Show & Tell

The Dark Nights Inside L Street's dueling goth parties

Gothic Tribes: Scott Royce holds down the basement.
Darrow Montgomery

Scott Royce discovered the District’s goth scene in 2001. A year later, he was helping to run it. In 2002, the Fairfax legal researcher—newly outfitted in after-hours black—launched Midnight, a Saturday dance night for District goths, Wiccans, vampirists, fetishists, and pewtersmithing enthusiasts, at underground L Street bar the Meeting Place. “I’m a politician at heart. I’m not happy unless I’m running something,” says Royce, who served on the Libertarian National Committee before turning independent.

Now, Royce is fighting a darker battle in the basements of L Street. Last October, five years into Royce’s regime, a group of more established scenesters—a cadre of D.C. übergoths led by local goth fixture Lori Beth—turned their backs on Midnight and set up an alternate Saturday event, Spellbound, at Recessions, a similar basement bar two blocks away.

The old-school upstart has created a bit of a rift between two sectors of an already narrow local goth community. Though some nightcrawlers attend both Midnight and Spellbound every Saturday, most must choose their loyalties. Royce, for one, isn’t too keen on Spellbound. “I’ve never been, (a) because I’m busy, and (b) because of how they are,” he says. “Spellbound thinks they’re goth’s gift to humanity. They expect everyone to genuflect in their direction whenever they walk into the room.” Royce says the competition doesn’t worry him. “No matter how long those people have been running the scene, we came in here as independents, and we’ve been running consistently the largest event for six years,” he says.

Lori Beth describes the reason for the split in more neutral terms. “We wanted to have an option for the older gothic crowd,” she explains. “Midnight is 18-and-over. We’re 21-plus. I’m getting pretty close to 40, and I want to be dancing and listening to music with people who were born before 1985.” Still, Lori Beth, who has been involved in the scene since ’85—first as clubber, then as caterer—admits the split did cause some tension between the clubs. “Yeah, yeah,” she says. “At first, you know, they just thought we were trying to steal their business.”

Lori Beth, Spellbound's goth queen. (Photograph by Darrow Montgomery)

Whether their differences lie in attitude or age, Midnight and Spellbound have been competing for local goth pocket cash ever since, using any tool they can, from character assassination to novelty goth drinks to free birthday cakes. One reveler who frequents both nights—and wished to remain anonymous—explains the Midnight-Spellbound social rift: “It’s like the Titanic,” she says. “Midnight is below-deck: We’re the Irish immigrants who play fiddles and dance jigs and drink too much whiskey. Spellbound is above-deck: They’re the upper-crust clique in stuffy Victorian clothing. When the ship goes down, they’re the ones who take the life boats.”

Another goth: “Midnight has cake,” she says. “That is the only difference.”

Now for a more comprehensive inventory of the similarities between downtown’s goth establishments, as gleaned from a survey taken last Saturday night.


Midnight: Orange stringed lights, seeping green light from ATM sign

Spellbound: Orange stringed lights, colored gels, custom dance-floor, televisions broadcasting fog, fog machine

(Photograph by Darrow Montgomery)

Midnight: “There is no dress code,” says Royce. “One person’s $5 is as good as any other’s,” adding, “We encourage people to dress in black.” Spellbound, he says, is known to be a bit more finicky. “They’re a snootier group. They’re better dressed.”

Spellbound: Counters Lori Beth, “You can wear anything you want here.”


Midnight: In a corner even darker than the rest of the bar, Thomas Mulvey displays his collection of imported English pewter, Nepalese rings, and Bali poison vials. “The Thor’s hammers are really popular,” says Mulvey. “There’s a decent amount of our customers who are actually followers of Thor.”

Spellbound: On a table near the back, artist and musician Steven Archer offers up charcoal drawings, paintings, CDs of band Ego Likeness, and a goth children’s book, Luna Maris. His artwork, much of it mounted on the back of old book covers, includes dragon-winged pixies, a naked man meditating, and a portrait that appears to be a white-eyed Martin Luther King, Jr. “I try to leave interpretation up to the viewer,” says Archer. “If I’ve gotten it right, most people should be able to find something in the piece.”


Midnight: Plop down a $5 cover, then enter to win CDs from The Cruxshadows, XUBERX, and Bow Ever Down. Cake—in both chocolate and strawberry shortcake flavors—is always free at midnight. A tray of lollipops is provided for sucking.

Spellbound: Sink $7 in Spellbound, then pick up some mints and Hershey’s kisses—free of charge. Attendees can enter to win a drawing for a $50 gas card at the door.


Midnight: A woman calling herself “Kerie,” who wears a ponytail of springy metallic hair falls, a long-sleeve mesh shirt, a strategically torn black T-shirt, a corset, plaid Capri pants, combat boots, spiked wrist cuffs, Cleopatra eye makeup, blood-red lipstick, and numerous rings, attends Midnight nearly every Saturday. “They’re not as outgoing over there,” she says of Spellbound.

Spellbound: Resident DJ Philip Shade, who has DJ’d goth events at the now-defunct Nation and Chief Ike’s Mambo Room for more than a decade, insists that he’s not a poser. “My motto is DJ Shade—yes, that’s his real name!” says Shade. “I see all these DJs coming out going by names like ‘DJ Nom de Plume’ and ‘DJ Cybernetic 26.’ Sure, that name sounds cool now when you’re 23, but will it sound cool when you’re 34? I’ve learned that it won’t.”


Midnight: The “Black Death Shooter,” an ever-changing secret-recipe drink that always contains a blackberry liqueur.

Spellbound: The “Gothmopolitan,” a cosmo with grape-flavored vodka and Razzmataz instead of triple sec, perfect for the berry gothic. Lori Beth, however, has been known to drink a yuppier spirit: the Red Bull and vodka.

(Photograph by Darrow Montgomery)


Midnight: Daniel Starling, a crimson-shirted, leather-panted, slender solo dancer, starts off the night at Midnight, then wanders, alone, between the scenes, stopping to move to New Order and Sisters of Mercy. “In any scene, there’s always the little political rifts,” says Starling. “This is D.C. we’re talking about.” Starling says he’s “kind of inside the scene, kind of outside the scene,” and is unsure of his future in goth. “You can’t really call something ‘goth’ anymore because you’ll just get people thinking it’s Marilyn Manson and shit like that. You get a lot of occultists, Wiccans, people who actually think they’re vampires” he says. “Those people are stuck in the ’80s.”

Spellbound: Marc Usatine, who carries a wooden staff topped by the pewter head of wine god Bacchus and sips from a chalice of Captain Morgan and Sprite, always attends both Spellbound and Midnight. Tonight, he hits Spellbound first, standing at the sidelines of the dance floor, watching. “Spellbound is a more refined taste,” he says. “Midnight is sort of prenatal.”

Later, Usatine takes back his comment. “Let me give you something to compare,” he says of the dueling nights. “There is nothing to compare.”

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Our Readers Say

I moved to DC (well, Takoma Park) from Pittsburgh a year ago. I'm 24, but grew up listening mostly to "old school" goth/post-punk/death rock. I often attended Ceremony at the (now closed) Upstage in Pittsburgh, which was great, esp. when DJ Imperium was still around.

One of the first things I did when I came to DC was go to Midnight, along w/ my partner. We found both the crowd and the staff to be *extremely* unwelcoming, pretentious and mean. To cite just one example: my partner accidentally spilled a glass of water on one of the tables. Nothing was damaged and no one got wet; nonetheless, just to be sure, my partner apologized to the guy sitting at the table. His response? "Well, you *should* be sorry!" We left, and haven't returned since.

I suspect that this has something to do with the fact that we don't look "uber-goth": I'll opt for (not necessarily black) jeans and a Joy Division shirt, not fetish gear or makeup. I'm not there to impress. I'm there for the music.

I'm glad there's somewhere else to go, but unfortunately, the article makes it sound just as exclusionary. I guess I'll just stay home.
Sam: Different folks have different opinions. Here's hoping - if you've got the time - you can swing by Spellbound and decide about us for yourself.
Some people may think there is a divide between the clubs, but mainly it's personal.

I go to both, mainly to Midnight because most of a lot of my friends go there.

I like to experence different DJ's, crowds and types of music. Both clubs offer somthing different. As for snooty, if someone is nice to me, I am nice to them. if they get an attitude then they risk loseing a long term customer.

Somtimes I hit both clubs, but Spellbound is $2.00 more. Maybe they should get together and offer a discount if you do both? Somtimes I go to Midnight til 12, then hit Spellbound untill 2, or walk back and forth between them, they are only 2 blocks away.
Sorry you had a bad experence at Midnight. From my experence, people there have been very open and friendly, especially to new comers. I am involved ina group that specificlly tries to make newcomers welcome and include them in events to break the ice. Maybe you just met a few bad apples there that night. Lots of things change within a year though. :)

I brought my friends in from out of town and they loved the feel of Midnight and was made to feel very welcome.
Sam- I only get out every month or so, so I'm far from a regular at anything. I haven't much energy to get all gussied up like I did in the old days as a working mother of 2. That said, no matter when I go or what I wear, the Spellbound crew is friendly and inviting.

I agree with Shade- give it a chance. :)
I discovered Midnight quite by accident about 4 years ago. Since then I come out whenever I have the chance, but as I live on the Eastern Shore; 'comming out' means a 3 hour trip one way, gas money , and more often than not hotel costs. With a mortgage and student loans to pay, that can be REALLY tough to do.

I'm glad that when I AM able to come out, there are now 2 places to go. If the crowd at Midnight is a bit young for my tastes [I'm 40 - about as 'old school' as you can get!!], or the music too much on the industrial side, or the 'vibe' just not there for me personally, I like having another option. Both Scott and Lori Beth have NEVER been anything but kind to me, and both seem to go out of thier way to please patrons. I've brought friends with me to both events and they've never had a bad experience. It's kind of a shame that these two otherwise great places [and promoters] can't get along for the sake of "The Scene"; but then, "The Scene" just isn't GOTH without "The Drama".
You've got to be kidding? I've been to both, there isn't a rivalry unless that scary looking old dude feels different I guess...but I guess the author is trying to make up a controversy where one doesn't exist?

Isn't this the same person who slammed Strangeland records as a metal shop? If so, do they always try to make a story, reality be damned?

I find it more than a little embarrassing that the neat club nights that used to fill Nation are now confined to a couple of restaurant basements.
lol the comments on alchemy_dc on livejournal.
Saturday doesn't hold the patent on "Goth" clubbing in DC..
On Thursdays I co-promote a party called Exposure at Club Liv that is dedicated to keeping the scene fresh and "exposing" new talents both musical and artistic.

On Fridays there are 2 monthly parties - Bound and Wasteland, both unfortunately competing for the Last Friday of the Month..
Bound is more for the fetish crowd, but plays goth-industrial music.
Wasteland is more like a gloom/shoegazer/goth bar than a dance club.
Still miss Chiaroscuro it blew both away.
I still miss Tracks, THAT blew Alchemy AND Chiro away ;)
I miss banging on rocks in the Olduvai Gorge! That beat Tracks, Alchemy, Chiaro, and the Flavian Ampitheatre, you whippersnappers!
Saturday doesn't hold the patent on "Goth" clubs in DC.

On Thursdays I co-promote Exposure, dedicated to keeping the scene fresh and "exposing" new talent both musical and artistic.

On Fridays there are 2 monthly parties, unfortunately also competing.. Bound and Wasteland.. Bound is more for the fetish/S&M crowd but plays goth/industrial music.. Wasteland is more of a bar scene than a dance club but is probably the only place that you will actually hear more "Goth" music than dance music.
Goths are like soooooooooooooooooooooooooo dumb.
This has got to be the funniest thing I've read in years.

“The Thor’s hammers are really popular,” says Mulvey. “There’s a decent amount of our customers who are actually followers of Thor.”

Sink $7 in Spellbound, then pick up some mints and Hershey’s kisses—free of charge. Attendees can enter to win a drawing for a $50 gas card at the door.

Another goth: “Midnight has cake,” she says. “That is the only difference.”

Still, Lori Beth, who has been involved in the scene since ’85—first as clubber, then as caterer

Goths eating cake....or going for a free gas card...or I don't know where to even start. I'm crying at work and people are wondering why....this is beyond awesome.
I used to live in the area a few years back and this article shows exactly what the goth 'scene' in DC is like. It's full of drama, competition an an overall feeling of angst.

Midnight is filled with mostly a younger crowd who likes to dance to repetitive synthpop all night, and who can't hold an intelligent conversation. That is unless it's about VNV Nation or about how it was Marilyn Manson who started the goth scene.

The people involved with the other club love to bitch and moan about Midnight, and the people who attend it, despite the fact that they aren't the smartest crayons in the box either. Especially the DJ who constantly moans about how Midnight stole Catacomb's venue. Get over it. If you can't get past something that happened over five years ago then there is something wrong with you.

So, basically you have two groups of people who love to bitch about each other and a 'scene' that is visibly dying.

Good times!!!!

By the way, the people who hate this article take themselves way too seriously and need to get those sticks that they have in their rear ends out.
Midnight is the bomb, been going there since it opened and i'll always support it!!!
Don't want to hangout with anyone born before 1985? Whats wrong with this picture? Isn't it about people listening to the same music and being interested in the same events?

Also, the obvious joke is, "Well of course they have cake there. Look at the people. They've been eating cake since 1985" Perhaps the older crowd isn't looking so good in those corsets and vinyl pants eh?
I have gone to both places. Personally, I take issue with those people who are simply out to lambast others and namecall. Each place has its own feel and their own style. One is not necessarily better than the other. I have always appreciated the treatment that I have received from the staff at both places; and, having known a lot of the people for quite some time, I can honestly say that those who can remove themselves from the personal drama between the two establisments, are the ones I would rather spend my time around.
That being said, I have recently been spending more of my time at Spellbound because of its wheelchair-accessibility. That's all.
UPDATE: An area DJ is saying that he is quitting because of the drama. LOL Thanks for writing this article, the comments that people are making about it on LJ will provide much needed comical entertainment for me over the course of this week.
“We wanted to have an option for the older gothic crowd,” she explains. “Midnight is 18-and-over. We’re 21-plus. I’m getting pretty close to 40, and I want to be dancing and listening to music with people who were born before 1985.”

I guess being 23 years old isn't... mature... enough to go to... a... gothic... club...?
Oh man, seriously. If you want to know what it means to be a Goth in America today you should check out this blog.
OK I will admit that Lori Beth does look pretty Hot in that photo. :-) But Hay I spend my time going to both. For me it's all about the music and the vibe of each place. They both have there good nights and bad nights. But as long as I've got an option to go to one or the other that just makes me happy. ~ xoxo ~ I would hate to see the whole DC Goth scene die out.
Sam - Funny, I used to go to Ceremony all the time. If you want a night like old school Ceremony I'd highly recommend Ascension at Orpheus in Baltimore on friday nights, if you're ever in the area. The atmosphere and music is really reminiscent of the good old days at Laga (and guess the Upstage, heh) and the people are really friendly. :)
Yo this is mad beat gothics is all "OH NO fatty took the cake!" and other gothics is like "KIDS SUCK I'M OLD ROZZ AINT DED'

Was it a slow week at the paper? You could have picked any "scene" and come up with the same outcome/crap.
Apparently now a DJ is quitting? LOL, DJs are a dime a dozen. Everyone is a DJ these days. I mean, WOW, I can play a song off of one cd and then follow that song with one from another cd and maybe toss some extra noise in-between the two tracks to seamlessly merge them together. It does not take rocket sciene or talent to DJ.
I will admit, this was amusing so "golf clap" for that
There's only one way to settle this: Falls Count Anywhere Tag Match! Lori and Scott each pick a DJ as a partner, and hit the ring. Whoever gets the 3-count or makes the other tap is king of L street. Now stop all yer yappin and DO THE DAMN THING!
Sam, as a Pittsburgh transplant myself, I must say the Spellbound crowd has been really accepting. Imperium used to have me dancing a lot, but so did Salo - you'll find Micheal and Shade's style to be similar.
Sam, I think people here are totally missing the point,
This is not a war between who's better or not, or who has cake or even gas cards.
Thats not the issue here.
Each venue has it's own thing.
Now i've been going to Midnight since it opened, i have personal reasons why i don't go to Spellbound.

I'm terribly sorry that you had a bad expeirence at Midnight, i know that if you had spilled your drink on me, i'd not been that way towards you or oyur partner.
That's not right that someone did that.
It must've not been a regular, cause our regulars would never do something like that.

I would say give Both a chance, just cause you had one bad night there, doesn't mean that, that's how every night is at Midnight.
I can't speak for Spellbound seeing as how i never go there.
But give them both a chance, come out and re-expierence Midnight again, and i can't believe i'm telling you this but, yes, go to Spellbound too.

Yay for Pittsburgh goth transplants. I miss Ceremony at Laga as well, I haven't been to Ascension yet, but I'll have to consider it. Anyone ever go to The Roman Room? It didn't last long, but it was good while it was there.

As for the "battle", I go to both Midnight and Spellbound, depending on what DJ is playing. Midnight definitely has a more active and party atmosphere (good for dancing) while Spellbound can be lower key and has lots of tables (good for chilling).
Must have been a slow news week.
seele: Yes, I went to the Roman Room when Matthew first opened his night there. In fact, I tried to be there all the time since then. You may be able to put a face to a name here soon. :)
This is a dumb article

Having been to Both places... I can say both places are awful. And its not because the people that run them are bad both sides are extremely cool. However, the simple fact of the matter is we (the d.c. goth scene) has been relegated to shithole hotel/rest. basements like some sad Sat Night Live skit

And its not just us.

The d.c. alternative underground, including the real punk scene, rave scene/scenes etc. have simply dissipated giving way to meat markets like fur where rival gangs of roving 50 cent wannabe's try to pick fights.

D.C.'s Alternative nightlife scene needs to get its shit together and band together. 2501 (probably the most dedicated guy 2 d.c. alternative nightlife ever) had the right idea with the ill fated venture @ envy. Combine everything and make a place where we all can have a great time, have national acts roll in etc. and where a sense of underground community is forged.

I miss tracks, I miss nation :(, I miss raves, Hell i miss Envy, I miss the d.c. punk scene. I miss hanging out with people as fucked up as I am.

oh well. I'm probably 2 old and jaded to go out anywhere anyway.
We have always been at war with Eastasia. You kids get off my lawn!
Chiaroscuro and Nation did blow them both out of the batcave ;p but they're not around anymore. The music is good and varied at both clubs, they both have good food and drinks and i've found them both to be accepting of new and old clubgoers. I've been clubbing for almost 6 years and sometimes i'm out every week, sometimes i don't go out for months and i always have a good time when i do. It's not a scene clash, whatever started this, it's between specific people. When i go out i go to both not only to support the scene but because i enjoy both clubs and i know either club i go to i will have a good time and see friends and that's what really matters. That being said i haven't been out in a while and will start going to both clubs on a weekly basis so let's just have a good time!!
Politics, what I can say. It's killing our country, killing our wallets, and now it's killing what pathetic scraps are left of what was once and unique subculture. After being in, around, and working inside that scene since the days of The Roxy, Retox, and Tracks, I must say I really, really miss the days when one man ran the show for the most part. After spending a year out west, and seeing how even promoters who do not really like each other still work together, I cannot understand what everybody is fighting over. Money? Hell there is allot more money in other genres of music. Power? Over what? A bunch of people who either can't fit in elsewhere because they are socially inept, or those loyal to a scene and memories of good times, who don't care about power anyway. I think people have lost sight, lost a sense of community that once existed, and it's people like me who look at all this and say "hey I've given all I can". It puts many of us in a bad position to create these bitter rivalries, feeling like if we attend one, we betray another. I would rather not attend, and because of such lack of vision, I won't attend, not that anybody cares anymore. Surprisingly I find DnB and breaks much more attractive these days.
More corseted women less BS....
Both these nights are terrible. The venues are horrendous. Shade is the closest thing to a resident "DJ" that either night has. The rest shouldn't even be behind the decks at all. They all play the same handful of bands repeatedly & they do it with no technique whatsoever. But what do you expect? Everybody in this city is a DJ. People in this "scene" say it like it's a joke but everyone knows it's true.

When people ask what the scene is like in DC I just tell them that it died. It's too embarassing to admit the current state of affairs. That the promoters of these "goth nights" (and not just saturday night) are so cut throat that they'll talk behind each other's backs & fight over the scraps of what's left like rats fighting over a crumb of food. The crumb in this case being the handful of people that will actually frequent these "events". They don't help one another, they just step on each other. It's sad.

Sam, either save your money or go to a better night in Baltimore. You'll be much happier.
Screw them both - talk about running the goth scene - ha - the DC goth scene has been shite ever since the closing of tracks. move and get on with your lives - this constant stupid feuding is somehow managing to irritate the piss outta me from 3000 miles away.
*collapses laughing*

and i thought we had problems out west with our "which strip club is best" bickering!!! at least in our case there is a tangible scale by which to measure!

this is the funniest, most ridiculous article i have read in years.

"It’s like the Titanic."

You could have said those four words alone and accurately summed up the ridiculous exercise in futility that is DC's goth "scene."
I'm going to second Dana on this one.

I've never been a fan of Midnight, and I've never been to Spellbound. Really I don't like Midnight because the venue sucks. Yeah I'm spoiled on Nation, I really miss the main room.

But really if you want to go to a good night with cheap drinks, great music, a nice venue, and nice people (The promoter goes around meeting and greeting everyone and making sure people are having fun, and I mean everyone). Check out Exposure on Thursdays.

I'm not a promoter for the night, though I think he's a cool guy and I've always loved hearing RasDNA (Dana) DJ, but I enjoy it and think other people would to.

*barf* :(
This shit is HILARIOUS.
Someone said that the DC Goth scene wouldn't exist without drama. And well, this is a very good example.

Scott, you shouldn't be so damn proud of yourself. You were handed a *fantastic* club (Catacomb) and made it look like romper room. People keep going there mainly because they know where it is.

Kudos to people like Lori, Shade, Vlad, LOS, etc., who actually try to strike out on their own and create new venues (even if they don't work out) and open new doors, introduce new music, involve new people.

And to the City Paper -- while this article might not be one of scholarly pursuits, the shoddy job reporting just makes you look as laughable as the DC Goth scene.

the relative merits of both clubs are obviously less newsworthy than the supposed rivalry that exists between them. shame on you, city paper. nothing informative about the djs, the promoters, the spaces....but such emphasis on stirring up "goth scene drama".

i suppose next we'll try and make it seem like one club brought the idea to city paper in order to gain publicity/attendance/notoriety - when in reality city paper had no interest in reporting about anything but perpetuating a rivalry.

don't like one? fine. go to the other.

you want drama? try not having any night at all to go to. then sit at home in the dark playing your cure bootlegs and being forlorn about how there's no scene anymore.

there are a hundred salvadorean restaurants in the DC area. do you think they whine when another one opens up?

congrads to spellbound for taking the high road, and not posting snarky asides in various livejournal communities.

congrads to midnight, for longevity. and cake.
As amusing as I found the article, I didn't expect the comments to be still yet more hilarious. Thanks!
It appears as though the writer was incapable of constructing an interesting and informative story.
What could have been positive, the fact that the scene is large enough to support two events on the same night or informative with information about the music, the DJs, drink specials, and special events was overlooked. Instead the inept author chose to look for and write about a conflict that didn't exist prior to this article and call it newsworthy. It takes two sides to fight, and it's pretty clear Spellbound wasn't interested.
Spellbound didn't say anything negative about Midnight in the article. In fact, it seems like they mind their own business. No one from Spellbound said anything negative before or after this article was written.
The writer clearly has a future with the tabloids.
Neo in Chicago on Thursday night. a fun laid back place to dance with all sorts of people. no one cares what you wear or who you are as long as youre having fun and dancing. its worth the trip, because lets face it, all dc scenes are pretentious and boring. get over yourself dc!
you should all check out PROCEDURE... a long running underground music night that has something for everyone and nothing for some.. a great mix of truly forward thinking music.
lol, what the heck do Wiccans and goth clubs have in common! This reporter is an IDIOT.
The writer could have just advised his readers to watch the comments after the piece was published to get a sense for the scene. Comical.
"The crumb in this case being the handful of people that will actually frequent these "events". They don't help one another; they just step on each other. It's sad...Sam, either save your money or go to a better night in Baltimore. You'll be much happier."

I disagree. I see a lot of cross promotion and helping out from multiple events to another. This goes beyond just the DC events, but you'll see a couple of Baltimore events promoted during DC events and vice-versa via flyers and the like. In just about every case I've seen, these are never competing nights.

The thing with Midnight and Spellbound that makes them different is that they are both on the same night. It can be argued that they are not even pulling from the same pool of people. Some people do in fact, attend both. Others strongly favor one event over the other and would rather stay home than attend their non-preferred event.

Regardless, I don’t think it has much to do with dissidence within the DC scene; it’s what happens whenever there is direct competition for the same target group. If you are not directly competing with another promoters event, I’ve found them more than likely to help you. If you are directly competing with them, it simply doesn’t make good business sense to help your competition unless it’s a truly win-win (as some mentioned, a possible 2-for-1). Again, win-wins like this are harder to establish when they are directly competing rather than complementary.

I do actually think that Midnight and Spellbound are distinctive enough to simultaneously be successful because in most cases they attract different subgroups within the scene. Additionally when you do get those people who are truly caught in the middle and must decided, the beauty is that the decision is largely unnecessary because for approximately $10 you can attend both with relative ease due to their proximity. Another positive is that because of the blatant direct competition, this has caused both Midnight and Spellbound to really up the ante and give us all that they’ve got. This increases the value for the customer because the clubs must give more and constantly keep the bar raised high in creating the preferred experience, the most unique opportunies and prizes, and quality music and atmosphere for the customer.

I don’t see any problem with that.

~ Ebony
“Career Management Solutions for Dark Cultures and Alternative Lifestyles”
Goth people? Isolating, awkward, and socially inept? Now i've seen everything
@Witheld - Do you know what beat mixing is? Probably not. Neither do any gothic dj's in DC, and that's what makes you think that it's so easy.
ALBION 4 EV3R!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm glad they finally got kicked out of The Meeting Place. The guy that runs Midnight, Scott Royce, is one of the sleaziest promoters I've ever come across. Do yourself a favor and avoid this club both as a performer and as a patron.
Hey all, just moved out here from SF. If you've actually lived in SF, LA, or anywhere in Europe, please move quickly back to your previous place of residence, do not pass go, do not collect your Twilight sparkle dust, run away as far and as fast as you possibly can.

The DC scene is mainly a bunch of Hot Topic hipster kids who think because they wear all black and can name two songs by Depeche Mode that they are uber goth and all should bow before them. The ONLY time I went to Midnight I met a girl wearing a Combichrist shirt that she had bought off the internet cause "the little skull is just so cute!!!!.... oh? it's a band?" No bitch, it's a shirt, but it does have A BANDS NAME RIGHT THERE ON THE BACK.

Their biggest night of the year is "Goth Prom" (yes it actually is as bad as it sounds- I mean, really, "Goth Prom" people??? What were you thinking?) which brings in about the same number of people as Death Guild on a slow night. Except people drive 5-7 hours to show up for this thing and then just stand outside pretending they like smoking cloves because they saw it on the internet.

::claws at eyes::

But I'll be serious here: What do you really expect when the most hardcore goth/industrial events in a city are actually names SPELLBOUND and MIDNIGHT?

Answer: Exactly what you get.

(Note: if you are stuck living here and have experienced an actual goth/industrial/cyber scene, you might as well show up. I'm serious. I could use the company.)
Not sure why City paper is prejudiced against regular nightclubs that cater to the majority of the DC Nightlife patrons. I enjoyed the article about Goth culture, but how about some regular nightclub event coverage for the mainstream culture?
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Aiden: (Note: if you are stuck living here and have experienced an actual goth/industrial/cyber scene, you might as well show up. I'm serious. I could use the company.)

LOL I'm from LA, CA and used to be part of the Hollywood scene (clockwork orange, Dungeon, Bar Sinister, Perv to name a few) I stopped by both clubs expecting to see a similar scene as I was used to. Oops =(. Add to the fact that im wheelchair bound its a little hard to get out but if youll show up I guess we could discuss the likelyness of finding a 3rd goth thats from elsewhere.
Pretty amazing this article is getting responses a year later. I've been a weekend goth forever and moved out from Ca in 2007. It's taken me this long to look up the scene and think about going out. I still think about SF: Death Guild, So What @1st and Harrison, Winterland, etc. I'm looking forward to seeing what is left here in DC. It sounds like midnight lost it's venue. KMFDM is coming soon, i am so sad, I have to be out of town. Looking forward to seeing other CA natives and seeing how it is going to a goth club pushing north of 35.
My husband and I moved to MD after being spoiled by Nocturne and Dracula's Ball in Philadelphia. We've been to Ascension in Baltimore, plus Midnight and Spellbound in DC. None compare, and it's definitely a shame that the scene can't pull together to get a better venue and larger crowds.

That said, we DEFINITELY prefer Spellbound to Midnight. I don't think it's snobby to prefer a 21+ crowd, as it does make a difference in the overall maturity level. Also, it can be awkward for the slighty older crowd to mingle with scanitly-clad adolescents! Not that the younger crowd shouldn't have a place to go; I always liked venues large enough to have separate areas, or all ages nights once in a while.

When I was at Midnight, I was snubbed by the bartenders, and both myself and a friend were sexualy harassed by other patrons on the dance floor. Thankfully the jerks were bounced, but it certainly created a poor impression of the club. I think people at Spellbound tend to be better dancers, and they respect the "look but don't touch" style of goth dancing that draws me to the scene. The music is almost always better at Spellbound, too.

While I'm willing to express my preference, though, I agree that drama seems to be hurting the scene in DC. I'd love to see a 2-for-1 deal, if not a banding together for a larger venue that can accommodate the tastes of different age groups. In the meantime, I'll keep attending Spellbound and go visit Philly whenever I can.
I don't identify as a "goth" but its my favorite music and also the dance scene I am most at home in. I'm over 40 and really enjoy hearing some of the older music like Sisters of Mercy, Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, etc. This is one of the reasons I prefer Spellbound.

That said, both places have their charms. Midnight's crowd is overall younger but also seems to have more of an age range. I find the crowd to be almost weirdly friendly and open and nice, someone always says "Hi" and talks to you which is especially refreshing at a goth club. Of course, it might be a 19 year old, but heh, still nice.

I also enjoyed winning a really fabulous CD there. But the place does feel a little like a "lite goth frat party." Also, this is my problem not theirs -- I know less of the music and find it louder and less melodic. That means I dance less there. This is just because there is more new music that I don't know.

Spellbound, people seem to hook up with fellow old scenesters and you could go the whole night without talking to anyone, which is fine to me. Music is "better" to me which simply means more of the stuff people in my age group will dance to and recognize. As rarely as I venture out these days, that's what I'm looking for. I also like the more restrained and refined feel of it, and the dance floor is slightly larger and usually less crowded.

With that said, on a night at Spellbound when there is a long stretch of music I don't like, I don't hesitate to walk down to Midnight, and smile when I am so warmly greeted by the effervescent and unnervingy friendly young crowd at the goth frat party. They are adorable.

The gf and I will be in DC Aug 3-7th. What's the scoop? Are these clubs still open?
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