Saturday, July 4, 2009

Why Utah Has the Best Goth Scene

I have been to goth clubs and concerts all over the country and world. Each time I check out a new venue in another state I go with the hope that this one will be better than the last, and each time I am left slightly disappointed. From NYC and NJ to CA and Denver, I have been left with one conclusion: Utah has the best goth scene. Yes, I was just as surprised as you.

Last night was the VNV Nation concert at the Murray Theater, and the group seemed to agree with me. As the crowd was going crazy, Ronan Harris (the singer) congratulated us for dancing and partying like no one was watching, like we didn't care what anyone else thought, and that's when I realized exactly why Utah has the best goth scene--because we really don't care what anyone else thinks.

Now some poorly traveled readers may argue: but you're all just a bunch of image-conscious Mormons. To that I say, yes and no. I think that the Mormon culture has a lot to do with this unique rebellion against image. My guesstimate would be that about 20-30 percent of the crowd was Mormon and the other 70-80 percent was either not Mormon or not practicing Mormons. For those who are, the Church often teaches that Church members should never be ashamed of their convictions and that they should never follow what's popular just to fit in. For many Mormons, this means that they shouldn't succumb to peer pressure or care about what "bad" people think, but that they should care about what other Mormons think. A select few, however, take this to mean that as long as they are confident that their actions are not against the Church's teachings, they don't have to care about what anyone thinks, including fellow Mormons. And, for the record, enjoying goth music does not go against gospel teachings.

For those goths who do not profess to be Mormon (and those who do), their uninhibited manner is no shock in this type of religious environment. To withstand all the stares and jeers from the pious, alternative-looking people need to be ultra resilient. In a place like NYC, for example, a goth can walk down the street and not have a single person notice them--it's not a shock. In Utah, bystanders generally don't even try to hide their surprise or disgust and stare openly. Enough of this would make anyone less sensitive to what others think of them.

Considering this environment, it is easy to see that goth crowds would sing, dance, and cheer louder than any other audience at a concert. Goth events don't happen everyday, and the excitement of a group coming from Germany to perform is overwhelming. If other groups knew just how appreciative people are to see them, Utah would become a premier destination on any tour (and yes, there are many more fans than one would believe). At last night's show, Ronan said that he wished he could pack us all into air conditioned, luxury buses and ship us all to Europe where the crowds don't tend to get too riled. Then, when all the serious Europeans asked who all the crazed fans getting off the buses were, he would shout, "That's Utah!"

And this is the essence of the goth scene in Utah. Combined with the best goth club I have ever been to outside of South America, with one of the best, seasoned DJs around (Evil K), the prevailing nonchalance of Utah goths is what really gives Utah the best goth scene around.


  1. You forgot the part where it's the best Goth scene around because YOU are in it! :)

  2. :D Man this makes me want to move back home--(living in FL now :[)

  3. No offense, but you have got to be kidding me! I visited SLC for a week a couple years ago (probably the same year you made this post) and went to 2 of their goth/industrial nights. The first time, maybe 5-10 people showed up throughout the course of the 4 hours I was there (and all of these people were relatively unattractive, and probably in their 30's). Keep in mind that 2-3 of those people were also the DJ's, and a few others might have actually been working there too. The other time I went it was literally completely dead, yet there was easily 100 people upstairs for 80's night (and no, they weren't goths) at least. So apparently a bunch of posers show up for a has-been EBM band (that is neither goth, nor industrial BTW) and all of the sudden Utah has the best scene? Of course I'm only judging by the week I was there, but I would have to argue that NC, VA, and DC has better goth scenes than Utah, easily!