Oct 31

Drop Dead IV

by Edward, Filed under: Culture

The Drop Dead Festival, hosted annually since 2003 by the amazingly energetic Polina and Nydecay, has become the seminal underground musical event in the US, and certainly needs no introduction to the international deathrock/goth community. Drop Dead IV, held over September 1-3 at the Knitting Factory in NYC, continued the tradition in fine form, with over 66 bands covering a wide musical spectrum encompassing Goth, death rock, punk, psychobilly, postpunk, and more. Whether you are a Deathrocker, Psychobilly, Punk, Goth, or simply a fan of cutting-edge underground music, Drop Dead is sure to please, and is the only event in the US which showcases so many rising Deathrock and Psychobilly bands.

The music continued non-stop on two stages, while between sets the audience could wander about, seeking out old friends and meeting new ones; perusing the wares of vendors; or dancing to internationally acclaimed Dj’s in the Six Feet Under Dance Club deep in the crypt of the Knitting Factory. Throughout the weekend, the DJ’s played some very good stuff! There was pizza downstairs, coffee upstairs, and band merchandise everywhere. I’ll never know why I felt the need to get even more t-shirts to fill closet space I don’t have, but supporting the bands is always a good enough reason.

On Friday night, after a fun-filled and somewhat alcoholic prologue by Din Glorious, we saw the incomparable Lene Lovich in an enchanting minimalist performance; the legendary Ausgang and Siiii; and the avant-garde masters of musical theater Cinema Strange. We thoroughly enjoyed performances by our friends Lugosi’s Morphine, who blasted the Tikki Stage with their characteristic brand of rousing horrorpunk; the awesome Opposite Sex; and the hard-driving Blitzkid, who don’t just give you a shot in the arm, they rip it right off! While waiting for one of the bands to come on, a friend noted that a member of Bell Hollow was standing behind me. This was a fortuitous piece of luck, as I had been hoping to purchase their EP, and soon I had one! I made a mad dash downstairs right after Cinema Strange so as not to miss to enigmatic Funeral Crashers and their haunting postpunk. Later, in the downstairs hallway, Lucas and I had yet another interesting conversation about music.

Due to the wind and rain, on Saturday night we took a cab to the Knitting Factory instead of walking. After a slight delay getting in because of a burst water pipe, we finally got in out of the elements. We were thrilled to see the Seven Shot Screamers after catching them once again this year at the Heavy Rebel Festival over the summer. It was a wreckin’ night out with the Wrecking Dead, Black Cat Rebellion, the classic Quakes, and other great psychobilly bands. On the intimate downstairs stage Cinema Strange again mesmerized the audience with their unique cabaret, and Ausgang held a rocking reprise as well . Other bands we enjoyed included Entertainment and France’s Veronique Diabolique. Between mad rushes in a futile effort not to miss any of the great bands and talking to very cool people from all over the world, somehow I found time to interview DJ Katz and buy even more merchandise. Between bands I also chatted briefly with DJ Delecti.

During the days, we met with friends, strolled along Bowery Street and St. Mark’s Place, where I found a book on Punk history on a discount table and, of course, bought more t-shirts. We found some excellent falafel stands, made our annual pilgrimage to Trash Vaudeville, and rushed back to the hotel to get ready for another fun-filled night of music and madness.

Sunday was another marvelous night. Bell Hollow was excellent. Lene Lovich returned with a full band; and the awesome Bohemien simply blew the audience away. Deadfly Ensemble mesmerized a packed floor, with Lucas’s lovely girlfriend sitting in on a couple of numbers. while Submarine Fleet evoked shades of Gothness past. Bands like Sasquatch and the Sickabillies and Kastle Grey Skull roared into the night. Later, you just couldn’t stay still when the great Reverent Doom mounted his evil pulpit and Cult of the Psychic Fetus shook the stage, with their ghoulish tales of love and funeral homes. The Reverend certainly knows how to dress. Simple, but effective.

Our flight back to the sunny hell of Florida left early Monday morning, and we returned to the hotel too late for the possibility of sleep. It was with profound regret that we checked out and headed for the airport. We always hate leaving New York City. Thanks to the great bands, the dedicated fans, and especially to Polina and Nydecay, Drop Dead IV RAWKED! We wish we could have seen every band in the phenomenal line up. No matter what stage or when you went there, you simply couldn’t go wrong. Drop Dead is always the high point of our year, and wherever it’s held next, we hope to be there. Anyone need a t-shirt?

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