Gothtopia has spent the better part of our free weekends over the last decade hanging out at Numbers whenever DJ Mina hosts Underworld. It remains the hub of all things goth in Houston, and Mina's dedication to the institution doesn't earn her nearly the praise it deserves. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank her for it, and also to say that there is no good reason she couldn't play Rob Zombies's "California" once in a while.
Now, Kompressor does not dance at Underworld. We prefer our role as mighty defender of the purses while the ladies gyrate in front of us. However, we'll always remember the first time a song actually got us out on the dance floor. It was the Sisters of Mercy's "This Corrosion."
Dancing to "This Corrosion" is something of an endurance trial. The album version runs over seven minutes, and really, there's no excuse for playing any other. Seeing Andrew Eldritch glaring down from the dual screens as he sang in the rain forever cemented what we considered cool. Floodland was the first album we ever bought just because we'd heard it at Numbers, and it's still in our Top 10 favorite records today.
Waxing nostalgic, we summoned the Gothic Council to ask what their first, real goth dance tune was. Joining the Council this week is Jvstin Whitney of Church ov Melkarth, Carmilla Voiez, the author of Starblood, fashion designer Batty, stylist Carol Daumer, regular contributor to Carpe Nocturne Magazine Alethea Carr, and Paul Fredric, the lead singer of Asmodeus X.
Jvstin Whitney: The first thing I heard was Music from the Succubus Club and the Cruxshadows, Nosferatu and Bella Morte tracks really stood out for me. To this day I have an irrational love of the Cruxshadows and will take off work to follow them on tour for a few days when they come through Texas, which I don't even do for the most revered metal bands. I finally gave up and accepted EBM and Industrial into my narrow-minded music Nazi brain when Mortiis put out the Smell of Rain.
Carmilla Voiez: Is this dancing in a club or dancing like an ethereal fairy on acid around my bedroom? If the former, Sisters of Mercy's "Temple of Love" (the original 12" version); it used to go on for ages. It was a glorious track to dance to. If the latter - pretty much anything from Christian Death's Catastrophe Ballet.
Batty: The first song at a goth club I can remember dancing to was the strains of "Bella Lugosi's Overplayed... er, Dead," in the club I first went to in Nashville in college. There is something about that intro that really is exciting to a newbie goth kind of pulls you onto the floor.
Carol Dauemer: The Church, "Under the Milky Way." Something about that song still has a hold on me. It's not one I listen to often, or even think about, but when I hear it, it takes me back and makes me think of a place and time I would often rather be. Of course it was at Numbers. I didn't work up the nerve for that kind of dancing until I was probably 17 or 18. Acting like a 'tard and square dancing upstairs at Fitz? Yes. No Problem! Faming windmills at the Goth club, now that shit was scary.
Alethea Carr: My first was "Just Like Heaven," alone in my living room in '87! I was illicitly watching MTV, as that station wasn't allowed in my house and there was not yet any such thing as Parental Blocking Technology - well, unless you count spankings and grounding...and interminable lectures. How did it affect me? Almost difficult to put into words: a revelation, a strange and new physical feeling that lit up every nerve and flooded my veins, new joy and hope. How could I not dance?
Besides the eye candy that was Robert and the boys, I liked the layers of sound, each instrument having equal importance. And I loved that the song didn't have a happy ending! Tragic romance appeals to me just as much now as it did when I was 12. Musically, as well, this song has held up brilliantly. It's still poppy and fresh, and my heart beats fast every time I hear it come on.
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Dancing is as close as I get to a spiritual experience. It makes me feel transcendent - almost like those people who speak in tongues and roll on the floor! Or perhaps, more accurately, those who go into a trance state and levitate. Of course, it took me ages to have the courage to do that same thing in a goth club...and, if I recall, the first song I danced to there was "This Corrosion."
Paul Fredric: I'm afraid I'll have to echo Batty. It was Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead." I'd heard it for years in basements at friend's houses, but the first time I heard it at a club it drew me onto the floor like a vampire's gaze. There was nothing like it before, there has been nothing like it since. The whole goth scene - its rise, fall, and persistent undead reiteration can be summarized in eight minutes with that song.