by Jeff Hahne
Purgatory 43: Ragnarok
April 18, 2009
The Deal: After seven years, Purgatory holds its final event.
The Good: I'd heard all the rumors and rumblings about Purgatory over the last two years since I moved to Charlotte, and finally decided it was time to check it out while I still had a chance. As soon as I set foot inside of Amos', I felt like I was at a more sexually-charged, non-Halloween version of CarnEvil, which I went to last fall. The people watching was fantastic and the majority present were happy to let their freak flag fly women in nothing more than thongs and strategically-placed black tape, plenty of leather, a few ball gags and a few men ... in nothing more than a thong.
While people were dancing to the techno music thumping through the venue, I have to say it was much more tame that I expected it to be. Sure, there were scantily clad women walking around, but not wearing much less than the typical "hooker wear" you'd see at Suite or the average Charlotte club. And while you often see people dry humping who need to "get a room" on the dance floor at those clubs, I didn't see it at Purgatory.
Outside, there was a smaller tent with more techno, plenty of room to walk around and a smaller side stage that occasionally had a performance of some kind fire demonstrations, grinding metal so that sparks were flying, etc. Inside, the main and as far as I could tell, only performance was by Iron Cordoba, who threw on their Viking horns and rocked the audience for roughly 30 minutes. They did a humorous, Viking-themed cover of "Turn the Page" that focused on raping, pillaging and killing.
There was a solid crowd present for the event, not as swamped as I thought it might be which was good because you could still walk around easily. The upstairs VIP section had plenty of whipping and some electro-shocking going on which was interesting to witness from time to time.
The Bad: The one comment I heard the most was, "There weren't any shows" or "I must have missed the shows." Apparently, in the past, there would be different shows on the main stage, but they were lacking at this last event. The only stage shows inside were Iron Cordoba and a brief reunion of the original Purgatory organizers. The rest of the time, there was simply a dancer or two up on the stage, unless I missed the other shows, too...
Considering all of the items listed on the Web site for the event, I feel like I missed a whole bunch of things while I was there. I couldn't tell you who the DJs were the music sounded relatively the same to me all night. I didn't see any "shocking and erotic" performances like I expected the fire and metal grinding seemed tame, must have missed the fetish cabaret, it says 12 interactive play areas but I think I only saw five or six, the "huge vendors area" looked like it was made up of three or four vendors... again, maybe I just wasn't looking in the right places, but Amos' isn't that big.
The Verdict: It's definitely a unique event about which you can easily say there's nothing else like it in Charlotte. As popular as the events have been, maybe the ending isn't such a bad thing. After all, that just means someone, perhaps even Single Cell themselves, will put together something even better.