Finally Some Substance

Kanga Closing Out the Ballroom Friday Night

This past Friday and Saturday brought the Susbtance 2022 festival to the Los Angeles Theater a convenient two blocks from my apartment. A two-night gathering of different nostalgia acts like the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Chameleons, Miss Kittin and the Hacker and Clock Dva mixed in with current goth/industrial/darkwave/weirdo acts like Kanga, Youth Code, Linea Aspera and Kaelan Mikla on three different stages.

These were the first shows I’ve been to since the pandemic, and hence, since I moved to Downtown. And it was for shit like this that I moved here, to be able to just stroll over to the venue, get wasted and then crawl back home safely. Okay, so the getting wasted part didn’t really happen. Neither did the crawling really. But it was nice to be able to just stroll right back home at 2 am and not have to worry about driving amongst the drunks, or paying for parking, or whatever.

One thing that Sara Taylor of Youth Code said during their set on Sunday was how great it was to see folks come out and support these bands and the scene. And it wasn’t just old fucks like me who used to go to Perversion, Das Bunker and all the other goth nights back in the 90s heyday. There were tons of kids and other age-appropriate folks dancing to the old groups like Jesus and Mary Chain (AND singing along to “Head On” as well!!!) while dancing their asses off to all the more current acts like MVTANT, Lustsickpuppy and Light Asylum. It was also cool to see that while the scene historically has mostly been a white and Latin scene, I saw more black folks than I expected which filled my heart. The more voices we have in the scene, the better.

I really do hope this festival turned a profit just so that it will continue. It was great to be absorbed by the music and letting it wash over me. I really do like these newer musicians and excited to see what they come up with in the future.