Gothic Council member Alethea Carr and Houston-based partner Kris Prudhomme are busy preparing for a major event in the goth calendar next year, their inaugural Age of Decay festival in Jacksonville, Florida on April 21. Two major Texas acts have already been signed to participate in the festival; Ending the Vicious Cycle of Ft. Worth and Houston's own Ex-Voto who will hold the main spot at the event.
"It'll be fun! We love festivals!" said Heather Rainwater (keyboards). "Ex-Voto has played goth/deathrock fests all over the country. We'll be headlining this one and it looks like a great line-up!"
Ending the Vicious Cycle and members of Ex-Voto under the moniker the Stage Frights played earlier this year in Houston to critical acclaim. Both acts have long histories in the deathrock scenes of Los Angeles before relocating to the Lone Star State. Their sounds compliment each other perfectly, casting a dark, elegant spell over their audience that lingers for days afterwards. We were particularly enamored with Ex-Voto's last release, Antioch, an album we can sing by heart on request due to its morbid catchiness.
Age of Decay aims to give a platform to newer goth sounds rather than focusing on the tried and true originators. The lack of new blood is a common complaint by many, including your humble narrator. So far signed acts include Lestat, Strap On Halo, The Drowning Season, Entertainment, Sapphire Rebellion, and Asylum X III. The festival will also feature goth vendors such as artist Jerrod Brown and designs by former Houston fashionista Batty.
The line-up is much more rock oriented than many goth gatherings, as industrial and EBM acts have met with generally wider success in recent years than their more guitar driven cousins. Not that we don't love us some oontz, but it is nice to find someone willing to provide a... purer element of goth with a platform.
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"One of the loudest voices that Kris and I keep hearing from goths is that people are tired of having a few old school, overplayed songs and very little recognition of the new goth music that is constantly being recorded," said Carr. "Also, giving up time and space in a goth night for other genres like techno, ebm, and metal has been a source of frustration for so many people. We want Age of Decay to be part of a solution, and the response from people is proof that there are overwhelming numbers of us out there who would rather get up and do something than sit and moan. As the only event of its kind in the States, it also serves to bring our members together in a way that great festivals much further off do, but without the difficulties and expense of international travel."
While the drive to Florida might seem a bit much, though the thought of enjoying a nice Spring night deathrocking ourselves silly is mighty appealing, Houston is still likely to benefit from the momentum of the festival. Prudhomme has informed us that he will shortly be setting up goth bookings in Houston. Hopefully this will help the void left by the departure of Mike Kelley, who was responsible for some of the best goth concerts this year before leaving his position with Numbers.
Nonetheless, Ex-Voto is likely to be Houston's only representative at Age of Decay. The electronica acts are not invited, and electronica has always been Houston's goth base. We can't think of another local group fitting for the set up except possibly the Abyss. The city has acts like TENSE, Provision, Veritgo Blue, Morgue City, and even Asmodeus X (who still release tremendous albums with out telling anyone apparently) that are known far and wide for their beeps and boops, but we're short on good deathrock.
Let's cross our fingers and pray that Prudhomme can change all that, otherwise Ex-Voto is likely to be very busy as the sole appropriate opening act.