Could it be? On top of the mischief conjured by thousands of cloaked fans, a world-class parade, and all the other out-of-this-world shenanigans not fit for print that went down at Dragon*Con this past weekend, one of ATL's great ska bands was playing in the midst of it all?
That was my first thought when I saw two set times for SS Vendetta buried in the laundry list of happenings for the 26th annual Dragon*Con conference. My second, is this really the SS Vendetta I know, or some off-beat reference in the realm of the Con I’m just too out of touch to understand?
It's one of the pitfalls of clipping Dragon*Con press credentials to your chest and walking into a hotel room where a pair of 16-sided die is being rolled by a guy with intense determination on his face — painted blue like an Avatar — and his opponent is wearing a T-shirt that says "Han shot first." If anyone knows the power of the words "off the record" at 4:30 a.m. it's these guys...
Saturday at Dragon*Con was pretty uneventful for me, mostly because I was so burned out from Friday night. Although it was the busiest day/night of the convention this year. Lot's of panels, lots of costumes. The autumn-like weather couldn't have been better suited for the parade on Saturday morning. Everyone from Sleestak's to Stormtroopers were in full force and the people watching opportunities were priceless.
I opted to go free range again, rather than sit in on a bunch of celebrity talks. Although I did make it to a Q&A with Steve, Dave and Amy from TAPS,which was awesome. I also hit up a panel discussion dubbed "Gigs from Hell," but wouldn't you know it, the panel featured most of the same folks from the State of the Goth Scene snooze fest I endured Friday night. Although this time around it was slightly more interesting to listen to a bunch of hung over goths reliving their horror stories from the road. If you think life for the average touring, indie rock band is hard, add Aquanet and eyeliner to the recipe and book them in a Christian music venue somewhere in rural Indiana...
I picked up my press credentials and the only real agenda item for the evening was to hit up The State of the Goth Scene: 2010 panel discussion. But like Odysseus making his way home from the Trojan War, there were many distractions along the way. Sirens and hideous beasts alike had swarmed upon downtown Atlanta and costumed geeks were getting their freak on as far as the eye could see. Sweet Jesus where do these people come from, and who are they? Misanthropes, curious thrill seekers, gamers, Trekkies, Furries, librarians and blogger shut-in types from the rural American countryside. They live among us and this is their time of the year to be amongst friends and truly shine.
It's an old familiar scene for me at this point. I've been people watching at Dragon*Con for several years now and if I've made one revelation it's that anything goes. Judge not lest ye be judged.
In the Hyatt's main lobby the three poor souls who had been suckered in to concierge duty on this unholy night held on to their game faces; even when a guy dressed as Randy "Macho Man" Savage circa '87 entered through the revolving door, held a hand to his ear and in a raspy voice announced his arrival, "Oooooh Yeah!"
Suddenly, everyone else seemed tame by comparison, and the Macho Man had an agenda. He led me to a large ballroom, which had been converted to an amateur wrestling arena and the place was packed. All eyes were on four buff dudes in booty shorts going head-to-head in the squared circle — tag team. Adults and children alike leapt from their seats shouting protests when one Mohawked manager taunted them all, screaming into a microphone that his favorite Star Trek character was Darth Vader, and that no one else's opinions mattered "because "y'all are a bunch of NNNEEEERRRRDDDDS!!!!!!"
Black Tape for a Blue Girl plays Sat., Sept. 4 in the Marriott Atrium Ballroom at Midnight. Rosenthal will also speak on a panel about the State of the Goth Scene Fri., Sept. 3 at 8:30 PM. The group’s vocalist Athan Maroulis will also appear on a panel titled “Gigs from Hell” on Sat., Sept. 4 at 1 p.m., and on a David Bowie panel discussion on Sun., Sept. 5 at 8:30 p.m.
Since 1986 Black Tape for a Blue Girl has operated under the direction of principle songwriter Sam Rosenthal who runs Projekt Records, one of the country’s longest-standing indie goth labels. For those who are unfamiliar, the group is a progenitor of the ethereal “darkwave” sound, and throughout the ‘90s Black Tape... dwelt in bleak, droning washes of brittle, personal explorations — sort of a dark and dramatic counterpart to the My Bloody Valentines and Cocteau Twins of the world.
Over the last few years the group's lineup has expanded to include a full band, and their latest release, 10 Neurotics embrace more tangible elements of songwriting, that lends itself to a stronger live performance; albeit steeped in sprockety cabaret and deep, dark narratives.
Chad Radford: Is this the first time that Black Tape For A Blue Girl has played Dragon*Con?
Sam RosenthalYes. I have been hearing about Dragon*Con for many years, but this is the first time it has coincided with me having a touring band ready to perform. I am really excited because this year is kind of like "Projektfest South" with Voltaire and WEEP also on the bill.
Most of the Black Tape For A Blue Girl material that I'm familiar with is of an ethereal, drone-based nature (in the vein of The First Pain To Linger, Mesmerized by the Sirens etc.). The new material show a different side of the group, one that probably makes for a more engaging live show, especially for a Dragon*con audience.
You are correct, that we're really not an ethereal band these days. I've created a lot of albums I love in that genre, but I definitely felt like staking out new territory. The new material from10 Neurotics is in a rock / dark cabaret vein. It is meant to be heard and performed live.
Nashville has more dive bars than ATL now that sucks. tbh i think that new…
*Christ, Lord sorry
"Punk" style like this seems like it is the polar opposite of punk. Bradford Cox…
They're kind of starting to look like a joke of themselves. Song's good though.
All 80s movies want you...
Their show with Chris, Lord about 3 years at the Unicorn was the best.