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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Concert review: Rhombus and The Eden House in Southampton, 5.2.10

I live reasonably close to Southampton, but unfortunately not close enough for travelling there to be quick and easy. Therefore the journey to Talking Heads to see Rhombus and The Eden House was a bit of a crazy one, involving about a hundred train changes, a little old lady who almost fell out of her train seat whilst leaning forward to stare at me, and several very cold train stations. I'd like to say that we arrived in one piece, but Mum (yes, I go to concerts with my mum. She's a cool mum, and actually enjoys my music, unlike most of my friends who just sort of smile and nod and wait for me to turn off the CD player...) tripped on an uneven pavement, bashing her knee and badly hurting her arm.

We turned up at Talking Heads quite early, and waited around outside until it opened, watching various members of The Eden House popping outside for a smoke (uber-Goth points for smoking on the same pavement as various previous members of Fields of the Nephilim? OK, so I don't technically smoke, but I was STANDING on that pavement, dammit, I was THERE).

The club itself was very nice, actually, with a sofa by the bar and guitars hanging from the ceiling. The first two people in the building other than staff and band members, we ordered our drinks (I didn't get ID'd, despite the 'NO ID, NO ALCOHOL' signs everywhere), and settled down on the sofa. The Eden House were soundchecking in the back room - they played my favourite song of theirs, To Believe In Something, which sounded great except for a single, deafening squeal of feedback from the mike.

It wasn't long before the bar began to fill up. Most of the Southampton Goths appeared to know each other quite well. They were generally aged between late twenties and mid-forties, mostly members of the jeans-and-band-tees brigade, although a few had really dressed up.

The pre-show DJ was a young, purple-haired woman clad in a corpgoth-style minidress, a S.O.P.H.I.E. wristband and cute legwarmers, and had obviously gauged her audience well, playing a mix of classic Goth rock rather than the more modern, beepy electro stuff. Mum and I had our hands marked by the ticket guy (who I almost walked straight past, oops) and sat down at a small table against the wall. The decor in the back room was very suitable for a Goth night - dim lighting provided by black chandeliers, black walls, and no windows, just like your average basement club. (You know when they describe Goth clubs as being 'underground'? This can often be taken literally.)

Rhombus came on straight after the DJ set, walking right past our table. Despite being 'just' the support act, they put on an excellent show - I would have gone just to see them. It didn't all go quite according to plan, however - the drum machine went crazy during one song, causing one idiot at the back to shout out, "Keep it real!" The band took the heckling with good humour, and dedicated their next song, You Only Want Me When You're Drunk, to the heckler.



Rhombus's female singer was full of energy, dancing around so much that it was impossible to get a decent picture. Most of the audience were standing on the dancefloor staring up at the band in typical eldergoth fashion. Mum and I, on the other hand, danced our butts off, despite the Mumster being in pain from her fall. We had about a foot square to dance in, as we were penned in on all sides by guys wearing customised leather jackets and serious expressions.

For me the set had two particular highlights - the soaring female vocals on Open The Sky, and the dancefloor-friendly 4472, my absolute favourite Rhombus song. For fun, lively trad Goth, you can't find a better band than Rhombus.

When the band finished their set and left the stage, they were walking past our table again when the trilby-clad and somewhat portly male vocalist tripped heavily on a step and came crashing down on the chair next to mine, bruising his pride and smashing the chair to smithereens. He quickly got up and hurried out of the room, as a few of us cleared up the bits of the chair. Poor guy!

In between bands, the DJ played another round, and we invited a nice chap in a Marilyn Manson T-shirt to sit with us. The only problem was, it wasn't long before Mum and I would have to leave to catch the last train home (a recurring problem - incredibly irritating).

The smoke machine started up, and The Eden House came on stage. The Eden House are a relatively unusual group, in that they are not exactly a band, but a project, started by Stephen Carey of Adoration and This Burning Effigy and Tony Pettitt of Fields of the Nephilim and NFD (which, yes, makes me all squealy and fangirly). As Last.fm says, 'In The Eden House, there is no one singer. Just one intention; to create a coalition of beauty in music, vocals, talent and soul.' Which is a bit melodramatic, but, hey, this is the Goth scene after all...
This was, as vocalist Amandine Ferrari told us, Valenteen's first performance with the band. The ONE SONG that Mum and I managed to catch before we had to leave was excellent. Both the vocalists whom we saw (we didn't get to see Evi Vine) were amazing, and Tony Pettitt's bassline was easily distinguishable through the swirly, ethereal music.
I wish we could have seen more of them before we had to leave, as they are a brilliant band. I did, of course, grab some merchandise from both bands. It was a really good show, I would have been happy just to see Rhombus, but it was disappointing to have to leave before The Eden House had really gotten into their set. At least we heard them soundchecking!

The journey home was also quite eventful - we got on the wrong train from St Denys Station and had to be picked up at Southampton Central. All in all, the show was definitely worth both ticket money (a bargain £6.50, cheaper than my new eyeliner) and train fare, it was a great night and I had a brilliant time.
Yours truly's budgetgoth concert attire - lace dress, charity shop, £6.50. Corset, homemade by my ma. Raven claw replica necklace, museum, £3.99. Not seen: Leggings, £5, Lillies. Black elbow-length gloves, £7, Claire's. New Rocks, second-hand, free. Purple fluffy handbag, charity shop, £3. Customised Poizen Industries Jacket, Attitude Clothing, £35.99.
Go, me.
The following video clips are NOT mine, I found them on YouTube the day after the concert.


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