Tenebrae Tarantella, London

By on 8 November 2010


Tenebrae Tarantella has an illustrious history dating back to the Batcave era. It all started at Gossips, Dean Street, Soho. Gossips was a basement club run by Mick Collins and the home of the Batcave, hosted by Specimen on Tuesday nights. Gossips hosted various club nights over two decades and in its day was a tour de force.

M:Alice Underground, held on a Tuesday night from July 25th 1996 to July 25th 2003, was founded and co-organised by Batman who we know as The Cockney Gargoyle and he currently DJs at Tenebrae Tarantella and is famous for his Batmixes. The idea behind M:Alice Underground was that it was to be a typically distorted variation of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. The unique decor consisted of ”black draped walls, illustrated boards, a mannequin crucifix, and spliced video compilations”. The music was largely goth ably supplied by DJ Ben but it also had an Industrial element given by Costa (Tyrant) who was originally partnered by DJ Ben with other varied DJ’s being enlisted during it’s lifetime.The club attracted understandable media attention including the Japanese and American press and even a Greek daytime TV show as well as an Italian pop show.

During M:Alice Underground’s second year another club opened in the form of Nefarious. Nefarious was held at Madame Jojo’s and whilst both clubs were successful they got together for a regular monthly Friday night collaberation at Gossips. This was Tenebrae Tarantella’s beginning and brought together elements from both nights and became a more up market and dressier club in contrast to M:Alice’s more relaxed policy.

In early 2000 after Nefarious ended Tenebrae and M:Alice continued at Gossips and Dave Exile of Bath’s ‘Exile’ became a joint organiser and resident DJ for both M:Alice and Tenebrae. M:Alice closed its Tuesday night club on its seventh anniversary as attendance figures dropped due to the regulars work committments. Meanwhile, Tenebrae Tarantella continued until the sale of Gossips in 2004.

Everyone went their separate ways and out of this sprang Tanz Macabre with DJs Ben and DJX (Faith) who had DJ’d at Tenebrae towards the end of the Gossips era. Dave Exile initially started a ‘purist goth night’ in the form of Ritual before joining Bat(man) to run Invocation at The Minories, Tower Hill in June 2006. Like Ritual, Invocation was classed as a ‘specialist night’ and had initially used DJs from Ritual as well as ones from the occasional ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not M:Alice’ night that was run by Bat. Ritual’s set lists would typically include Malaria! and Madre Del Vizio and catered for the ‘old school’ post punk taste, whilst Invocation’s would include Ulterior, New Days Delay, Bauhaus, Sisters Of Mercy, The Bolshoi, The Chameleons, Faith And The Muse, Fields Of The Nephilim, The Horatii, Suspiria etc.

After Invocation closed its doors in June 2010 the club left the Minories making way for the return of Tenebrae Tarantella and this reunited the crew from Gossips with Dave Exile, DJ Ben, DJX and The Cockney Gargoyle hosting. The music played at Tenebrae Tarantella is very firmly in the gothic/alternative vein although less specialist than Invocation and Ritual. You can expect to hear everything from the more traditional goth camp such as Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Cure, Clan Of Xymox, Pretentious, Moi?, Rosetta Stone, Virgin Prunes and Christian Death through to Dead Kennedys and The Ruts. Although there’s a definite leaning towards a classic goth era, Tenebrae Tarantella actively supports new and upcoming bands on the scene and is one of the clubs that’s unafraid of being adventurous and playing new and relatively unknown bands.

The good news is that Invocation is likely to return at some point but in a new location and will be a fairly uncompromising and purist form of goth night, far closer to Ritual’s ethos than that of Tenebrae Tarantella.

Tanz Macabre with DJX and DJ Ben still continues at The Arts Theatre Club on Frith Street, Soho. Now in its 5th year, you can expect to hear fairly classic goth music mixed with dark alternative.

For details of the club nights go to;
Tenebrae Tarantella The next Tenebrae Tarantella is on 2oth November and then 11th December.

Tanz Macabre

About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

%d bloggers like this: