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  • Dark Cabaret

    The Dark cabaret genre mixes the principles of the daring German Weimar-age cabarets and burlesque shows from the 20s, with the grim and dark styles of the post 70s gothic culture and music scenes. The genre is usually labeled by the deep and sensual vocals, usually appearing with scant piano playing and strings instruments such as the cello, and sometimes the trumpet or an accordion. Some examples of the more influential artists on the genre include The Dresden Dolls or Rozz Williams. The history of the dark cabaret scene can be traced as far back as 74, with the album “The End” by a band called Nico. Other performers from the era that are accredited with contributing to the sound of the early form of the genre include The Virgin Prunes, Klaus Nomi, and Kate Bush.

    Many other performers have given their own contributions to the dark cabaret scene, such as Lydia Lunch and the 1980 release of the album titled “Queen of Siam”, and the 1988 release of the album “Peepshow” by a rock band from Britain called Siouxsie and the Banshees. In 1994 a rock band from Seattle, Washington called Salon Betty brought an erotic satirical twist to the dark cabaret genre, especially noted with the song “Last Cigarette”. The actual term Dark cabaret was not used until the late 90s, when it was coined to describe the 1995 album “Dream Home Heartache” created by former lead singer of a band called Christian Death, Rozz Williams, and fellow former member Gitane Demone. Singer Jill Tracy from San Francisco won two California Music Awards in 99 with the release of her second album “Diabolical Streak”.

    The dark cabaret scene has grown in popularity in the past decade, and this can be seen elsewhere than just in the rising fame of artists. In the mid 2000s the Los Angeles club “Bricktop’s at the Parlour” featured a large group of dark cabaret performers and artists, including Janet Klein, The Ditty Bops, Cabinet of Curiosities, and many others. But the more influential act of the past few years would have to be The Dresden Dolls, who have found fame in the mainstream music industry. This is thanks in part to Projekt Records compilation of the genres best music in the September 2005 release of “A Dark Cabaret”. The album included music from not only The Dresden Dolls, but also notable acts such as Rozz Williams and Jill Tracy. The band also made an appearance in the dark cabaret musical “The Onion Cellar” in Boston Massachusetts.

    ‘The Dresden Dolls’ rise to fame has been accredited for acts appearing the world over, including more famous performers such as the Carnival, and Harlequin Jones, which show influences from the older artists from the dark cabaret scene. Other notable bands include American Sinner, Belladonna 9ch, Can Can Club, DeadHat, the French band Fantasmagoria, Lily’s Puff, Magick Daggers, Pistolita, Red Sky Coven, Scarlet Room, The Bad Things, Tin Hat Trio, among so many other acts that have given their own contributions to the dark cabaret genre.

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