On June 19, Malediction Society, the Sunday night LADEAD party at Koreatown club The Monte Cristo dedicated to darkwave, industrial and other dark alternative sounds, celebrated its sixth anniversary. As has been the case in years past, the club's anniversary coincided with its annual Steampunk Ball. Last night's party, however, was less of an excuse to show off a new pair of goggles and more of a chance to celebrate friends made and songs spun by DJs Amanda Jones and Xian at the long-running gathering.
“I liken Malediction Society to a gothic Cheers,” says one regular who goes by the name Boots. “You go there to hang out and everybody knows your name.”
Boots says that he began frequenting the club about six months after it opened. It was actually the first club he attended after moving to L.A. from Florida.
“It was basically the scene I was interested in, but I didn't have any friends that went out anywhere,” says Boots. He first headed to the club with a co-worker, but soon began going on his own, making new friends in a new city during the process.
It was a story we kept hearing out on the Monte Cristo's patio throughout the night. People moved to Los Angeles, somehow stumbled upon the club and began going week after week.
“I moved to L.A. and a friend of mine was already coming to these clubs,” says Constantin Lorenz, who is from Germany.
“I was in awe,” he continues. “There're no clubs like this, at least not in Munich. There are goth clubs and things, but they're not this awesome.”
Like Boots, Lorenz kept going to the club even after some of his friends stopped.
“At the time, I didn't really know anybody in L.A.,” he says. “Now, all my friends are out of the scene, out of this club. I would say that 90% of the people I actually know in L.A. are related to this.”
For K. Howell, who curates The Night Gallery at Ruin, another LADEAD club, Malediction Society brought her back into the scene scene after an absence.
“All my clubs had closed down and I went dormant for several years and all of a sudden I found this holy place,” she says.
“It became home.”
Howell wasn't the only person we heard referring to Malediction Society and its accompanying scene as “home.” While the friendships formed at the party are certainly part of the reason behind Malediction Society's longevity, it isn't the only reason. People come here for the music.
Though Malediction Society could be easily classified as a goth and industrial night, that wouldn't quite encapsulate all that you'll here at the party.
“In LA, there are is a lack of clubs that remind me of the old alternative days where you could hear a variety of music,” says musician/producer Shok. “This is one of the few places where you can hear some variety.”
There's definitely a sound at Malediction Society, though. We asked Howell to try to describe it without using the words goth or industrial.
“If you were to take pipe organ music and add a heavy grind-y sound to it, that's basically what you're experiencing,” she says. “Then, speed it up times two.”
That sounds about right to us and we dig it. Over the past few years of visiting Malediction Society (rather infrequently, compared to the club regulars) we've heard everything from Coil to Covenant to IAMX to Bush, with everything connected by an eerie and sultry groove. As Lorenz pointed out last night, you'll hear a good amount of German electronic artists as well.
“Being from Germany and considering how much German music is played here, I knew like one band they were playing. I had no idea what was going on,” says Lorenz. “The music was totally not what I expected.”
He continues, ” Bands like Rammstein hardly ever gets played here and actually never gets played at all at this club. I was expecting that.”
For Boots, a self-proclaimed “hardcore metal fan,” Malediction Society is the club that brought him out onto the dance floor.
“I never used to dance before I started coming to this club,” he says. “You don't really dance to metal music, but the industrial stuff has more of a groove.”
Still others mention the names of new artists they've heard because of the club. Malediction Society regular Alumiere says that she became interested in artists like Gentleman Junkie and Aesthetic Perfection, both of whom have roots in the local scene. Gary Laurie, who has been frequenting the club “since the beginning,” named Soman as one of his Malediction Society discoveries.
With its distinct personality, Malediction Society has managed to keep both longtime club-goers and new kids coming through its doors, which isn't easy in a city often focused on trends, reinvention and bringing.
Lorenz says that the Malediction Society still remains “the same club” as it was back in its early days.
“Many people who used to come out five years ago still come out,” he adds.
“There are a few events during the year where attendance will spike and there are a bunch of people you don't know, but I can come here on any given Sunday and there's at least ten or fifteen people that I know I can hang out and talk to,” says Boots. “It's less of a scene thing and more of chance to hang out and talk to friends.”
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