Substance Music Festival Proved to be An Amazing Event

Harsh Symmetry performed at Substance 2022

Harsh Symmetry performed at Substance 2022

Kaelan Mikla performed at Substance 2022,  photo credit: Einar Jarl

Kaelan Mikla performed at Substance 2022, photo credit: Einar Jarl

Substance 2022 created a night to remember.

It was incredible alone just to see so many creative, original, and beautiful non-conformists come together under one roof.”
— subnormal magazine
MALIBU, CALIFORNIA , USA , November 1, 2022 / -- Substance Festival rocked LA last October 21 and 22 at The Los Angeles Theatre downtown LA, and it was amazing.

With nearly 2,000 fans of the so-called gothic, industrial, darkwave music scene, it was incredible alone just to see so many creative, original, and beautiful non-conformists come together under one roof across two nights, sharing in their mutual love of underground music. With 40 bands here, some of these artists had not even been in the U.S. before, and some of them rarely go on tour, so it was all a real treat.

The legendary Jesus and Mary Chain headlined, and were phenomenal, proficiently rocking through cut after cut of their underground classic hits including from my favorite album, “Darklands.” I’d mentioned to a DJ backstage how when I first saw them, they had a white sheet hanging in front of them for the entire show in Chicago! All we could see was their shadow. Rumor was it—they were shy. After a few songs, everyone was livid, and when the show was over, people were yelling for their money back because no one even saw the band. Thankfully, they weren’t so shy this night. I had the pleasure to meet them all and walk up the stairs with them as they hit the stage for what was an incredible performance I will always remember.

The Chameleons, originally from the UK, also headlined, and were expert masters of their craft personified. Blending brooding, dark basslines with searing guitar, pounding rhythms, and soaring vocals with a stellar range, they could have been the only band that played here, and made for an excellent night. A truly great band.

Legendary electronic pioneers Clock DVA, also from the UK, held their audience in captive attention, with powerful, trancelike beats and soundscapes built layer upon layer, with Adi’s dark, chant-like vocal drones penetrating the night.

Kaelan Mikla create mesmerizing, darkly beautiful melodies and movements with surprising power for a three piece act. Truly outstanding, hailing from Iceland.

Cmgirl8 are true entertainers. In the old-school punk style of The Slits and X-Ray Spex, they play with furious energy, amped up on having fun, and unlike some bands that just stand there boringly and play, these girls make the most of their show, squeezing out every drop of excitement they can possible to make their set as entertaining as can be. Beyond that, they’re really good. Cool vocals, jamming guitar, and amazing drums. Red Hot Chili Peppers Anthony Kiedis was sitting on the side of the stage and agreed. Anthony told me, “I’m happy to be here and show my support for these new artists.”

Harsh Symmetry is the synthesizer driven solo project of California based musician Julian Sharwarko. Blending 80's punk and new wave influences with modern gothic / darkwave, the band dominated with their set at Substance last Saturday night in LA, with hundreds of sweat drenched fans packed elbow to elbow in to see this rising new star of the music scene. These guys are truly great and put on an amazing show, even doing a cover of Depache Mode which was outstanding. Shortly into his set, Julian peeled of his leather jacket, singing shirtless as the girls (and guys) went even more wild, which is not surprising, considering Julian is also a fashion model with a crazily beautiful look reminiscent of early London After Midnight.

So much more massive talent rounded out these two nights with 35 other bands performing including Sextile. Check out Subnormal Magazine over the next month for exclusive interviews with Sextile, Harsh Symmetry, Kaelan Mikla, Clock DVA, Cmgirl8, and The Chameleons among more.

In other music news in LA, Phantogram play HOB in Anaheim Nov. 4th. Let's Eat Grandma play November 23 at the Regent. Clan of Xymox play the Regent Nov 19, and in Costa Mesa at the Wayfarer on the 17th. Descendants play Glass House Nov. 19 and 20, and Social Distortion are at HOB Anaheim Nov. 29, 30, and December 8, 9, 11, and 12. Tove Lo plays the Wiltern next year on March 2nd. Also next year, Depache Mode play the Forum on March 28, and Kimbra will be at the Fonda March 9th. Iggy Popp just released a new single, "Frenzy," and it's amazing. (UMG).

Subnormal magazine is the old school punk rock, goth / industrial magazine that has interviewed all from Bauhaus to Sonic Youth. It is now back online.


Bruce Edwin
Hollywood Sentinel Public Relations
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Kaelan Mikla