Mid-road Normal Girl Goes to VNV Nation Concert! Help?
November 23, 2011 10:44 AM   Subscribe

Going to a VnV Nation concert TONIGHT! Suggestions for clothes/etiquette/hidden easter eggs? I'd like to get the most out of it I can! (Fun holiday question.)

I'm going to go as someone's date, and we ARE going to dress up. Having perused a lot of the Green Mefi and Blue Mefi, I understand he's on the younger side of the goth culture, although I understand there's some controversy about whether VnV Nation is goth or not. Whatever. I'm definitely getting into their music--I happen to like more up-tempo stuff! And I love dressing up and I'd love to dress up appropriately and not make a fool of myself! Suggestions? Are temporary tattoos okay, or will those be poseur-ish? I won't dye my dark-red hair, and I don't have any face jewelry, but I'm cool with any kind of embellishment and I'll happily throw on a wig. Blow off some work today and tell me what to wear/how white my makeup should be, goths/industry-kids!
posted by aarwenn to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: VNV Nation are widely considered to be a "futurepop" act, "futurepop" being a hybrid of synthpop (i.e. Depeche Mode), EBM and progressive trance. To answer your questions in order:

I'd say temporary tattoos would be very much the mark of a poseur. I've been into the gothic and industrial scenes for going on two decades and write and help edit an online magazine about the music, and I don't have any tattoos. Plenty of us don't. (On the other hand, who'd know?)

I've never dyed my hair, either, and the only facial jewelry I have is a septum piercing that I only bother putting jewelry into a few times a year for shows or nights out to the club.

For more general advice, you don't have to go ultra-white with make-up and you don't have to go overly outlandishly with the clothes, but if you want to (and have access to the clothes and possibly a set of dreadfalls), do a Google image search on "cybergoth," (a term I have as little use for as "futurepop," quite honestly).

Please don't be intimidated, though! The "cybergoth" style is at the extreme end of the fashion spectrum. The other end would be something like a generic "little black dress" and boots, maybe with fishnet tights, light foundation and powder (pale but certainly not corpse-white), and dark eyeliner and lipstick (any dark shade is fine, and black isn't necessary and in my opinion is a little too over-the-top unless you're doing old school death rock). You could also go the classic industrial dance route, and rock a pair of camouflage shorts or a short skirt with a black tank top, combat boots, and maybe some big leather bracelets or a spiked collar if you've got one lying around.

In short, have fun with it, don't stress out, and don't feel like you have to try too hard. If you want to go overboard, worry more about looking "good" and less about looking "goth," if that makes sense.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:03 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're aren't goth, there's no reason to dress up just because you're going to a goth show. Pretty much anything you wear is going to be kind of poser-y, if you're just approaching it as a costume rather than a sub-culture. Just wear what you feel comfortable in. When I was going to goth industrial shows a lot, I never worse anything but jeans and a t-shirt and never felt out of place. You should wear what makes you feel like you, and not what makes you feel like a goth.
posted by empath at 11:13 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've been to 18+ VNV Nation shows since 1998. It will be an amazing show, and the music will take on a new meaning when you see them perform live.

But please, for the love of all that is good and holy, please don't treat my subculture as a costume.

What you wear just isn't important. "Dressing up" will make you look like a poseur if you treat it like a costume. For women, standard uniform is something like a black skirt, black tank or tee, fishnets, and combat boots: the uniform we've been wearing to VNV shows for more than ten years now. You could easily wear jeans, or an old-lady dress, or whatever. I have shown up straight from work in a work uniform, no one cared. Older fans of VNV Nation are there for the music, not for the fashion show. Save the money you were going to spend on a "costume" and spend it at the merch booth, where the band will actually get a cut of the money you spend.

Be nice to the old goths who may roll their eyes at you and your friend. We don't mean to be insulting but we do find the kindergoth thing a little tiring at times. A true joy and appreciation for the music and not the people-watching will go a long way towards fitting in.
posted by juniperesque at 11:25 AM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]

VNV Nation is not a band (or even a genre) I follow closely, but the one show of theirs I went to was not particularly gothy. The only style trend I remember about the crowd was a higher-than-usual prevalence of VNVN shirts. So I think you will be in the minority going all-out on a fancy costume. I second infinitywaltz's advice, to just be creative and wear something that looks good, rather than trying to imitate what you imagine to be stylistically appropriate. I also recommend comfy (not heeled) shoes--jumping around in sync with the music is way more fun than falling over.
posted by gueneverey at 11:35 AM on November 23, 2011

Response by poster: This is all great stuff and I apologize to anyone who felt that I was treating the subculture as a joke or a costume. I do love extreme dress up, but I will try hard not to treat this as a themed party, and more as a subculture that I have the honor of participating in for a night. I'm scrapping the plans for the fishnets + patent leather chaps + silver corset I already own, because I have a lot of that kind of gear and I have previously worn it/I can wear it on other occasions. Sounds like this is not the occasion.
posted by aarwenn at 11:47 AM on November 23, 2011

Yeah, bigtime VNV fan here (seeing them next week). Don't dress up. VNV draws everything from goths to middle class suburbans in khakis and dress shirts. Be yourself! VNV is all about acceptance.
posted by bfranklin at 12:42 PM on November 23, 2011

Best answer: I've been to see VNV in full on neon cybergoth business and also just in black jeans, a plain black tee and Docs. Whatever you wear will probably be fine.

I was planning on seeing Funker Vogt (similar-ish act, turns out the show is cancelled) tonight in black leggings, black knee-high boots, a black tee with a mushroom cloud print and a black vest covered in pyramid studs. I wear glasses and I usually don't do contacts for shows because the smoke in the clubs makes my eyes water like mad. I still do a lot of makeup--elaborate dark eyes and dark lips--but no designs, spiderwebs, rhinestones etc, partially because it takes too much time to get in & out of all that, and partially because I'm older and a lot of that stuff doesn't appeal to me anymore. I mostly just do nerd-goth anyway.

You'll likely see people in everything from black tracksuits to rubber. Enjoy!
posted by Kitty Stardust at 12:50 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

a subculture that I have the honor of participating in for a night

Subculture, schmubculture. They're people just like you, who happen to also enjoy the band you're going to see.

And for what it's worth, VNV Nation (and the futurepop/cybergoth scene in general) are a bit of a joke among goth/industrial purists. If there are people there who have appointed themselves Snob On The Job, you can totally roll your eyes at them, no matter what you're wearing.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:38 PM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: your outfit would probably be fine if you don't accessorize it too gothy. The cyber thing is all about being futuristic, so let that be an inspiration. If the corset/fishnet thing is something that you do wear occasionally, then that is much more appropriate than putting on a bunch of stuff that isn't you.

wear your sexy cool clothes - there will be lots of girls there wearing crazy skimpy outfits so you'll fit in. Wear the biggest stompiest boots you have the you can dance in, and dance yous ass off.

temoprary tatoos would be a bit silly, and also if the place gets hot you may sweat them off! One thing that is really popular right now is colourful hair extentions so if you can get your hands on some of those, do it!

Have fun - part of the ethos of this subculture is to be accepting and encouraging of weirdness, so wear what to will feel good in and have fun
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:43 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Temporary tattoos are visibly not real. (I don't know about theatrical makeup and stuff, just talking about the regular ones.). I would stay away from those.
posted by box at 2:45 PM on November 23, 2011

Yeah, as a goth who always ALWAYS dresses up as much as (or more than) the situation will allow, I'm gonna say it doesn't matter at all what you wear. For one, it's VNV, not the Sisters of Mercy. (Not going into *that* goth-or-not discussion, but the answer is yes, yes they are.) VNV is stompy, not frilly. I expect it will be mostly black jeans and t-shirts. It's also not a club with a dress code, and even if it was, there is no one Goth Uniform. Cyber, Victorian, Deathrock, Trad, Military, whatever-- we all hang out in the same places, and those styles are pretty different from each other.

It doesn't matter what you wear to a show anyway, for the most part. Everyone is there to see the band, after all, not the other audience members. I saw They Might Be Giants and Jonathan Coulton last week in all black leather with my bright red hair, and the only reason I didn't do it up all corsetty is that I expected to do a whole lot of jumping up and down (and I did). If I am (and I am) comfortable doing that, then you should be comfortable going to a VNV show in a bright yellow t-shirt and blue jeans and tennis shoes if you damn well feel like it. Anyone who judges you for it is not someone whose judgment you should be worried about.

I do have silly hair and tattoos and an awful lot of earrings, but I don't have any facial piercings either, and have no plans to get any. I think they would look silly on me. (Not everyone, mind, but certainly me.) There's no uniform. You don't even have to wear all black. You don't have to wear *any* black. The club I used to work at had winter-themed nights where everyone wore white. Some people, and it makes me shudder to say this, make PINK goth. As far as I, and all of my friends, are concerned, the point of the dress-up is to have fun, not to fit in. If it isn't fun, why bother?

Re:tattoos: I get this a lot less often now that I have a big ol' snake tattooed on my right arm, but I have a wispy little spiderweb on my left shoulder, and people used to ask me all the time whether it was real. It does look a bit like it was drawn on with pen, in their defense. But apparently it isn't always obvious when even a real tattoo is real, not to everyone.

But temporary tattoos are indeed silly-looking, and I hope you did not wear one. Again-- UNLESS YOU REALLY WANTED TO!

I wish I had caught this question earlier in the day, because you're probably already home by now, depending on where in the country you are. So this answer is completely useless. But I wanted to answer anyway, in case this comes up in future searches or you're still interested or, well, just because it's a subject which is dear to my heart. My withered black jet-beaded heart. Yes.
posted by Because at 10:38 PM on November 23, 2011

Heh-- looks like you're in Seattle, as am I. Not home from the show then. I guess this is the point where I disclose that I am not a huge VNV fan, isn't it?
posted by Because at 10:40 PM on November 23, 2011

so how was it and what did you wear?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:53 PM on November 24, 2011

Response by poster: Hi all! Thanks so much for all the help. I went ahead and wore my sexy cool clothes--silver corset, silver leggings, silver booty shorts, then black patent leather chaps--because I feel comfortable in them, and I wore my huge motorcycle boots and jumped around a lot. That was really the key piece of advice--people kept mentioning this phrase, "jump around". I realized I'd have to wear the right, supportive, undergarments, and I went through a few incarnations before it really felt right. I had a GREAT time at the show, and I felt super comfortable. I hadn't realized how strongly people feel about VnV Nation until that show. That was...eye-opening, but lovely.
posted by aarwenn at 7:46 PM on December 28, 2011

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