Thursday, 27 November 2014

Quite the Specimen


After watching BBC’s Halloween special, ‘Goth at the BBC’ I feel in love with 
Goth band I’d never heard if before, Specimen.

They were a British band who formed in Bristol in the 1980s by vocalist Olli Wisdom and guitarist John Klein, who later went on to play for Siouxsie and the Banshees. They never released a full album until last year, as they broke up pretty quickly, have a whole bunch of singles and a few compilation albums. So a little bit disappointing really. Plus looking at and hearing them now-a-days nothing that special and well they’ve been kind of forgotten.

Even though they were amongst some of the first bands to create modern Goth.

They were amongst the first bands to blend Glam and Punk and to sprinkle something new into it creating that Pop Goth sound we all know so well, think Cult and Killing Joke. Unusually their keyboardist Jonny Slut is their most famous and recognisable band member due to his outrageous style and his huge back combed Mohawk-ed hair or ‘deathhawk’. Better still many think he created this famous look of heavy dark make-up, leather, chains and exposed skin. John Klein and Jonny Slut were part of a 2009 Fashion exhibit celebrating ‘Subculture and Style’.

As if that wasn’t enough Olli opened the notorious Batcave club in London which saw everyone from Bauhaus, The Cure, Nick Cave to Siouxsie and the Banshees play there. It was The place to be as a London Goth.

There most famous single ‘Beauty of Poison’ show cases the band perfectly, feminine, poppy, punky, quirky and gothic.

After the band split they are all continued with music, Jonny Slut dancing around a few and setting up the Nag Nag Nag club in London where he often DJ-ed and Olli moving to California and formed Space Tribe, the world’s leading psychedelic trance DJ's.

In July 2008, the original line up got together to perform at the Batcave's 25th anniversary event resulting in the release of the live album Specimen Alive at the Batcave on Metropolis.

You can now buy their latest and only studio album, ‘Wake The Dead’, from their website and amazon on download and CD. If it’s anything like their original songs it’ll well worth it.




Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Subsides Bar Set To Close Due To Council Plans


Subsides Bar is a Goth and Rock bar situated inside Paradise Circus just off Broad Street owned by David Longmate of Subculture at the Carling Academy. It is famous for its gigs, after parties and cheap booze.

The closure will be a big loss to the community and will directly affect local bands. Subsides are currently having a Closing Down Sale and plan to close its doors for the last time after its Last Ever New Year Eve Party.

Paradise Circus is set to be knocked down for a “landmark scheme” to extend the Central Business District. The redevelopment will create a new urban block including Grade A office accommodation and opportunities for retail and hotel uses. The development is set to start in 2015 and plans to be open by 2017.

I spoke with Ashley Brow, 28, who was part of the team that originally opened bar 7 years ago and quickly worked her way up from DJ, to bar staff to manager.  The news hit Ashley hard as she become close with her co-workers.  

“(I) made friends for life that I will always class as family”.

The bar was a haven for lovers of music with weekly DJ sets and regular gigs.

“(It was) for people that genuinely love music and welcomed anyone friendly who wanted to share in that passion”

The loss of a live music venue will always affect local musicians but Ashley is hopeful it won’t hit the community too hard.

“Subsides loss is someone else’s gain”  “Although I will say no-one throws after show parties like we do!”


David Longmate has been too busy to comment but we’re sure he will go on to something else great.