|see all the photos from this show here
The Ordo Templi Orientis
MC Scary Lady Sarah
...and a DJ cast of thousands.
Centrum Halls, Chicago
Saturday December 14 2002
~review and photos by Uncle
This isn't going to be a normal review.
I suspect it'll turn into a cross between those 'What I did on my holidays'
essays my English teacher used to make me write at school, one of the tall
tales you'll read on http://www.roadie.net,
and selected scenes from 'Spinal Tap: The Goth Years'. All I can
do is simply tell the story...
In a world where goth-scene promoters seem
to come and go like the tides, it's unusual to find an outfit which has
hung around for any great length of time. But if somebody ever struck
a medal for long-term service to the fractious subculture that is goth,
it would instantly be won by Scary Lady Sarah's American Gothic Productions
American Gothic Productions' regular weekly
club night, Nocturna, has been operating without a break for fifteen years
now, which makes it the longest-running goth club anywhere in the world.
That's some record. The club isn't AGP's only venture, however. There's
also the Sunday night fetish extravaganza, Whiplash, and many years' worth
of live shows by just about every goth-related band you can think of. And
then there's the reason we're in Chicago today: the lavish end-of-year
party that is Saturnalia.
Saturnalia counts as a relatively new addition
to the Chicago scene-calendar. It started only four years ago, but already
it's well established as a 'must-play' event for bands around the world.
Bella Morte, Inkubus Sukkubus, Faith & The Muse, Element, and Angels
& Agony are among the acts which have appeared in previous years. It's
also become a 'must-attend' event for the denizens of Chicago's underground
- because it's not just another festival. It's a wild party to which everyone's
This year, we've been invited. That's
'we' as in Bunny Peculiar, former Woman of Sodom turned performance poet,
and Uncle Nemesis, former promoter turned...well, on-line journalist, I
suppose, if my ramblings for StarVox can be dignified by such a term. Also
on the Saturnalia bill - and also on our plane to the USA - are the UK's
rising stars, Passion Play. Except that Passion Play are much more of an
international band these days, rather than simply a UK act. Later this
year, Justin, the band's founder member, intends to relocate to Germany.
That's a far more practical base for future progress than the UK, which
hardly counts as a blip on the radar in international goth-scene terms
these days. Mattias, the band's bassist, already lives in Germany, and
will be making his own way to Chicago via a circuitous route involving
three changes of plane in three countries, and 18 hours in the air. Rather
him than me!
Although the UK contingent only has to
contend with an 8-hour direct flight from London, we nevertheless arrive
in Chicago feeling as grey as United Airlines' livery. Fortunately, Chicago
is mild, the air is clear, and we soon perk up with a feeling of anticipation
as the last few days before the big event are crossed off the calendar.
The build-up to Saturnalia is well under way, and most of it seems to be
on Scary Lady Sarah's kitchen table. Invitations, laminates, brochures
and advance orders are piled high, and Sarah herself is spending every
spare moment wrapping up the arrangements for the event. I'm surprised
that she's doing so much of the work herself - much of it seems to be fairly
straightforward admin stuff which anyone could do, given some basic background
info. When the chief executive of American Gothic Productions is spending
the small hours of the night slaving over a hot photocopier down at the
24-hour copy shop instead of getting some much-needed sleep, that surely
counts as a little hint that some help is needed! But then, I used to do
all the same stuff myself when I was a promoter. It goes with the territory,
I suppose. Behind the glitz of the show lie many sleepless nights of hard
graft, and it takes a tough cookie to handle it. Maybe we've discovered
one of the reasons why so few promoters seem to stick around long-term!
It's also frequently true that behind
the glitz of the show lie many hassles, problems, and freak-outs, and one
of these is just about to land on Saturnalia. The day before the show,
Mattias phones in from Germany: the first flight of his three-leg marathon
journey to Chicago has been cancelled. There are 24 hours to go before
he's due to walk out on stage with the band, and he's stuck on the other
side of the planet! After a few hours of trawling through plane timetables
it becomes obvious that there's no way he can use his existing ticket on
an alternative flight and still get to Chicago in time for the show. The
only thing to do is bite the bullet and spend a frighteningly huge wedge
of cash on an entirely new ticket which will get Mattias to the show on
time - just! He'll arrive barely in time to do the soundcheck, play
the set, grab a few hours' sleep, and fly straight out again. He'll probably
feel like he's been dragged through several time zones backwards, but he'll
make it, the show will go on, and nobody will ever know there was a problem.
And then it's the day of the show. The
hours before doors-open time count down relentlessly, even as the number
of last-minute chores which simply *must* be done seem to multiply. Mattias
arrives, telling horror stories of his full-scale search by airport security,
who seemed convinced that the only reason anyone would enter the USA for
just one day must be to commit terrorist acts. After all the hard work
and hassle, it surely counts as a minor miracle to get everyone safely
inside the venue, ready to set up. By the time we arrive in mid-afternoon,
headliners God Module have finished their soundcheck and disappeared somewhere,
and the other bands are just arriving. We have a clear hour or so to sort
out Passion Play. Well, that should be easy enough.
Because Saturnalia is not held in a regular
live music venue, there is no in-house sound equipment. The PA is all temporary
gear, brought in by a rental company who have, apparently, supplied previous
AGP events. Passion Play and entourage cast critical eyes over the equipment:
the rented backline seems OK, but little alarm bells start to ring in our
heads as we look over the rest of the system. It seems...well, rather small
for such a large hall, and it's clear Justin isn't massively impressed
with the monitors. With only four small wedges on stage (two at the front,
one for the drums, and another floating randomly in the middle) it looks
minimal to the point of being inadequate. Still, if those wedges can chuck
out a good punchy sound, it should be OK. We hope!
I had vaguely assumed that a few backline
roadies would be in evidence at the venue, to help set up the basic stuff
and wield the gaffa tape, but this doesn't appear to be so. I look around
for the crew, expecting to clock a bunch of geezers with Maglites hung
off their belts waiting to get stuck in, but no such merry bunch can be
seen. The only sound-tech person in the entire place is the engineer who
comes with the PA (presumably in his own flight case). And, not to put
too fine a point on it, the rental company haven't exactly sent the A-team.
The engineer seems worryingly vague, bumbling half-heartedly around while
wearing an expression of bland disinterest, and only showing signs of animation
when he makes calls on his mobile phone - which he does with suspicious
frequency. Elsewhere, there's another random bod wandering about carrying
bundles of cables. This, it turns out, is the lighting tech. The rented
lighting rig is a basic four-channel affair which surely shouldn't take
too much brain-ache to set up, but our man seems to be making absurdly
heavy weather of it. I sit to one side and watch him puzzling over the
tricky problem of connecting one lead to another, all the while fighting
the urge to march over to him, elbow him out of the way, and say, 'Look,
you dozy twit, let *me* do it, or we'll be here all day!'
By now the alarm bells in our heads are
ringing somewhat more loudly. If *this* is the Saturnalia technical crew,
it's going to be an interesting night...
And it gets more interesting very quickly.
Passion Play set themselves up on stage and prepare to make some noise.
To boost the on-stage sound, the band's amps are piled up like a rock 'n'
roll Stonehenge. Can't trust those monitors.There's a constant buzz of
interference coming from somewhere. Is it the bass amp? Nope, it's probably
the lights, which are plugged in to the same power circuit as the PA. If
the Centrum was a proper gig venue it would have separate circuits for
sound-power and lighting-power, thus removing any chance of interference,
but it isn't and it doesn't. I wonder if I should suggest running out an
extension lead, and powering the lights from a socket in another room,
which in a building this size would presumably be on a different circuit.
It's an old trick but I've known it to work. However, the thought of trying
to explain this idea to the gormless lighting tech doesn't appeal, so I
sit tight. In any case, there are other problems: Justin's effects unit,
which he's brought with him from the UK, won't work on 110 volts. Has anyone
thought to bring a transformer to step up the power to 230v? Um....no.
Never mind, we'll get the sound engineer to sort it. Hang on - has anyone
seen the sound engineer? Um....no. Cue instant crisis. Where is the sound
engineer? He's gone!
In the middle of the soundcheck, just when
he's needed to fix a veritable deli-tray of technical hitches, the engineer
had simply put on his coat and left the building. The gormless lighting
tech volunteers the information that he's 'gone to pick up his mum'. Is
he coming back? Yeah, sometime later. What? LATER? Jaws hit the floor all
over the room. It's now only two hours till doors-open, there are four
bands to soundcheck through a gimcrack PA system that's buzzing like a
wasp's nest, the monitors look like they've come free with a breakfast
cereal, nobody seems to have taken care of details like voltage transformers
so essential bits of kit can't even be plugged in - and now the engineer
has walked out! If anyone was planning on having a nervous breakdown, this
would seem to be the opportune moment.
I have to leave the room at this point,
and go for a walk around the bar area. I just can't bear to sit there and
watch the entire show fall to bits before it's even started. If this had
been a Nemesis Promotions event, I think I would've taken myself outside
with my service revolver and done the decent thing. Eventually, I find
enough courage to peek into the main hall once more - and I discover that
Saturnalia's fairy godmother has arrived.
I'm sure Sam Rosenthal of Projekt didn't
expect to be the technical saviour of Saturnalia. He'd only come along
to see Audra, who are on his label. But in the absence of anyone else,
he steps up to the mixing desk and makes it all happen. The bassist from
Rachael's Surrender appoints himself backline roadie, and he and Sam figure
out what kit is plugged into what channel, what works, and what doesn't.
Someone sends out to the rental company for a voltage transformer, and
Justin gets to plug in his effects. All of a sudden - we've got a soundcheck!
It's a tall order to soundcheck all the
bands within the time available, and it's pretty clear that the doors will
open late - but at least the show will happen. Only a short time previously
this had looked very doubtful. Passion Play whip through one and a half
songs, and Claire Voyant, Audra, and Rachael's Surrender get hasty
but under the circumstances adequate run-throughs. The other performers,
Bunny Peculiar and the O.T.O. squad, don't need soundchecks, being just
spoken-word vocals. It would be nice to get five minutes on the mic just
to set a level, but that notion went out of the window very early on. What
the hell, they'll all wing it. In the midst of all this activity the sound
engineer bumbles back in, having presumably taken care of his pressing
domestic chores. We are then treated to the amusing spectacle of Scary
Lady Sarah doing a verbal demolition job on him, while he stands there,
gob hanging open, looking like someone's just hit him round the head with
a wet fish. Guess who won't be getting paid tonight?
And then it's doors-open time. A miracle!
I thought we'd never get there! While the soundcheck stress-fest has been
under way in the main hall, other members of the Saturnalia crew have been
quietly getting on with their own tasks elsewhere in the building. Downstairs,
there's a DJ room festooned with drapes and fairy lights, and a dungeon
which looks suspiciously like it's been converted from someone's office.
Well, there are
a few scenarios which could be acted out of *that*, I'm sure. The DJs crank
up, the bar staff brace themselves for the onslaught, and all of a sudden
the venue is filled with the denizens of Chicago's underground, costumed
to the nines and ready to party. It's showtime!
Rachael's Surrender stride onto the stage
with an apparent confidence I suspect they don't really feel, given all
the soundcheck shennanigans. They're probably secretly praying that nothing
goes horribly wrong over the next 30 minutes. Aren't we all! They're local
heroes, of a sort: it seems the band has been around for a good long while
on the Chicago scene, in various line-ups based around guitarist and founder-member
Reuben. The line-up we see before us tonight is new. The big change, I'm
told, is the introduction of a female singer. (Who, I'm afraid, I cannot
introduce to you. I tried to check her name on the band's website - never
let it be said that I don't do my research! - but with impeccable timing,
the entire site has been taken down. Duh!) The singer's identity might
be a mystery, but she's a fine asset for the band - in fact, I can't envisage
how they managed without her. She has great stage presence, and conveys
exactly the kind of enthusiasm we need to get the party started. She also
has a wonderfully clear, controlled voice, which sits just right in the
band's chunky pop. Occasionally, she brings out a violin, and weaves a
little melody around the spiky guitar, bass 'n' drum machine noise. On
one song, we get a brief glimpse of old-skool Rachael's Surrender, as the
guitarist takes a vocal. It's a fast, punky number (Rachael's Surrender
go Dead Kennedys?) but his singing style has more enthusiasm than skill.
It's quite a relief when the female singer resumes her place at the mic.
Whatever the past history of Rachael's Surrender might be, I think this
is *the* line-up: they deserve to become more than just a Chicago-scene
phenomenon over the coming year.
We're still only about an hour into the
event, but already there's an air of wild, booze-fuelled hedonism building
up. In the UK, getting riotously pissed is part and parcel of a normal
night out, but one of the differences I've observed between the US and
UK scenes is that people simply don't drink as much at US clubs and gigs.
Saturnalia seems to be the exception to that rule - everybody's hell-bent
on getting as much alcohol inside them as possible, in the shortest possible
time. The reason for this uncharacteristic Bacchanalian excess isn't hard
to find. Saturnalia invitations cost $30, which not only covers the bands,
the DJs, and the dungeon - it also entitles everyone to as much booze as
they can sink. The American expression for this is 'open bar'. I suspect
the British equivalent would be something along the lines of: 'Wahey! Let's
get stuck in!' At any rate, it seems everyone is intent on drinking their
full $30-worth, and then some. Quite a few punters seem to have figured
out that if they drink more than $30 worth of booze, the evening effectively
becomes free from that point on. If they're still standing, that is...
For those of us who haven't already drunk
ourselves horizontal, it's time for the second band. Before Saturnalia,
the sum total of my knowledge of Audra was this: they're on the Projekt
label. Rightly or wrongly, when the P-word is mentioned in the UK, we tend
to think of swirly-girly ethereal; delicate female vocals, precisely-plucked
acoustic guitars, swooning keyboards. I'm therefore taken aback to find
that Audra are a bunch of new-wavey looking blokes who kick up a robust
racket. Definitely a rock band. Put all those notions of 'ethereal' on
hold right now. Can Audra be summed up in one word? Hmmm. Not really, but
if I were to try, I might venture 'Bowie-esque'. It's good stuff, very
British in a way; the songs lock themselves into solid, no-messing rhythms
while the guitar splinters and skitters over the top. The vocals are strong:
I can imagine the singer propping up the same bar as Nick Cave.
It has to be said that the band looks
fairly ordinary - in fact, the contrast between the dressed-up crowd and
the dressed-down bands is quite noticeable all night. But Audra's prosaic
alternoboys-next-door image is particularly odd given the elaborate artwork
which they use on their CDs. Even their set list bears a pastel-green background
pic and has been carefully singed around the edge to represent an old parchment.
I like this attention to detail - especially as it's obviously something
the band are doing for themselves, since set lists aren't intended for
the public to see (unless the public steals them off the stage after the
show, of course!) But why does this consideration of the visuals not extend
to the appearance of the band themselves? God forbid that Audra should
feel obliged to dress up like Nosferatu or something, but a sharp shirt
or two wouldn't go amiss. But hey. I quibble. Audra delivered a punchy,
energetic set, the audience liked them - and I thought they were a bit
of all right myself.
Nobody's quite sure what the time is,
and in any case the original schedule went overboard long ago, but Bunny
Peculiar is lined up to do her brief interlude of near- (neo?) poetry next.
The only trouble is, Sam on the mixing desk doesn't know about this, until
he's accosted by a strange woman with polkadots in her hair, insisting
that she's on stage any minute. 'Uh...if you say so,' says Sam. In fact
there's another interlude before the interlude, as it were. Scary Lady
Sarah jumps up to officially welcome us all to Saturnalia, and give us
all a party-on pep talk. I'm impressed by her ability to remain positive
and upbeat, just like all earlier hassles had never happened. It must take
huge reserves of willpower to get on stage and sparkle for the audience
when you're operating on a combination of stress, overwork, and sleep deprivation,
but Sarah manages it. What a trouper. The audience cheers, and I cheer
along with them.
And then it's time for Chicago to get
its collective head round the poetic strangeness of Bunny Peculiar. Slightly
to my surprise, she doesn't get heckled, bottled off, or - the unkindest
cut of all - ignored. People actually pay attention, which is really quite
gratifying, especially as Bunny P's material isn't exactly loaded with
attention-grabbing hooks and rhymes. It's all ideas and images, thrown
out like kitchen cleaner from one of those squirty guns. The stuff which
gets the best response seems to be anything that has a certain rhythm,
or at least a staccato, punctuated, emphasis in which certain lines and
words are hit hard. That's the material which really hits home with this
rock 'n' roll audience. The imagery seems to strike a chord, too. At any
rate, there are a few laughs of recognition along the way, especially when
Bunny P. gets on to the one about farting. If in doubt, give 'em something
about bodily functions! This was a baptism of fire, in a way: a relatively
large event with an audience more interested in partying than poetry. But
the reaction was good. There's definitely something here which works...
The bizarre contrast between the dressed-up
crowd in all their finery, and the dressed-down ordinariness of the bands
is emphasised once again as the three members of Claire Voyant arrive on
stage. The music is provided by two chaps in easy-to-wear casuals, who
play keyboards and guitar. Centre stage, a female vocalist in a neat jacket
and reassuringly sensible shoes provides the focal point. To be blunt,
there's not much in the visual excitement department here, but when the
singer gets going her voice is so arresting you
can almost forget the fact that she's dressed like an amiable schoolteacher.
Her voice is powerful, but she doesn't just belt out the songs: she gets
inside them and really brings the lyrics to life. The band's musical forte
seems to be precise, neat, tunes which strike a balance between grit and
The name of Garbage has been dropped as a comparison: I'm not sure if that's
really relevant, for Garbage always seem to me to be all production and
no humanity, while Claire Voyant seem to have the knack of creating music
which can both pull you in and shake you up. I'd suggest they're a band
which repays listening at home, since in all honesty they don't have a
spectacular stage show, but they get a good audience reaction and I'm happy
to have seen them. Must check out the CDs now.
After the Claire Voyant's set, there's
time to take a quick trip to the DJ floor, where CarrieMonster is playing
Goteki. It sounds very strange to hear Sneaky's splendidly camp English
vocals booming out of a dancefloor PA in Chicago, but long may this cross-fertilisation
of scene-culture continue. That's the way to move onwards and upwards!
I glance into the dungeon, which appears to be full of people in black
leather having polite conversations with each other. Conversations? Where's
the debauchery? I'm suddenly confronted by a girl in an alarming corset,
her breasts cantilevered over the top in a manner which surely redefines
the basic principles of civil engineering, not to mention gravity. Ah,
*there's* the debauchery! I make my excuses and leave, because it's time
to witness the Ordo Templi Orientis gang doing their showbiz ritual on
the stage upstairs.
What is the Ordo Templi Orientis? My extensive
research (yep, I looked at another website) reveals this handy thumbnail
sketch: '...an Outer Thelemic Order which is dedicated to the high purpose
of securing the Liberty of the Individual and his or her advancement in
Light, Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, and Power
through Beauty, Courage, and Wit, on the Foundation of Universal Brotherhood.'
So now we know. Should you wish to investigate further, the web is loaded
with many more explanations of, and dissertations on, the O.T.O. Most of
them are brain-numbingly incomprehensible, and many seem to disagree with
each other. Hmm, sounds a bit like the goth scene to me. Aleister Crowley
comes in to it somewhere, but then he would, wouldn't he. (Hey! It *is*
the goth scene!)
Tonight, certain members of the Chicago
branch of this curious organisation have painted themselves red, donned
outlandish masks, and loom dramatically on stage under red lights. They
perform assorted rituals, the purpose of which frankly escapes me. They
banish something, and summon something else: I did have a leaflet about
it, but I left it in Chicago. As sheer spectacle, it's undeniably eye-catching,
and on that level at least, it works. The participants in the ritual seem
to be having fun, anyway. But it's about time we had another band, so bring
Lights, smoke, action, they're on stage.
I'm sure Passion Play would've liked their debut show in the USA to have
been a little less fraught with freak-outs, but you'd never know anything
had gone less than swimmingly as they pitch into their set. This line-up
of the band is still only two gigs (and about four rehearsals) old, but
there seems to be that weird but essential chemistry between the five musicians
which means it
all just *works*. Mattias whacks at the bass just like he's not suffering
from near-terminal jet lag, Doug powers the drums along like a ryhthm-turbine,
and Justin and John hammer their guitars up front.
I'm struck by the thought that this is
the only band on the Saturnalia bill which has simply come out and steamed
into a full-tilt *rock* set; the only band whose music exhibits a clear
line of descent from that all-purpose ancestor of goth: yer actual punk
rock. It's there in the energy, the speed, the way the songs crash-land
on each other as the set thunders along. But there's melody and neat pop
touches in there, too, and even though Passion Play are probably utterly
unknown to most of the Saturnalia crowd, the songs are so accessible it
doesn't take long before a bunch of instant fans are dancing away up by
The soundmix is surprisingly good, given
that the soundcheck was such a grim experience, but I can tell that the
PA is being pushed to its limits in order to get a decent out-front level.
It's been whacked up so high there's a layer of distortion over everything
- not too apparent from the middle of the hall, but when I get
up close to the speaker stacks to loose off a few photos, the presence
of the distortion (and the absence of any real *volume*) becomes obvious.
What is this rig, 4k at a guess? It's basically a small club PA in a big
hall, and it's struggling to put enough sound into the air. Passion Play
take on the limitations of the PA and win, but I can't help feeling aggrieved
on their behalf (and, indeed, on behalf of all the bands) that the technical
side of things is so flimsy.
Curfew time is looming over us now, so
God Module are rushed on stage as quickly as possible. They're here to
represent the dance-floor tendency: they're a stomp-and-chant industrial/EBM
duo of a type that has become quite common over the last few years. The
beats hit hard, little synth-lines dance over the top, and the vocals are
a distorted holler. It has to be said that God Module aren't exactly out
on a creative limb: there's *so* much of this stuff around these days that
they can't help but sound like they're simply leafing through the industrial-dance
genre-rulebook. After all, one 'Huuurrgh! Huuurrgh! Huuurrgh!' vocal sounds
much like another, and given the presence on the scene of such outfits
as Aslan Faction, Void Construct, and
Saints Of Eden (to mention only three UK-based bands who make more or less
the same noise) I can't quite see what God Module's unique selling point
Still, they launch into a rumbustious set,
and at least the distortion which the PA slaps over everything isn't so
noticeable here - it's impossible to tell where God Module's intentional
distortion ends, and the PA's distortion begins. It's obvious that
the band aren't having a happy time: the monitor mix is all wrong. It's
biased towards the two wedges at the back of the stage, which isn't much
use for a two-piece band stationed at the front of the stage. Frequent
requests to fix the problem go unheeded - Sam Rosenthal has taken a break
from his unofficial soundmix duties, and the desk is now manned by the
slack-jawed incompetent who came with the PA, for whom the notion of pushing
a couple of sliders up and down seems to be an insurmountable technical
challenge. God Module plough on regardless, and in spite of everything
they attract a bunch of enthusiastic fans to the front. It looks like they
might get away with it...until weird interruptions start breaking out in
the music. The band have all their backing on CD, which is spinning in
a little CD Walkman down on the stage. As God Module's singer stomps about,
the stage is shaking so much that the inevitable occurs - the CD starts
to skip. Every time this happens, the singer pauses and casts an exasperated
glance to the heavens, but *this* problem can't be blamed on the PA. It's
self-inflicted. This is why God gave us DAT!
God Module's blushes are spared, however,
by the sudden illumination of the house lighting. It's 3am, curfew time.
The band have only managed three songs, but the show's over. It's obviously
not the way God Module would've liked to finish, and not the way Saturnalia
itself should have finished, but I can't help feeling slightly relieved
that this stressful and occasionally chaotic night has wound down at last.
Except there's no time for winding down.
The venue management suddenly remember that they have a Sunday booking
for the main hall, which means that rather than leaving the gear in situ
to be collected later, as originally agreed, everything has to be loaded
out, and fast. Just when we thought all the crazy last-minute fuck-abouts
had been successfully seen off...here comes another last-minute fuck-about!
I'm a little bemused to find that the precise arrangements for loading
out have apparently not been enshrined in the venue rental contract, but
whatever the situation, the venue management seem able to chop and change
everything on a whim. Welcome to the chaos zone...again!
Well, what the hell. Now is not the time
to raise delicate contractual points, so a scratch crew of band-members
and random helper-outers, all in the throes of exhaustion and/or inebriation,
is hastily assembled, and in a haphazard manner which at any other time
would have amusingly recalled that classic Laurel and Hardy piano-on-the-staircase
movie, the gear is humped and bumped down two flights of stairs to the
erstwhile dungeon room. Here, apparently, it can be safely stored. Mattias
looks like he's about to die of jetlag and post-gig comedown, but nevertheless
he does his bit - shifting Passion Play's amps down the stairs, through
a throng of fractious, pissed-up revellers whose booze-fogged brains are
just about coming to terms with the fact that it's time to go home.
Outside, a small crowd of people mill about,
saying their goodbyes, having drunken arguments with their significant
others, or simply lying comatose on the ground. The demon drink has certainly
hit some of them
with a hefty wallop. One guy in pseudo-army fatigues is collapsed on the
floor with his head in a bin, just in case he revives enough to vomit.
Well, *he* won't make parade tomorrow. Someone's worried that he won't
make it at all, so they call the fire brigade (this, apparently, is a perfectly
logical thing to do in Chicago). A fire engine arrives, and the crew shoulder
their way through the assembled perves and goths, and cast distinctly unimpressed
glances at the human wreckage on the floor. I get the impression that rescuing
drunken partygoers from their own foolishness wasn't exactly the kind of
job they were expecting when they joined the Chicago Fire Department...
It's getting on for 5am before the aftermath
of the show is finally wrapped up, and the Saturnalia crew - not least,
Scary Lady Sarah herself -can leave the venue. It's been a crazy night,
but all the problems and hassles were faced down or worked around, several
hundred denizens of the Chicago underground had the best party of the year,
and everyone involved can award themselves a pat on the back for successfully
clinging on to the rollercoaster. It's all over. Surely nothing else can
go wrong...can it?
It's then that Sarah discovers her car
has been towed away.
The only appropriate response to this last-last-last
minute fuck-up has to be helpless laughter. And so Saturnalia ends: with
the promoter walking home through the winter-dark streets of Chicago, hoping
to grab a few hours' sleep before her appointment at the car pound. Ah,
the glamour of showbiz!
So, that was Saturnalia IV. Shall we do
it all again in 2003, then? In spite of everything, I've had a good time,
and so has Chicago. I hope there will be further Saturnalias, and they'll
grow and develop in the years to come. But in future, let's do it *with*
a technical crew!
[Postscript: We later discovered that the
clueless sound engineer, who walked out of the soundcheck and didn't contribute
much in the way of useful work even when he was around, *also* had his
car towed. Karma always gets you in the end!]
see all the photos from this show here
God Module: http://www.godmodule.net
Passion Play: http://www.passionplay.co.uk
Claire Voyant: http://www.clairevoyant.com
Rachael's Surrender: http://www.surrender.com
Bunny Peculiar: No website (yet), but you
can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
and see her in her previous incarnation as a Woman Of Sodom here: http://cvb.drawbridge.com/pkweb/pkweb_main/pkindex.html
The Ordo Templi Orientis in Chicago: http://www.aumha-encampment.org
A fairly comprehensible (although not necessarily
comprehensive) O.T.O. site, from which the quote in the text above is taken:
Try this O.T.O.-related site if you want
to stretch your brain: http://www.cyberlink.ch/~koenig/hallo.htm
American Gothic Productions, promoters
of Saturnalia IV: http://www.americangothicprod.com
The Gothic Chicago site - contains Chicago-scene
info, and Saturnalia IV photos: http://www.gothicchicago.com
Projekt, on-line home of Saturnalia's technical
saviour, Sam Rosenthal: http://www.projekt.com
This was a true story (or at least, the
bits I remember) - by Uncle Nemesis: http://www.nemesis.to