Saturday, 17 September 2011


To follow on from the Portishead content in the I'll BE YOUR MIRROR blog here is the review I did of influential Italian soundtrack outfit GOBLIN playing the London venue which was once a shrine to Italian art-house horror movies..

Monday 27th July 2009
Scala, Kings Cross
by Christopher Hodgson
Picture Album

The immediate vicinity of the Scala in Kings Cross is as dingy as ever
but to those more familiar with its previous incarnation as a dingy
80s cinema club it is a shock to see the premises which once sold
hardcore paperback porn replaced by high end estate agents (selling
property porn).

Within the Scala the winding labyrinthine back passages still exist,
but usually lead to uber-trendy bars in the higher reaches of the
building. Scala toilets which once featured exhibited aroma's straight
from Warhols New York now have bathroom attendants who require a £2
tip. At the recent Scandalism club night the curious were treated to
the new version of alternative dance - featuring vintage 80s dance
highlights such as Vanilla Ice and Dead or Alive. If only the
contemporary audience of the Scala had been exposed to this at time
the whole Kings area could have been razed to the ground and the
developers would have got their way 20 years ahead of time.

Still, at least it is not a Methodist church anymore. Back in the day
the old Scala cinema club was the high shrine in London to alternative
cinema and particularly Italian horror cinema. So it seemed
particularly appropriate that the new Scala would host Goblin for its
one and only UK date on its first tour in 30 years.

Goblin were the obscure Italian prog-metal band who defined the sound
of many 70s and 80s Italian horror films (and the occasional George
Romero film - the original DAWN OF THE DEAD). Their obscurity has
lessened since they have been cited as an influence by bands such as
Portishead and Muse.

They are a prickly and awkward listen. Even as a fan it has been a
real chore to get even half way a Goblin compilation album but here is
seemed there is a real effort here to turn them into a 'Show'. The
setlist heavily lent on their best material, from DEEP RED, SUSPIRIA,
DAWN OF THE DEAD and TENEBRAE and the projected backdrops showing
scenes from the films seemed to suggest a goth-ed up Pink Floyd event.

Possibly the new keyboard player Aidan Zammit is behind this. He
seemed more on an obvious onstage presence than the shy and
unprepossessing 'classic' members of the band (Like any decent prog
rock outfit Goblin have been reforming since Morgan Le Fay was at
playschool and if you collected together all of the old members of the
band together for a performance there would be no room for an
audience) It was easy to get the impression that after 30 years of
mysterious soundtrack existence it was the new member that had brought
them out into the stage lights with the set that played to their

The show was for a surprisingly young audience perhaps consisting of
tourists direct from the nearby Eurostar terminal. They particularly
enjoyed the thumping background to the original DAWN OF THE DEAD,
which really did play live like a cut from the last Portishead album.
The climax was of course the theme from Dario Argento's classic
SUSPIRIA, played against the projected backdrop of the fantastically
evil dance academy in Frieburg which is the films setting.

Perhaps that was Goblins prog message for us. If the King of Pop,
Vanilla Ice and Dead are Alive are the new idols of dance then 'Dance'
has Fallen. 'Dance' is EVIL.

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