Goth Concerts: A Love Story

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Last night I went to see the lovely and legendary Peter Murphy! Well. He’s legendary if you like the same kind of weird music as I do. I went with my friends Alexa and Matt and Matt’s friend who’s name I don’t completely remember, though it did sound something like America so I’ll just call her that.  We had to drive to Pasadena to pick up Matt and America from Caltech because Matt’s a mad genius and goes to a smart school. We took my car because Alexa’s car is fabulous and sporty but completely uncomfortable if you are over five feet tall–which everyone was. Traffic was horrible, as is often the case on Friday nights when you drive to LA. Not that I was actually driving; I asked my friend to drive because I don’t particularly like driving the majority of the time.

Because of the stupid traffic, we didn’t get to Pasadena until an hour before the concert started which was a bit of a problem because the my phone GPS thing told me that it would be an hour and a half to get from Pasadena to Santa Ana where the concert was. Luckily, Alexa drove very quickly and we made it there in only an hour! The whole drive we listened to Peter Murphy and Bauhaus, which was the band he was originally in and made stupid jokes that weren’t actually funny. When we finally got to the concert venue we drove back and forth in front of the place about ten times because we couldn’t see an entrance, so we actually did end up being pretty late.

As we were waiting in line to enter the venue some middle-aged women with sequin pants walked up to the four of us and greeted Alexa and Matt like old friends. Apparently they had met at a past show and had reserved a table for us inside, which was quite the treat for us because you generally can’t get a table unless you’re over 21, and only America was. As we entered the building and immediately smelled that sweet sweet aroma of marijuana and vomit. We immediately went to the stage and got a great spot for the show.

We had to wait an hour an a half, but finally the first act came on, which was a group called the Sacred Spiders. They all appeared to be 50 or 60 years old. The bassist looked like Herman Munster with black lipstick and eyeliner–the whole shebang. The lead singer sort of looked like Billie Joe Armstrong likely will in 20 years. Their first song was pretty decent, though not incredibly impressive. But then as the song ended, The singer began crossing himself like Catholics did. And then praying. And then he was on the ground kind of rolling around, apparently having some sort of religious experience. I just stood there, trying hard not to laugh, and looking at my friends in confusion. I wasn’t sure if this was normal procedures for goth acts, but considering they were laughing too, I decided my response wasn’t to far off base. Finally, the singer finished being touched by Jesus or whatever was happening, and continued singing. A guy standing next to me asked me what I thought of the band and I sort of gave a nonchalant shrug only to find out they were friends of his. So then I was like “Yeah, they’re um really pretty good I um like them yup not bad at all I have to go…” And moved farther into the crowd. The set ended with a song about Occupy Wallstreet (“This is why we occupy!” was the shouted chorus) which left me laughing once again. As they left the stage, the singer handed me a black rose.

While we waited for the next performer, a girl a few years older than me saw us and greeted Matt and Alexa with a hug. Turned out, they had met her at another show also and were friends. Jessie, as I found out was her name, happened to friends with Peter Murphy, but was currently fighting with him about something known as the ‘Miracula Sessions’. Also, he boyfriend used to be Peter Murphy’s photographer. At this point, Jessie was fairly drunk, and kept saying things to us “You’re like babies, you’re so young!” and asking her boyfriend “Would you be sad if I died?” Luckily, her boyfriend hadn’t had as much to drink and was looking after her so we didn’t have to.

The next act finally came on, which turned out to be just one girl with a synthesizer type of thing. She was wearing a black dress and silver body paint. She had her back to the crowd for the majority of the performance and sang morosely over drum beats. She seemed incredibly nervous and kept shaking and I ended up being nervous for her. Jessie told me loudly that she felt sorry for the girl that Peter Murphy and did heroin backstage.

After the girl finished her performance, my friends and I went back to the table and ate. I also went to the bathroom where there was an attendant, so that was weird. We all went back to watch the show, though, as the lights dimmed and out walked Peter Murphy in his eyeliner and lipstick, looking unlike any other 54 year old man. I quickly learned that Peter Murphy, AKA the Godfather of Goth, was one of the strangest human being in the entire world. And I loved it. He twirled a lot and struck poses that were obviously meant to be sexy. But, as I mentioned, he was 54 and the years had not been especially kind to him. It was really very odd, seeing middle aged woman literally throwing themselves at him. He would occasionally kneel down and about ten people would reach to stroke his face. I also quickly learned that Peter Murphy isn’t particularly nice or humble. At one point, he got really into things and kicked over his mic stand, which then hit this girl square in the face, and he wasn’t the least bit  apologetic. He also constantly berated his bass player and made sexual innuendos. But the man can sing! And it was glorious. Jessie and her boyfriend were both standing in front of me, and her boyfriend had become far more drunk than earlier and kept running into people. Finally he completely passed out and fell to the floor, pulling Jessie down with him. I continued to standing there so he ended up falling on me too, which was slightly painful. Security carried the guy out after that.

After two encores, Peter Murphy walked off stage, cigarette in hand, and threw his microphone at a tech guy and the show was over. Everyone was sad to see him leave, but it was quite obvious another encore was out of the question for Peter.  The four of us left the club happily after what was an undeniably amazing night. We saw Jessie as we left, she had broken up with her boyfriend.

And that was pretty much my night!

I later asked my friends what the Miracula Sessions were. Apparently, Peter Murphy spent a weekend in Vegas with around 50 people. They had dinner with him and watched him perform, and at the end of it all he would give them a special gift. All for the low low price of $4000. Ahh, Peter Murphy. I guess that’s musicians for you.

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