Goth night fun for all

Alex Nowak

Alex Nowak

By Kate Gleason

People dressed head-to-toe in black who sport dog collars and leashes as accessories come out of the woodwork to partake in Goth Night, an event held every Tuesday night at the Highdive nightclub. Last Tuesday night, the atmosphere was filled with loud music blaring from the speakers and Nightmare on Elm Street was playing on the screens.

Highdive, located at 51 Main downtown Champaign, hosts Goth Night as a way for people to come out and experience goth music and culture.

For Joshua Costa of Champaign, Goth Night presents an outlet for creativity.

“It’s a way of expression for me,” Costa said. “We all just dress up and come here to relax and enjoy ourselves.”

Jason Pitzl-Waters, aka DJ Zozo, is the founder of Goth Night at Highdive.

Pitzl-Waters is one of three DJs that play music each week at the event. Pitzl-Waters said he likes to play goth music because of its originality.

“Goth music is music that explores a darker aesthetic than typical pop music,” he said.

He said goth music originated from the punk music scene and then branched off from there.

“The artists took all the anger from punk and internalized it,” he said. “The music is about exploring their own feelings.”

Pitzl-Waters admits the term ‘goth’ is often misunderstood or not understood at all.

“A lot of things that are labeled goth are not really goth,” he said. “People think that because somebody is wearing black eyeliner, they’re part of the ‘goth movement’ – whatever that is.”

Pitzl-Waters said about 100 people usually attend Goth Night, and the crowd varies from people who are “very into it” to people just there to see what it’s about.

Erik Davis, a doorman at Highdive, said he works Goth Night occasionally.

Davis said he used to come to Goth Night when he was younger. He said he usually sees the same group of people each week and only a few newcomers.

Pitzl-Waters said people should not feel uncomfortable attending because they do not think they are “goth enough.”

“It’s a really fun, accepting crowd,” he said. “The majority of people out here don’t label themselves ‘goth’ – they’re just here to have a good time.”

Sarah Sanders attended the event for the first time. She said she does not consider herself ‘goth,’ but just likes the music and the atmosphere.

“I come here just to kick back and chill,” she said. “I also like to watch people and see what they’re wearing.”

Sanders said Goth Night is unlike any other bar experience around.

“The people here are just so different,” she said. “And the music is actually creative.”

Andrew Marshall said the people at Goth Night are not afraid to be themselves, and that’s what he likes about it.

“People here think for themselves,” he said. “They know they don’t have to be a Barbie doll or a Ken doll.”

Pitzl-Waters agreed and said he feels there is a lot of confusion around the definition of the term goth.

He said he feels that oftentimes the term is used as a “buzzword for troubled youth.”

“We’re not just a bunch of gloomy teenagers sitting in our basements listening to The Cure,” he said. “We’re just regular people who have slightly different opinions about music and culture.”

Pitzl-Waters encourages anyone interested in Goth Night to give it a try.

“I want people to just come check it out and see it,” he said. “I don’t think anyone’s ever walked away with a bad time.”