For all those of you who read my blog about Malta’s first gothfest, Generation Goth turned out to be a massive success. Which is great news not just for the organisers, but also for those of us who have serious hopes for an across-the-board alternative scene in Malta.
Not that we don’t have our fair share of alternative events on the island. In all fairness, considering our size I would actually go as far as to say that even those of us who aren’t too crazy about the mainstream are pretty much spoilt for choice when it comes to places to go to.
But of course, the umbrella term “alternative” – which to be honest I don’t like using much because it always makes me ask myself “alternative to what, exactly?” – encompasses a whole range of subcultures, sometimes in conflict with each other.
I am one of the lucky ones who is so into music that my tastes are pretty eclectic (or schizoid, whichever term you prefer). If it rings my bells, I will listen to it- no matter what it’s called or whether other people like it. This basically means that there is always something going on for me, whether it’s a gig by looping maestro Owen Pallett or something a tad more aggressive by gothic metal band Paradise Lost.
Which is one reason why I refuse to pigeon-hole myself into a particular “scene” or “genre”, though those who know me well would probably say that my tendency towards dark romanticism perfectly complements old-school goth. My favourite love story is Wuthering Heights, so that should explain it all.
But most people don’t share my schizoid nature and would rather (understandably) attend an event that falls within the specific genre they follow. Some genres are quite well-catered for, with some sort of event – even if not a live act – every week. Goth is not one of them.
Enter Nuwavemalta, Hades Events and Biostream Promotions. Their previous, individual events had already proven that the target audience is there. Their combined effort this week earnt them the total respect of anyone who’s involved in the scene.
The venue, V-Gen, turned out to be a clever choice. Although most of the events that take place here are precisely the kind that usually attract me, I had been resisting it due to the unfortunate location bang in the middle of Paceville.
Unfortunate for me, anyway. Despite having spent the best part of my teens there, I hate Paceville. I hate the aura of sleaze, the drunken men who leer (sometimes grab) at you, the wasted teenagers puking by the kerb and the incessant and discordant bass-line that can be heard from the clubs. Yeah I can be a buzzkill, so sue me.
If there are any non-Maltesers reading this, I don’t know quite how to describe Paceville. The official tourist office description is a “mecca of entertainment”. Which is pretty accurate if by that you understand about 200 or so clubs, bars and pubs crammed into an area roughly the size of a postage stamp together with a thousand or so teens and tweens all wanting to party. I know, sounds like heaven to some – especially given that drinking laws in Malta are what they are (non-existent, unless you’re actually organising a concert in which case it gets ridiculous like so).
Not to me. The fact that Generation Goth was being held in Paceville was almost a deal breaker to me. But not quite. Something like this happens rarely enough that it made me violate my “no Paceville” rule. Well, I certainly won’t be making the mistake of dismissing V-Gen events again. There is a good sized dancefloor and there is more than enough space to just chill with a drink (while seated! bliss!!!). And more importantly, it’s run by like-minded people who have managed to make punters forget that there’s a Paceville outside.
The event featured 3 DJs and I loved the fact that all 3 contributed a different vibe. DJ Mozzer, with his 80s darkwave and synthpop, was already a favourite with me (you can listen to his weekly indie radio-show every Sunday at 17:00 hours local time by clicking here). DJ Hades focused on pure goth classics like Lacuna Coil, Blutengel and Combichrist. DJ NME is known for his hard-hitting industrial sound and he delivered.
All three filled the dance-floor and this is how I gauge whether an event is a success or not. If the music is danceable and people aren’t dancing…well, then something is lacking.
If I have one complaint, it’s that some of the familiar faces – whom I know by sight and who count themselves as “part of the scene” were not present. I don’t get people who complain that there are no events to cover their genre but who then don’t show up when what they have been asking for happens. Some of them might have had good reason not to show up, of course. Others are just lazy.