The Summer is just not starting and it’s July already! At the same time our post-WGT blues refuses to go away, as those lucky ones are proceeding to pack for the next dark attraction in Cologne, the Amphi Festival. Meanwhile in Finland we slowly came around to the 8th Lumous Gothic Festival.
In Finnish ‘lumous’ means ‘charmed’ and two years back I saw no affiliation: a small event at small venues, away from the capital and for four whole days?!...
The most northern gothic festival is also probably the least known and for that reason, stirs increasingly more curiosity, because we (you’d call us Goths, but we’ll pretend not to respond to labels) like it like that: small, unknown, almost demo-like and underground, with a bunch of bands nobody has ever heard of and at venues unfindable, what can be better, weirder and oh-so-lovely, true goth?! And so we love Lumous.
In the scene here you don’t need to be personally acquainted with anyone, as after a couple of appearances, you already recognize and spot the regulars, somehow know their names and tastes, strangely enough even if you haven’t exchanged a word with anyone. Feeling ‘at home’ and being on your own at the same time.
Since Stalker’s last visit to Lumous, the festival matured. The main venues remained Klubi and Dog’s Home, although the other ingredients, such as Gothnic (gothic picnic) and “die dunkle Seereise” were also in the schedule. In addition, this year’s program offered also a movie screening and a Dark Market, so practically a miniature version of WGT, that you can easily pack into your velvet coffin-shaped purse.
During the charming days of Lumous I came to a philosophical conclusion that maybe this is how a goth happening should be. Remembering many’s comments that WGT should no longer have the “G” in it, because for most tastes the original goth factor isn’t present anymore, but at Lumous it was precisely that distinctive “G” all the way. The only limitation of Lumous is the audience’s age, so unless you are born after 1990, the festival was for everyone and everything!
Day 1. Thursday 26.06.
Lumous weekend started traditionally on Thursday evening at Vastavirta – good luck finding it! It’s between an endless lake, some private houses and a supermarket, in Tampere’s outskirts. In between the bands DJs Jaakko and Jyrki Witch set a cosy atmosphere, and along the Scary Bitches and Joy Division we emerged into Lumous mood. Vastavirta did not change a thing since two years when I came there first! Small stage, old walls covered in even older band posters, indistinguishable male/female toilets, where you’ve to hold the door closed at all times, free internet in the corner (is the only sight of something modern in the whole building), aged couches and even older book shelves in the social part of the club, warm terrace outside and a tiny smoking room on the other end. And many of us evenly spread throughout… whatever part of the scene you feel closer belonging to, there’s a weird and wonderful feel of comfort all over.
Curtain Call plays the Damned Basically this is a Finnish tribute to one of the original legends of the style, the Damned. Curtain Call in its turn is a symbiosis of local bands Suruaika and Silene. “Halfjoke-halfgoth” we called it and had a good time along their set. Not without a good share of self-irony and black humor beginning and end of this dear to us festival won’t be understood by anybody else, but us.
Voices of Masada The word ‘goth’ echoes with something British and here are the Voices again, surely can be said, one of the biggest highlights of Lumous’08. By the way, VoM’s frontman Ray gave an interview to Stalker – try to count the amount of the phrase ‘beautiful gothic girl’ in that text, Ray knows what ‘goth’ really is all about. He’s a talkative guy anyhow and their whole set was interspersed with jokes and random commentaries.
Last autumn VoM played at Nightfall over Helsinki and soon after came Fields of the Nephilim; this summer VoM came again and the Fields played shortly after in Helsinki.
VoM are stylish: sunglasses, pinstripes, tight pvc, suits, pleasant British accent, goth humor and a relaxed stage act, very like-able and dance-able. Many came to see VoM specifically, all the way to Tampere! Soon after the show the band’s tshirts were sold out, especially the girlies went very quickly, what would Freund conclude from this?...
With a great Peter Murphy cover and two (!) encores at the end, the last one being a surprise to the band itself! Only sad that soon after the festival bassist Danny announced his departure from the band. Lumous was lucky to witness one of the last VoM’s stage appearances in their original lineup.
Day 2. Friday 27.06.
Dog’s Home was the meeting point, which by the way moved and became more sophisticated, to those who remember the original tiny bar from before. Right next to the new Dog’s Home is the Tullikamarin Klubi, where most of the festival took place. It is quite a big bar with a stage with red velvet drapes, opening and closing for each act, giving it a feel of an antique cabaret. Both nights the entry was €14-15, three live acts and an afterparty hosted by the known local DJs Jo-uni, Jyrki Witch, Xavier and Zynthexia.
Forgotten Sunrise …was the most memorable performance for me personally. Those Estonians with their somehow vampirico-electro-EBMish set were quite different to other players in that scene. This band makes me think of Theatre des Vampires’ image and Greifenkeil’s sound, so if you’re imaginative enough, you’ll get my point, although music-wise it’s not all relevant. For such a modest reception at the almost empty Klubi, as Friday night slowly begun, the band was very confident and my imagination kept on replacing the singer’s drumsticks with a flogger.
The Last Days Of Jesus This Slovakian band turned the place into a little shop of twisted puppets in Tim Burton’s head dance funky bananas. Gothic-punk-horror-slightly-cyber-rock and still this doesn’t describe the show completely. Maybe for Slovak Jesus those were the last days, but for that gothic Friday that was the highlight! Even when the guitar failed, with a good sense of humor and creativity the band continued just as joyfully. If somebody paid attention to the lyrics, there was a lot of electronics-oriented themes about machinery, robots and 10010001010101, but otherwise the singer’s dance was mechanical also. At the same time the word ‘Halloween’ was in almost every song too and I couldn’t get that annoying Pumpkin King out of my head. Mission accomplished and this act we won’t easily forget either.
Kirlian Camera Afterwards many agreed that this was the best surprise of this year’s Lumous, but I haven’t figured was it because of the music or men in uniform with face-masks and a sexy singer in hot-pants. This Italian band had a good stage set up with a video sequence at the background, beautiful violin solos and matching outfits, but surely all this was hard to concentrate on, as the fit singer took off her clothes, very vividly dancing along, only I wonder if anyone in the audience can actually remember at least one word of the lyrics…
Day 3. Saturday 28.06.
A novelty of Lumous was the Dark Market, nicely organized in the local industrial area at a museum’s hall way. So in this modern-art and strange set we shopped and browsed through many stalls of music, clothing, hair extensions and all other such beauties. Amidst many known Finnish trademarks of alternative fashion, were a few independent designers, from which I specifically want to highlight Prettypretty Clothing (www.prettypretty-clothing.net), Rain of Petals (www.rainofpetals.com) and Illusion Costumes (www.illusioncostumes.fi). I am glad to see more new creative and original designers joining the scene!
Lumous goes shopping and also goes to the cinema, but this year only in Finnish. For small €3 the Cinema Niagara ran two screenings of the “Vuoden Synkin Juhla” on goth subculture in Finland. It’s worth mentioning that this year this topic has got a lot of sudden attention, both in printed and video media, what’s going on?!
The much anticipated „Die Dunkle Seereise” (the Dark Sea-Cruise) ...was cancelled shortly before the festival. The cruise hosts the Finnish gothic club Schatten, always with a live band aboard. Not without creativity, some quickly responded and replaced this tirp with another cruise to the nearest island and had a gathering of their own. Tampere is a lovely city to browse through too, by boat or feet, anyhow. Locals and tourists were gladly photographing and talking to all the Lumous attendants, as little girls sighed towards the beautiful dresses.
Eventually all paths of Lumous brought us back together in Dog’s Home, which on Friday was the official Goth Daycare Center, hosted by the British electro act Novus.
Novus The British electro project of the former singer from Faithful Dawn, Sarahjane. In fact the band has more members, but only singer and keyboarder came this time. Throughout Europe Novus already shared the stage with Hocico, The Birthday Massacre, Dreadful Shadows among many others, so for Finland this is a real treat, packed in corset, fishnets on platform boots. And even though Dog’s Home acoustics aren’t best suited for a live show and space limits the dance moves, Novus won’t leave you motion-less, this is a promise.
Soon by 9, as Klubi opened its doors for the second night, the Daycare went into hard party until 4am. Klubi was sold-out in advance! Many local artists in the public, one famous German and all the most recognizable attendants of the Finnish goth scene were all present and already at the first act the club was quite crowded.
Desiderii Marginis Along with the classic movie “Metropolis” we enjoyed an alternative soundtrack to this indeed a major production of its time. Swedish noise soundtrack so to say, made some dance, others to sit down and attentively concentrate on the screen behind the musician.
Star Industry Analyzing the name, an industry that produced most stars of this genre can be logically summarized into “Sisters’ Mission in the Fields” and with that a lot is already said about those Belgians. So how surprised were we when instead of “Alice” or “Deliverance” the band did a cover of “Enjoy the Silence”! This didn’t stop us dancing in any way. Before Finland, the Last Crusade tour already had been at this year’s WGW and WGT.
Psyche Canadian-German teamwork living up to its name, it was a weird mix of different styles, spiced up with an unpredictable frontman, who especially liked to dedicate his songs, although he himself wondered “I don’t know why I do it so much…” They are a funny bunch. Something of the 80s, then harder electro, and then light acoustic chill-out pieces, along with a lot of the band’s own works from their “Babylon Deluxe” album, that is the singer’s personal favorite. And many famous covers also, like “Here Comes the Rain Again”, Soft Cell’s “Sex Dwarf” (which went on at least twice its regular length, as the singer obviously really enjoyed making the appropriate sounds, seeing how wild the audience got) and then Joy Division’s “Disorder”, closing the show with “Goodbye Horses”, which I sincerely hope wasn’t addressed to the audience directly.
Day 4. Sunday 29.06.
However whimsical the weather, the Gothnic (gothic picnic that is, official) was at Näsinpuisto and lasted deep into the evening until Germany went against Spain on the football court, as we again gathered at Dog’s Home on Lumous’ last night. Well, football match and a performance of Beati Mortui.
Beati Mortui The joint forces of Finnish electro-musicianship patronized by the German infernal promotion. Currently BM is the hottest Finnish alternative act, as they won the Battle of the Bands contest and had its debut at the WGT with Ashbury Heights, and they are soon to open for Hocico in Helsinki. The band’s macabre mascot, the mighty Bruno “Teufel” Kramm, contributed to the quality performance and with confidence can be said, this was one of the last times Beati Mortui step on a small stage of that size.
The program promised us a “relaxing end to the festival”, but to me emotions-wise, it was more intense then the previous days put together. United, all Lumous’ DJs made us dance to rock hits of the 80s, belly dancing to something Arabic and line-dancing to Finnish covers of Rasputin and YMCA. “The place where happens. Don’t take it too seriously,” the program also said and us, Goths, are perfectly capable of that.
Conclusion: Feet danced out, faces numb from makeup, ribs hurting from corsets, hair stiff from all the mohawks and different styling techniques, but give us another day to Lumous and we’ll unquestionably do it all over again!
Lumous is reasonably small, but is practically the anti-Tuska remedy and I’m gladly going pro this movement! No excessive drinking and idiotic behavior that usually follows, no overcrowded venues and major commercial acts, as Lumous in principle is always scheduled at the same time as the infamous metal highlight and we are grateful for that.
STALKER thanks JyrkiWitch for assisting our journalists.