Photography by Erik Kabik

Pop Goes the Catalog

When I told friends about the May 12 Poptone show at Brooklyn Bowl, I jokingly said that “every old goth in Vegas” would be there. I didn’t know how right I was: It seemed that pretty much everyone in Clark County who was between 35 and 55 and wore black in high school was in attendance. Why? Well, two-thirds of Poptone is Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins, best known for their prior careers in Bauhaus, Tones on Tail and Love and Rockets—and they would be reviving tunes from all three bands.

Perhaps as a nod to Las Vegas (but perhaps not), Poptone kicked off its set with a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel,” rendered with plenty of guitar grind and rhythmic thump in a style best described as upbeat dirge. It set the tone for the evening, which pulled from the catalogs of all three bands, yet created a fairly seamless set. Overall, the set leaned more toward Tones on Tail’s music, with plenty of abrasive-edged, pop-influenced songs like “Go!” and “Performance.” Bass duties were handled by Diva, Haskins’ daughter, who did solid justice to all of the tracks (and whom I’d like to see with her own band someday), especially the spacey, loopy groove of Tones on Tail’s “Twist,” which played nicely off of Ash’s trademark spiky guitars. A cover of Adam Ant’s “Physical (You’re So)” was a little throwback treat for all the members of the audience throwing back another cocktail. After all, the first time we heard these songs, a lot of us weren’t old enough to drink.

For more on Poptone, read our interview with goth legend Daniel Ash at

Photography by Erik Kabik