The white noise of conversations, house music and the bar bleeds into the small back stage room of Dingbatz in Clifton, New Jersey. It is the end of the last day of the 2013 “Ghouls’ Night Out Festival”, the largest festival of its kind in North America. A two-day gathering of horror movie geeks and punk rockers from all over the United States and the world abroad, “Ghouls Night Out” is the only place to be if you enjoy the music subgenre of ‘horrorpunk’.
Hasty last minute preparations are made. Drums are moved from the cramped room and onto the stage. Guitars, amp heads, cabinets, pedal boards – all manner of gear is hustled out to the stage. The space is a literal bee hive of activity. Argyle Goolsby, frontman and lead singer of this project, tightens the black leather gloves which cover his hands and adjusts his solid black wide-brimmed hat. Beneath the white contacts that hide his eyes, an intense focus on the task ahead is brewing. Soon he, myself, Joe, J-Sin and Paulie will blow on through the hour long set list of his debut live solo performance.
The stage is set. I sneak on prior to the cue for the intro music, to make sure my guitar is still tuned and that my amp and pedal board are powered on properly and ready to go. I look out into the large room of the bar. People are filling in, buying drinks and taking their positions in front of the stage. I head backstage again.
Five minutes pass. Joe, J-Sin, Paulie, Goolsby and I all give each other slaps on the back and a few words of encouragement. Then silence for some moments.
The intro music begins. A roar of excitement erupts from the bar. Our audience is waiting and they are ready.
As the intro slows, our cue to walk on stage is given. Goolsby leads the five of us out in front of the crowd. The applause and screams are deafening as Goolsby greets the crowd. Like a wall of energy.
300 screaming fans packed into a tiny dive in New Jersey to bear witness to this special moment in time. One show they won’t forget.
It was one we would never forget, either.