When I say “Goth“… What’s the first image you get?
Angry, spiky, black-clad guys with make-up and girls with more make-up, standing around hating the world?
How about “Emo“… Same as “Goth”, only with less studs and more tears?
If you still see these images, you seriously need to get your head out of your ass, stop attending Boeremag meetings and open your life up to experience some alternative culture. You need to go check out Attrition.
I had the privilege of attending the last Attrition event held on Sunday 5 Feb 2012 at Aandklas in Hatfield, and let me spare you the suspense: It was one of the best events I have ever been to. The vibe, the music, the people, the creative expression, the litres of free (and notably colourful) cocktails… The almost surreal realisation that there’s a world of people thriving in a non-mainstream community within the proverbial walls of the status quo.
Were most people clad in black? Yes.
Full of studs, piercings and miscellaneous unconventional jewellery? Lots.
In fact, one thing I noticed was how at peace most of the people at Attrition seemed to be. They don’t need society’s approval to be who they are. And it shows.
Through the entire party, I had only one question for the various people I spoke to: “Do you think that a jock/”normal” person would be able to enjoy Attrition? You know, someone that would rather wear less leather and more colours.”
The answers all boiled down to one very clear point: Anyone and everyone is welcome at Attrition. As long as you don’t mind the music, and don’t dish out shit, you will not be shunned.
To this, I can testify. By now you should know that I am not exactly a mainstream-jock listening to Kurt Darren in my spare time. I live for rock and love my black jeans & T’s. However, I generally don’t wear 7kg of steal on my person, and have never so much as considered facial tattoos. Yet, not for a moment did I feel like an outsider at my first Attrition. In fact, I made quite a few new friends, some of whom kindly volunteered to do my make-up for the next event. And you know what, I will take them up on that offer, coz there is no way that I’m ever missing an Attrition party ever again.
I had a chat with Alex Brewis, the main brain behind the Attrition events, about it all. What, why, when, where, how and when…
Now, before you click away due to fear of textual overload, do yourself a favour and read what he had to say. Let his passion inspire you! If you had half as much passion for your job as he has for Attrition, odds are that you wouldn’t even hate Mondays.
1. What is Attrition in brief?
Allies, Alternative, Aesthetic, Awesome.
2. Why the name? What does it mean in the context of your events?
The term “attrition” has always been associated with military forces using few resources and guerilla tactics to overwhelm larger, better positioned forces. Attrition has done just that. We’ve kept at it for 5 years, doing parties that have survived on a Sunday when nobody else is operating, offering a party that mainstream usually rejects. We are the underdog that always comes out on top through service excellence and commitment to the partygoer, never compromising on our genres and never giving up. The gas mask embodies our beliefs, the unknown soldier furthering the cause of the dark aesthetic in all its forms, the survivor in the toxic environment, the one who is prepared, the one who protects himself and is feared for it.
3a. Give us a brief history of the Attrition Events. (origin, progression, events that stood out)
Attrition started 5 years ago, at an undisclosed near-abandoned house, on a crisp winter morning. The inklings of a crimson dawn bathed the highest spires in a kaleidoscope of hues. The air was at this point still devoid of ill-spirited traffic smog. The city lay sleeping under the pallid blanket of delicate frost, not at all roused by the few specks of life trampling it. The neat yet cramped street design spoke of rushed expansion and fortuitous profit, its echoes luring similar endeavours. I digress. The idea was to combine the ability to socialize and meet fellow enthusiasts of the darker aesthetic, with the music and attitude to suit it. Where do the free cocktails (all day and night) fit in? Somewhere within the tomes of reasonably priced alcohol I guess. The empty lounge became a fully furnished dance floor. The first party was a blast, too much so as police and angry neighbours did their best to try and quell our residential insurrection. The Attrition parties started with humble desires, seeking only to provide a haven to those who wished not to have to shout over blaring noise at clubs. The demand, however, soon exceeded my capacity, thus bigger venues were sought. Moving to venues like the Bunker (RIP), Silverton Rockshack (RIP), Full Moon Lounge and Centurion Rockshack (RIP), Tings ‘n Times Hatfield (RIP; heroes of the dark!), the idea of always having a new environment tolook forward to was highly appealing at first, though the logistical implications became an issue. So after deliberation and ample Sumerian rituals, Aandklas (corner of Prospect and Hilda str, Hatfield) is once again the home of Attrition.
As the party occurs every 4 weeks or so, regular customers of the bar were weaned onto the idea of goth/ deathrock/ darkwave/ industrial/ ebm/ metal appearing at their establishment. The staff members of Aandklas are impressively supportive of our concept and have done their utmost to encourage liveliness. Soon the cocktails and gloom began to flow freely. I pride myself on the fact that we host the parties on a Sunday, bypassing regular club nights and giving people something to do on the day of rest. Hence the name Attrition I guess. I’m not really sure, the combined voices in my head don’t always speak in turn. What I do know is that your once-off entrance fee secures you free cocktails and admittance to the best music and people the local scene has to offer. I have been proud to host events with interesting themes (who can forget the Dark Carnival or Steampunk?) and see a great amount of thought being put into costumes and styles. I firmly believe that the crux of our sustainability rests with the participation of the partygoers.
3b. Drop some names… (who started, works at, have been featured etc)
The shadow says to the night, “I can’t see”. It’s the regulars that make this the best, from customers to staff. We have the likes of Dwayne “Sacrifist/Laconia” Coetzee, Henkie “Androidgeny” Van, Cyvergence, Raymond Ross, Ankst, Nightbreed Radio and many others give the crowd their dose of sanity, we have had a member of the Sisters of Mercy party with us. Attrition’s about the underdog though, the unknown soldier, the haunter of the dark. Our friends and artists, the loyal and the true. We have had some great sponsors and merchandise supporters over the years: Chaos R Us Clothing, Ankst, The Missing Ink (did my whole back in a tribute to the Loa, Poe & Lovecraft), Paradox, Simply Kat Jewelery and many more. At the helm you’ve got myself (Alex/Portent of Malediction//DJ Sutter Caine / Nightbreed Radio), I like hands-on management of events.
4. What makes Attrition different from other parties?
You won’t find more free cocktails and fun times than this. Whether you drink or not, the ambiance and people can’t be matched. 5. Who do you cater for? And will a typical jock (or a person who’s doesn’t fall in your intended demographic) be able to enjoy the party? We cater for people with an open-mind. Whether you avoid the sun, don’t own anything other than black and know who Peter Murphy is, or whether you just like hanging out and having a good time, you’ll be welcome. The whole idea behind Attrition is to create an environment where people could meet, relax, listen to good music and drink at low cost. You will meet a variety of different folk, it’s part of the fun.
6. When, where etc? (next events…)
Attrition happens at least once a month, though we have special parties and our own “Sanctums.”
The next Attrition is at Aandklas in Hatfield on the 4th of March.
7. Which bands and genres do you support?
We’re into everything goth/ebm/industrial/deathrock/gothabilly/rock -> you’ll hear Rammstein, KMFDM, Christian Death, Depeche Mode, Clan of Xymox, Eisbrecher, Paradise Lost, Blutengel, NIN, Bauhaus, Necromantik Sunshine, Combichrist, Inhale, Ghost of Lemora, VNV Nation, Emperor, Rolling Stones, Deathcamp Project, SITD, The Drownign Season, Hocico and many, many more…
Thanx Alex, thanx Henkie and all the others working to make Attrition the awesome phenomenon it is, and thank you to all my new freinds, the ones who breathe life into the underground. You are the heroes of individuality, and I salute you.
All photo’s (not by me) courtesy of the following wonderful people:
- Annemi van Jaarsveld
- Trevor Charles Miller
- Ryan Skully Demoser / Headbone Photography (Ryan’s Website)