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It is Saturday night in London which means one thing for the capital's goth rock scene Slimelight, the longest running dark alternative club on the planet. Before the club night kicks off though, Dutch goth peddlers Clan of Xymox will be celebrating their thirtieth anniversary at the Electrowerkz, an excellent appetizer before Slimelight seeps into the venue.
Support act Partly Faithful are new to the scene formed in 2011 and having released their debut full-length 'Lazarus Under Glass' last year. This London-based four-piece play an unusual brand of post-punk complete with a thick enunciated bass and almost experimental sample work, creating a dizzying blend of theatrical music. Opening with 'Obsession', influences from Bauhaus, Nick Cave and The Cure are very traceable. The crowd is dense for their performance, with many attendees taking the opportunity to dance to the music. Frontman Ed Banshee is very charismatic and engaging on stage, his face illuminated in the darkness by a pair of torchlights attached to his microphone, ensuring all eyes are on him as the remainder of the band merge into the backline. His low crooning vocals are clear and suit the music perfectly.
Most of the setlist is culled from 'Lazarus Under Glass', including 'Stop', which the band chose to create a video for. With several EPs to their name, Partly Faithful chose a selection of tracks from these to execute. Such songs include 'Just Fine', 'Aeroplanes' and 'Beehive'. As the set progresses, the audience whittles down. The music of Partly Faithful is far from offensive but it is simultaneously not connective enough. It merely occupies the space of acceptable but given the youth of the project, there is the opportunity to expand and build upon their ideas.
The Electrowerkz is absolutely packed when Clan of Xymox take the stage, opening with brand new number 'I Close My Eyes' from this year's album 'Matters of Mind, Body & Soul'. This is followed by another new track 'The Climate Changed' with the audience unafraid to start dancing despite their presumed unfamiliarity with these tracks. With thirty years under their belt, the headliners have an overwhelming selection of songs to choose for the set, spanning across a microcosm of goth-related subgenres. The darkwave of 'Hail Mary', the electronic 'Love Got Lost' and the traditional goth rock punch of 'Louise' illustrate Clan of Xymox's versatility with a high level of solid experience. Tracks explore the sinister, curious and emotionally potent atmospheres with a club edge to them, marking the music as fantastic for the live environment.
The stage presence of Xymox is limited but gives the impression of the band rallying behind their music. It is hard to avoid moving to crowd pleasers such as 'Muscoviet Mosquito', 'Jasmine and Rose' and 'A Day'. After the latter track, the Dutchmen remove themselves from the stage, only to return with their three song encore that includes electronic covers of Shocking Blue's 'Venus' and David Bowie's 'Heroes'. Again, they leave the stage behind yet come back with a second encore, closing their concert with 'Obsession' from their 1989 classic 'Twist of Shadows' to an enviable reaction from the crowd before graciously thanking the audience.
After tonight's festivities, Clan of Xymox can consider their thirtieth anniversary party in London a success. The size of the crowd demonstrates that the London goth scene hold the Dutchmen close to their hearts, a sentiment echoed by the band given their frequent trips to the capital. There is no better way to start the party before Slimelight.