Anti-valentine’s day massacre

Therapy Café hosts Blackheart’s Ball

By Gary Spencer

Photo: The Blackheart’s Ball is the brainchild of Curse of Cassandra, who will perform Friday at Therapy Café; photo: Alien Twilight

Valentine’s Day is a “holiday” people either love or detest – there isn’t much room in between. And if you fall in the latter category, chances are you won’t be much in the mood for chocolates, flowers or a lovey-dovey dinner and movie for your Valentine’s Day weekend entertainment. No, chances are you might be in the mood for a more devious, dark or sinister way to spend your weekend. If that’s the case, break out your best all-black outfit and dance shoes – the inaugural Blackheart’s Ball at Therapy Café this Friday might be just the place for you.

Blackheart’s Ball is the brainchild of Dayton-based dark new-wave style dance trio Curse of Cassandra (CoC). According to CoC vocalist Nicole Richter, the inspiration for the debut event was two-fold: “We want to celebrate Halloween twice a year and that is what we are trying to do with Blackheart’s Ball – replace Valentine’s Day with Halloween,” she said. “ We reject society’s mass-produced, commercial image of romantic love. Valentine’s Day can be very lonely for people not in relationships and can create conflict and division for those who are. People strive to have this perfect day and in that pursuit of perfection, failure is the only outcome – fantasy doesn’t match reality. We aren’t anti-love – we are anti-fake, plastic ideas of love. This is an event to bring together people regardless of relationship status to celebrate the darker side of life.”

With the concept of Blackheart’s Ball in place, the band wanted to select a venue that would not just have good live sound and lighting, but also a room that could enhance and provide an atmosphere with a darkly romantic vibe. Therapy Café in downtown Dayton seemed like the perfect choice.

“Therapy Café is an excellent venue with a great stage, dance floor and a powerful sound system, which makes it perfect for Blackheart’s Ball,” Richter said. “They gave us a lot of freedom and creativity to program the evening. Recent updates and remodeling have taken the venue to a stylish new level.”

With a venue to house Blackheart’s Ball in place, it was time for Curse of Cassandra to select a few other bands to join them on the Therapy Café stage that also visually and sonically represented the theme and message of their Anti-Valentine’s Day extravaganza. According to Richter, Cincinnati hard industrial dance legion Hematosis and Dayton’s purveyors of dark shoegaze Where the Nameless Dwell were perfect choices for a variety of reasons.

“We wanted to program an event that brought together Ohio’s underground music community and we wanted the evening to be an artistic experience, not simply a collection of bands playing a bar,” Richter said. “We thought Hematosis was perfect for this since they are in a network of the goth/industrial community and they have a highly energetic stage performance complete with dancers that add theatricality to the show. We invited Where the Nameless Dwell to play since they are working like us to build a dark music scene in Dayton through their experimental, shoegaze sound.”

Where the Nameless Dwell guitarist Jeffrey Linder shares Richter’s vision and enthusiasm for the Blackheart’s Ball concept.

“I think the concept of a dark-vibed Valentine’s Day event is great for lovers and for those who feel slightly jilted in life and want to have an Anti-Valentine’s day party to go to,” Linder said. “[Where the Nameless Dwell] brings the heart wrenching storylines and dark feel, Curse of Cassandra brings the sexy, dancey vibe and Hematosis will just crush the evening out with their epic and entertaining music. I feel this is an event for those with and without someone special to hang out and have some fun.”

Cincinnati’s harsh industrial dance duo Hematosis, aided by the spooky and sexy Nekrodancers, will headline this Friday’s Blackheart’s Ball. Hematosis producer/programmer Scott Dowers is looking forward to performing in the Gem City again with other like-minded musical acts for a crowd and event seemingly tailor-made for their intense and theatrical live show.

“Hematosis strives to bring the audience the visualization of live theater to mix with the aggressive dark ambient beats we create to indulge in a fantasy-filled dream,” Dowers said. “Dayton has a captive audience in the Gothic/Industrial genre, for which fashion and dark alternative [culture] have non-discriminate elements of beauty and atmosphere to ensure each individual a mesmerizing time.”

And if all of these attributes aren’t enough to entice one to embrace the dark side of their heart by attending Blackheart’s Ball, Nicole Richter shared one more detail to share that will surely seal the deal.

“All of these bands have incredible hair. You have to see it to believe it.”

Blackheart’s Ball will take place Friday, Feb. 13 at Therapy Café, 452 E. Third St. Hematosis, Curse of Cassandra and Where the Nameless Dwell will perform with DJs Endpe and DitDot spinning between sets. Admission is $5 at the door for patrons 21 and over. Doors open at 8 p.m. For more information, please visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at

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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at

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