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Leave Your Body and Soul at the Door:

A History of “Goth” and an Inside Look Into the FXBG Scene

Advocate Azrael Fanning

The goth scene has been around since the 80s, but many are unaware of the presence it has right here in Fredericksburg! In fact, there’s an all ages, no cover goth night held every 4th Thursday at Curitiba Art Cafe (919 Caroline St.) called Dead Man’s Party run by a team that includes many UMW Alumni. With sets spun by their resident DJ, DJ Hodge, the night is quite focused on the new wave and post punk sides of the goth subculture music featuring bands like Depeche Mode, The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, Killing Joke, and more! 

At this point, there are probably many questions floating around: What constitutes goth/goth music? What is being at a goth night like? Do you have to be goth to go? And you’re in luck because I’m here to answer them in detail from an inside perspective as I work as the resident photographer for Dead Man’s Party! A little background: My roots in the goth scene run deep; born and raised in the DC scene, grew up surrounded by the scene, listening to the music, and with personal connections to the club nights and all sorts of prominent folks; a nepo baby bat if you will! So I will serve as your guide to the scene around you!

For some context, goth is a music subculture of the punk and glam scenes that began developing in the 80s. As it’s a music subculture, music is of the utmost for what can be considered goth (there’s a difference between goth and gothic aesthetic), but in terms of what the music is, it’s often characterized by typical rock instruments as well as fairly common use of string instruments, synths, and saxophones to add that classic atmospheric ambience and the songs themselves are often focused on themes like isolation, love, sex, pain, madness, and other “dark” subjects. Think of goth as beauty in the dark, uncertain, and bizarre. While goth, in essence, is about the music, there are some styles that are often associated with those in the scene often denoted with exaggerated and emphasized makeup and hair, leather, spandex, lace, spikes, distressed clothing, and many, many layers at times. However, the style is of little importance in the long run. Remember: you can be goth and not wear the styles, but you cannot be goth and not listen to the music.

Like I mentioned before, FXBG has its own local goth night! It’s located right downtown on Caroline St. It’s all ages and completely no cover (no entrance fee)! Despite it being a goth night, you do not have to be goth to attend! We emphasize being a safe, welcoming community where anyone and everyone can come dance the night away and enjoy the community. Who knows, maybe after submerging into the scene, you’ll learn something about yourself in turn. No need to dress a certain way, prep for it in any way, or anything of the sort, all we ask is that you’re respectful, help uphold the values of a safe space, and enjoy yourself! But what does going to Dead Man’s Party look like? We utilize both floors of Curitiba to our advantage with the upstairs floor being our dance floor and downstairs being a lounge area. The dance floor is a completely open, colorfully lit room featuring sets from DJ Hodge. This is your space to completely let loose and allow the music to flow through you. There’s no specific way to dance, just do whatever you feel compelled to do with the music (with regards for personal space, of course)! The lounge space on the main floor consists of two rooms: the main cafe and the seating room. Both provide spaces to mingle, recuperate from overstimulation, take a breather, and grab some food and drink from the bar and cafe that remain open throughout the night. The back seating room is perfect for those who want to stay with the music, but need a slightly quieter and emptier space, as well! 

Dead Man’s Party is an amazing way to explore a new side of life and let your worries melt away with the music. Our next event will be on October 26th for our big halloween celebration, but you can find us before that at Troll Market on October 7th from 11-5 on 214 William St downtown! We’ll have a table with information and brand new merch! If you want a look into our nights, go check us out on Instagram (@deadmanspartyfxbg) where I post recap reels and photographs from each of our nights!

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