Discovering the gothic meat market, eye shadow and skintight spandex.

By: Kai Teo

Photos: Aina Theander

Event: Club Electro Sounds goes Malmö – Level, Amiralsgatan 23
Date: Friday, 12 April ‘13
DJs: Faleryne, Mr Grey, Moskow Martin Ebm
Genre: Synthpop, Ebm, Gothic, Aggro
Entry: 50 kr
Our rating: 2/5 

Music genres are a lot more than just personal enjoyment in Malmö. It’s a fashion statement, a lifestyle, and an identity. And if you’re a fan of synth, you have to wear spandex, even at home.

Welcome to the true blue black parade.

Stepping into a synth party is like walking into a nightmarish BDSM circus. Here’s where everyone wears eyeliners, black leather trench coats and looks like part of the hellraiser crew. Occasionally, someone would turn up in full Nazi officer gear or carry a horsewhip to the dance floor. To the faint-hearted or simply politically correct partygoer, this would be highly disturbing.

And when Buddha Mag ventured into Level last Friday night, we also discovered a new level of boredom.

It was midnight and the club was completely empty except for the staff and DJ. There was something really hollow about the aggressive beats pumping from the pretty good sound system. It sounded like the jarring tunes were singing the loneliness of the man behind the turntable.

The setup, though, had huge potential. Two bars, within a 10-step proximity of each other, were stocked full of bottled beers, ciders and spirits. And flashing proudly behind the DJ was a 20 m long LED wall that could easily send the drugged-out raver into an eternal psychedelic abyss. It was a fucking pretty sight. Except that on this night, there was no raver in sight.

We must have downed quite a few bottles of Carlsberg before finally, the first members of Malmö’s Gothic family started trickling in. The highest number of simultaneously observable customers as the night progressed was about 30.

But the crowd was a tightly knitted one. Everyone knew everyone. And I was the odd one out. I wasn’t wearing black. But at least I had some eye shadow on to hide my insecurity.

The industrial melodies were easy to get lost in. The basslines were catchy, the beats were strong. But above the electronic layers, there was always a deep irritating male voice singing about death and shit. If 80s disco had a child with Marilyn Manson, this would be it. My ability to ignore the vocals saved my evening. As usual, I was swinging my hair like I was in some kungfu performance. But tonight, I couldn’t help but notice that no one else was really dancing.

Everyone was merely swaying awkwardly and obligingly because they knew that it was socially encouraged to at least display some arm movement on the dance floor. It was obvious that they didn’t feel it. Their hearts were not in sync with the music. Maybe except one dude who was thrashing his arms wildly. He was loving it. And we loved him.

I felt a little sorry for the DJs. They were good. Their audience just wasn’t good enough for them.

A quick calculation told us that the proportion of males to females was about 4:1. It was a pierced and tattooed sausage fest. And that’s when things got really interesting. The dudes were almost competing with one another, jostling to close their distance on the nearest female to close the deal, using their gothic pick-up lines that weren’t very impressive.

“Hey pretty, do you like blood? Can I buy you a Bloody Mary?”

What. The. Fuck.

It was saddening to see them lost in the game of drunken courtship instead of losing themselves in the music. And I knew the DJs gave up too, when they dropped the goth and went straight for Bananarama.

We didn’t need to stay till 5 to know that as more alcohol was fed to the lonely hearts, the more the club would resemble a meat market. It was offensive. And it was time to wash off our makeup.