Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Enchanted by Darkness, Once Again

Last weekend it was again time for Lumous Gothic Festival, Finland’s biggest festival that presents gothic and other types of dark music without incorporating any metal in its program. In my opinion, this is the most beautiful summer festival there is if you look at the people. The traditional historical black lace style is of course the most popular. One of the most popular styles nowadays is cybergoth – a style that utilizes futuristic outfits and huge collections of neon-colored hairpieces. However, there are practically no limitations to gothic style. Lumous doesn’t even try to be a meeting place only for goths. The festival organizers hope to reach different dark subcultures by offering a variety of performers – from industrial music and dark electronica to neo-folk.

The word lumous, according to my Finnish-English dictionary, means ‘enchantment’, ‘charm’, ‘bewitchment’, and ’spell’. I think there really is some kind of an enchantment at hand when it comes to gothic aesthetics. It’s the sublimity, the wildly adventurous, seductive punk-meets-graveyard dresscode.. And the thing with black eyeliner! I love it. I would probably put (lots of) it on everyday if I already didn’t look scary enough without any makeup..

Even though I still haven’t turned into the most eager gothic rock listener (there was a time when I listened to it quite a lot, though), I will definitely not miss a good nearby gothic festival or its performers. I attended Friday’s main concert at Klubi with a friend and friend’s friends. The performers were all interesting. The first one was called Grunt, a one-man Finnish band performing industrial noise –type of music. I’m not completely sure if it should be called music, since it really doesn’t sound like anything I would characterize as music. The experience was refreshing. For some reason, I always seem to like hearing stuff that doesn’t sound a bit like anything I tend to listen to… I can’t complain. The second act was Deviant UK, from The United Kingdom, a band that performed dark, electronic, and danceable music. It sounded good, excitingly dark, and occasionally the melodies were actually quite catchy. The gig was memorable not least thanks to their demonic-looking frontman who definitely had a plenty of charisma and energy.

The main attraction of the evening was Inkubus Sukkubus, the world’s most popular pagan rock band. The band’s music sounded to me like a mix of rock, dark pop melodies, and machine drum sounds. The band performed a nice set of songs from their 20-year-old career and some graphics presenting European pagan rituals and imagery. This band I will probably check out some time later.

The festival was again a big success. All of this year’s main concerts were sold out. I and my friend even managed to get to the national media… Ilta-Sanomat, one of Finland’s two main tabloid magazines captured us onto an internet video that dealt with the festival. Lumous is always a great experience for me – this year was the third time in a row.

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