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Dan Sartain

Can there be such a thing as 21st-century gothic? The gothic imagination is all about superstitions that linger on after science has seemed to explain them away...but maybe the old superstitions are done lingering. I mean, vampires are everywhere these days, but not as the unsettling visions of the irrational subconscious of Dracula. Instead they’re fantasy boyfriends in Twilight and True Blood. The old stories have lost their ability to scare us.

I was thinking about this recently when I listened to Dan Sartain’s song “Atheist Funeral,” which declares, “Don’t talk about God at my funeral!” Sartain, who hails from Alabama but spends a lot of time in San Diego, makes bluesy, swampy psychobilly music that has “Southern gothic” written all over it. Think of the Cramps or Screamin’ Jay Hawkins without all the silliness, and you’ll know what to expect. While you’re at it, think of Screamin’ Jay’s “I Put a Spell on You” without the voodoo. Could the song exist without it? Would it have the same eerie quality?

I don’t know the answer to that, but with “Atheist Funeral,” Sartain makes a case that he doesn’t need all the old mumbo-jumbo to cook up a good old-fashioned Southern gothic racket. With a bass sound this powerful and a beat this primitive, he doesn’t need to talk about God or the devil in order to sound heavy. Besides, if Sartain wants to stir up something unsettling, he can find it in the real world. Check out his song “Bohemian Grove,” about the secretive and cultlike resort open exclusively to the richest and most powerful people in the country. Now that is creepy.

Past Event

Dan Sartain

  • Wednesday, August 18, 2010, 8:30 p.m.
  • Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego
  • $10 - $12
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Can there be such a thing as 21st-century gothic? The gothic imagination is all about superstitions that linger on after science has seemed to explain them away...but maybe the old superstitions are done lingering. I mean, vampires are everywhere these days, but not as the unsettling visions of the irrational subconscious of Dracula. Instead they’re fantasy boyfriends in Twilight and True Blood. The old stories have lost their ability to scare us.

I was thinking about this recently when I listened to Dan Sartain’s song “Atheist Funeral,” which declares, “Don’t talk about God at my funeral!” Sartain, who hails from Alabama but spends a lot of time in San Diego, makes bluesy, swampy psychobilly music that has “Southern gothic” written all over it. Think of the Cramps or Screamin’ Jay Hawkins without all the silliness, and you’ll know what to expect. While you’re at it, think of Screamin’ Jay’s “I Put a Spell on You” without the voodoo. Could the song exist without it? Would it have the same eerie quality?

I don’t know the answer to that, but with “Atheist Funeral,” Sartain makes a case that he doesn’t need all the old mumbo-jumbo to cook up a good old-fashioned Southern gothic racket. With a bass sound this powerful and a beat this primitive, he doesn’t need to talk about God or the devil in order to sound heavy. Besides, if Sartain wants to stir up something unsettling, he can find it in the real world. Check out his song “Bohemian Grove,” about the secretive and cultlike resort open exclusively to the richest and most powerful people in the country. Now that is creepy.

Past Event

Dan Sartain

  • Wednesday, August 18, 2010, 8:30 p.m.
  • Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego
  • $10 - $12
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There are some great Dan Sartain videos on Vimeo... do a search.

  • Joe
Aug. 17, 2010

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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