It’s cool tonight as I step into Fallout, fans spinning the customary haze around the venue. The cobbled and bricked floors are familiar as I make my way across them to the bar. I skip my usual vodka cranberry for a Sweet Josie from the bartender–a beer from the town I’ve just driven up from. This amuses me more than it should.
Monday afternoon, I’d heard the God Module show was cancelled in Raleigh. Luckily, Fallout is only two and a half hours (honestly, three) away and I don’t need to be at work until nine tomorrow. I find a small span of time for a nap, then coffee, and I’m on my way.
The stage is set for Visions in Black against a God Module backdrop. Two mannequins in long dresses hold court behind an array of keys and computers–they are masked, painted, and an ominous presence as classic rock spills out of the speakers around them.
Behind the table bearing his name, a man stands stoic while he creates waves of noise. It feels like a intense, moody march through the venue, finding every corner and filling it with sound. Miguel is a striking figure as he leans into the mic, alternating keys and whispered, distorted vocals with practiced ease.
I am enthralled and drawn in by the sounds coming out of the smoke and light before me. A man in the crowd dances, throwing himself the full width of the stage as he weaves between the beams of light erupting around him. I taste cotton candy in the back of my throat as the sound warbles around me. It’s fully immersive and sends goosebumps down my arms.
Midnight Myth takes the stage next in a green haze. The lights are low and the smoke machine is on high, making the two men appear to materialize more than walk on stage. Each man takes firm hold of his duties, Brandon dancing back and forth a his smooth voice finds the lyrics on top of a pseudo-calypso beat from Scott behind him. The music is sharp and staccato, piercing and energetic. Brandon is a self contained vocal tornado playing to the audience with his body and hands. He searches for the crowd through the smoke as he sings–making sure we feel every note.
Scott seems like a musical mad scientist alternating between his drum sticks pounding out a rhythm, and his hands finding notes on the keys. I’m told later that he is brilliant and I cannot disagree as he crafts sound. There is no trace of timidity or hesitation in his motions and I am fascinated by the multitasking that seems to be so natural to him.
Their combined presence fills the stage to nearly overflowing–though I question the lead singer’s decision not to wear shoes. I ask him later and he shrugs, offering the dual explanations of “they’re too restrictive” and “well, I’m from Georgia, what do you expect?”
There’s a short break before Blakk Glass finds the stage. The quiet is expansive; like the void of the tide before it pours back in. A friend stands next to me, visibly excited for this band. He’s infectious and I find my own excitement reaching a peak as the band rushes the stage with their first song, forcing it on the venue and filling our ears. The crowd welcomes the sound, dancing as the beat reverberates through them.
Franki looks like classic rock and roll, draped in leopard print and a Corrosion of Conformity shirt she’s ripped and redesigned to fit her own needs. Her singing is loud and clear as she starts to seduce everyone before her. It works–and the entire venue is under her spell. Before her, a fan drops to his knees and strokes her boots; a strange affection that she allows for a moment.
She and Shaun on guitar smile and laugh, enveloped in the joy of the performance as they play off each other and relish the crowd’s affection. They flirt with us all, and I find myself laughing along with them.
Their final song finds her amidst the crowd, reaching for them and pulling ever more of their affection to herself before she leaves them and the stage entirely.
The stage is ready for God Module, a torso on a mic stand waiting to be manipulated sitting before us. It’s mangled and wrapped in bondage gear; even under the bright house lights, it’s eerie and unsettling. I have a hard time taking my eyes off it, concerned it might shift closer to me if I look away.
Andrew walks through the crowd to his spot behind a keyboard, saying “hey God Module’s going on.”
“What, I love those guys!” someone in the crowd responds, laughing.
The music starts to creep through Fallout as the lights lower and smoke billows. Both men on stage are fully focused on their machinery, crafting the keys and knobs into creeping sound. Jasyn appears, almost as if he’s a floating mass, reaching to grip the mic stand. As he growls and sings, he is a mass of black and horror dragging the impaled and bound torso around the stage almost like an anxious dog with a well loved toy.
He strips his hood for the next song, revealing deep, dark eyes under spiked hair. His hands still have gloves with fingers that look like claws–to call him imposing would be to undersell the full experience. Growling into the mic, he casts his eyes at us drawing us deeper into the fantasy he’s creating. Sounds and lights fuse into an experience. The venue fills with smoke and the haunting vocals on top of creeping synth feels even more sinister.
The black clad key player raises his hands and punches each note home, dancing with the crowd as they begin to take off. Every song finds more animation from the humans before the stage–each finding their own personal space to thrash within. They wheel and cavort, throwing themselves into the space between the sounds as the music pulls them back and forward. It’s a mass of movement before the stage, with a ring at a safe distance swaying.
“Does this stuff freak you out?” the tour asks–perhaps to some it may, but to most of us this feels more like a homecoming.
After the music fades, Brandon takes my hand. “I know the perfect ending to your recap,” he tells me, parting the curtain that delaminates backstage from the rest of the venue. “There’s a swing!”
I pump my feet and swing over the scattered remains of normalcy in the dressing room. I invert and look down. Black pants, black shirts, black shoes, black bags of black make up. My people. It’s a nice moment alone as I swing and he bustles around the room, packing and asking questions. I answer, and relish the feeling that he thinks I’m somewhat odd. After all, he’s the one who isn’t wearing shoes.
Miguel finds me as well, asking for a picture with me of my Adoration Destroyed shirt. He’s friends with Erik and the connection makes me smile. These little moments make my night and I am amazed by how small the scene is. I introduce myself to Scott as well, laughing that I’ve met the most of Die Sektor outside of the context of the band itself.
Later, I speak to Andrew and try to have a serious conversation. It’s interrupted by Franki throwing her arms around me. “You came from North Carolina!” she squeals, pleased. She is enrapturing and I wonder about the legality of kidnapping her and keeping her forever. One of her talents is with scissors and she applies this to a Blakk Glass shirt for me, cutting sleeves and back and edges to create something startlingly sexy and unique for me. We flirt and are a show within ourselves. It’s a good night when you leave the club wearing entirely different and entirely less clothing than you walked in with.
The night–early morning now–is still cool when I walk out of Fallout. Several of the guys have offered to walk me back to my car, but I enjoy the quiet streets and hyper-vigilance before my 160 mile drive to my early morning workday. I walk, and think of the simple pleasures of music and playground swings and bare feet.
It has been a good night.