35 Years of Numbers Memories: The Titans of Local Goth

The week, Numbers turns an impressive 35 years-old, making it one of the oldest clubs in Houston to stay at the same location. It's an institution; there can be no argument about that. To celebrate, we're bringing you three solid days of memories related to the old girl, who continues to move forward providing Houston with it's one-of-a-kind dance and concert experience.

I'll start.

Despite now being the unofficial journalistic spokesman of the Houston goth scene, I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the club. I'd gone as a young, angsty teenager, but teenagers in dance clubs suck even when you are one. It was only as my wife and I were winding up our time as members of a Rocky Horror Picture Show cast and looking for a new place to haunt that she finally convinced me to go spend a few nights at Carmina Bell's Underworld nights.

Honestly, it took a lot of time to find a home there. As the song says, Kompressor does not dance, and I only took up drinking seriously when I started writing because it's like a law. Still, I made friends, most of whom I still have to this day, and all of whom made it a point to paint the night with dark fascination.

REWIND: Daddy, Why Is Numbers Called Numbers?

I still remember the first time I saw a truly amazing concert there... it was Halloween 2001, and Flowers and Machines was playing. I still think that Ken Gerhard is the most thoroughly underrated Houston front man of all time, and much as I enjoy his new career hunting Bigfoot, I miss his particular brand of goth.

Soft blue lights and ethereal dancers backing him as his baritone belted out "Breathe." That, and the image of Sisters of Mercy's Andrew Eldritch singing in the rain on the big screens at Numbers cemented for me everything that I wanted to be. Elegant, dark, and a little bit scary, that's what Numbers lured me in with and I've never let go of it.

This was the tail-end of a really tremendous scene when Houston was a definite bright spot on the dark map of goth, and a solid group of bands could be counted on to hold regular performances as part of events. Flowers and Machines, as mentioned, but also Bamboo Crisis, M87, Violet Blue, Asmodeus X, Provision, Morgue City, and regular visiting Texas acts like CTRL.

Of all those hardcore mainstays of the Numbers concert scene though, nothing could compare to the spectacle that was Bozo Porno Circus, who always lived up to every aspect of their name.

Story continues on the next page.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner