “One does not simply ask for guest list at 8 p.m.” I think everyone who ever worked at a club shared it. I know I did. It’s one of those things that drives club people wild. By 8 p.m., we have our lists printed out and are on the road to the gig. What’s funnier though is when your friend who liked that particular status update texts you the next day, after 8 p.m., with the message, “One doesn’t simply ask for guest list at 8 unless it is Tony.” Since Tony and I have been friends for almost our entire adult lives, and since that text made me laugh so hard that I almost fell off my platforms, he became the exception to the rule. Point being, when you post anything resembling a rule on Facebook, be prepared for your friends to break it and for you to laugh so hard you can’t say no.
So, a few of my friends stopped by the party, which was great because I could dance with them on my breaks instead of sitting at the bar looking at my Twitter feed. The turnout was pretty good and the crowd was dancing all night, even when I threw in Xmal Deutschland. Someone requested that and, since nobody has ever asked me to play them at Underground before last night, I had to do it.
Here’s the set list.
I usually play all vinyl. However, last night was Suede Nite at Underground and, the thing about Suede (who I still refuse to call London Suede), is that it’s incredibly difficult to get their releases on vinyl in L.A. I had one 7″ and one 12″ single. After spending hours walking around Hollywood and Highland Park, I now have three 7″ singles and that one weird “Everything Will Flow” remix 12″ that I randomly found in a cheapo bin at Amoeba years ago.
That said, I played CDs last night and it was fun. It was a different experience and I think the set list is far from what I normally spin in part for that reason. It’s basically what I played at Bang! back in 2000 and 2001. I even got The Avalanches in there.
Some friends asked about the cover of “Da Da Da” that I played last night. It’s from Elastica’s second album. “You know, the one no one bought,” I answered. The album is actually called The Menace and the “Da Da Da” cover was something I played a lot at Bang! when the album was new. Go look through the used CD bins and I’m sure you’ll find it for cheap.
Maybe someday soon I will tell you about the awesome madness that went down at Underground last night, but I’m going on four hours of sleep, so let’s just stick with a set list. Three sets, mostly old stuff, but songs that are rarely, if ever, played at Underground. Had the floor going before 10 p.m. That never happens at a party that opens at 9. Ever.