Revisiting The Goths First Show

By Aayushi Mehra


It was 1989 when The Goths fine-tuned a set of songs to the point they were ready to unleash them upon the world. The question was, which local Brisbane venue would be first to give a band called The Goths their first show?


While strolling down Elizabeth Street one evening, the band noticed a small, alternative spot that featured live music. Strangely enough, the night the group first poked their noses in on the venue also happened to be its first night of operation.



Playing The Bohemian


The venue allowed the band to audition, so The Goths decided to pull out the stops and really impress the owners. This included outlandish Baroque-like, frilled garments, with a 60s American horror film twinge like something out of Poe’s ‘cardboard-castle’ costumes from the ‘House of Usher’.


Johnny Stowmarries wore a gold-embroidered waistcoat over a lace-cuffed chemise with lace-ruffled neckband, while Percy Blakeney opted for a Victorian-era ruffly-billowy white chemise with Jim Morrison leather pants.


All of this impressed The Bohemian who, on the strength of The Goths mind-blowing performance, decided to make them their star attraction in the early hours on weekend nights.



A little Goth in the night


The late 80s was an interesting time musically as many genres were finding their feet. Rock music was obviously at a height, grunge was gaining popularity, while other genres like hip-hop were also vying for attention.


The sound of popular music was changing, and hair bands like Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Guns n’ Roses were ruling the airwaves. While all this was happening however, a burgeoning alternative rock scene built by bands like R.E.M. and Sonic Youth was bubbling away.



A place for The Goths

The Goths signature tinge to the stack of fable-type ballads that laced their sound was perfectly positioned to be so new and unique that they captured the attention of a scene that was already well established yet interested enough in broadening their horizons.


The band’s performance, in full costume, while offering a deadpan approach to the audience, was a bizarre sight. Punters were caught off-guard by this new act who seemingly came out of nowhere with a style, both musically and visually, that was ultimately their own. Who were The Goths? For those who were interested, finding the answer to that question would be a journey, to say the least.