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Near the end of She Wants Revenge’s riveting set at the Cloak & Dagger festival, Adam Bravin (bassist/DJ/club impresario) looked out among the black-clad masses and asked “If we do this again next year, will you come?” His ask was met with a lusty roar of approval and then the band launched into a cover of the Church classic, “Under the Milky Way,” a song very much in the spirit of what the two-day festival was about, inclusion without judgement, under a galaxy of stars. Their intense set was fitting end to the two-headed serpent intertwined between Broadway’s historic Globe and Tower theaters that completed its run on Saturday night, featuring a stellar lineup that included Poptone, KMFDM, Cold Cave, ohGr and Zombi.
||| Also: See Friday’s coverage, with the Jesus and Mary Chain, TR/ST, Health, Drab Majesty and more.
||| Photos by Andie Mills
Drawing inspiration from a long history of darkly romantic L.A. clubs where variants of sexuality, sensuality, fashion and music came to together to let their freak flag fly, Bravin and partner Michael Patterson (in conjunction with Spaceland and Restless Nites Presents), reinvented their private Cloak & Dagger entity as a festival. Bravin billed the event as not so much a goth club, but a celebration of dark music across several genres. The daring lineup provided proof of that statement, as a whole host of genres and subgenres were represented, and so interesting discoveries were made. Both nights had revelers spilled upon Broadway, vamping between the packed theaters.
There were some hiccups. On the Tower stage, ohGr had severe technical difficulties, which caused a major disruption in set times. While this became a pratfall for those who wished to be at two places at once, the crew did an exceptional job in juggling egos and anger and pulled off a minor miracle, as festival set times left little room for creative freedom.
OhGr eventually took the stage and scraped together a set that did not sound all that dissimilar to their more well-known entity, Vancouver legends Skinny Puppy. Following them were Zombi, which to my ears sounded like video game music from the ’90s, which may be a good or bad thing.
Oakland’s Luis Vasquez led the Soft Moon through a set of lush melodic darkwave; however, it was below the Globe where the blood ran deep. In the dark bowels sang a beautiful creature beautifully. Accompanied by cello and keys, Ciscandra Nostalghia sang torch songs for the broken-hearted and soon to be. Absolutely magical was her set, drawing comparisons to singers such as Lisa Gerrard, Hope Sandoval and Azam Ali.
KMFDM’s Sascha Konietzko wants you to know that your government hates you, loudly. The German industrial veterans did not disappoint, fiercely political and fiercely funny, their brand (using that term specifically because they’d hate that) of rhythmic assault battered a willing crowd into submission. Over at the Globe ex-Bauhaus/Love and Rockets/Tones on Tail members Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins were joined by Haskins’ daughter Diva Dompé, where they lovingly revisited and reinvigorated those vast catalogs under the moniker of Poptone. And back over at the Tower, Wesley Eisold’s Cold Cave pushed through a set of early ’80s-inspired darkwave. And then back again to the Globe for She Wants Revenge.
Back and forth, back and forth, up and down festival-goers marched en masse past and through the Biergarten. Now while this may sound rather annoying to some, trust me on this, to the serious goth it spells an opportunity to vogue their meticulously coiffed hairstyles and carefully fashioned outfits. The theaters’ opulent staircases and lobbies became places to strike severe poses. The sojourn between the theaters became a brilliant exercise in people watching and thus among the taco and and bacon-wrapped hot dog carts, Los Angeles’ darkest children turned L.A.’s historic Broadway boulevard into the festival’s unofficial fourth venue. For a genre deemed so gloomy, there were a lot of smiles.