Gothic, as refers to the musical style and culture, has its roots in the punk scene of the late 70's/early 80's in both the UK and in America. The latter saw the rise of West Coast "death rock" acts such as 45 Grave and Christian Death, fronted by the late Rozz Williams and largely considered to be one of the founding fathers of the Gothic movement, along with UK bands such as the Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus. The mid-80's saw the Second Wave of Goth, led by acts such as Rosetta Stone in an electronic direction, Fields of the Nephilim and Nosferatu in a more organic, but almost theatrically morbid direction, and bands like the Mission (later the Mission UK) in an organic, but less spooky direction, often penning lyrics about lost love or transcendence of spirit. From the early 90's onward the Gothic music has taken on so many different forms that the sound of the music is as diverse as the people who listen to it.
Theatricality was always a big part of the Gothic movement, giving rise to the dark colors and ornate trim which evolved into Gothic fashion as we know it today. Many people dress in elaborate outfits and use lace, velvet and other classical materials, and employ corsets and old-fashioned items like that.
Boots are often very popular with both sexes.
The clubs are a big part of the Gothic scene, providing an opportunity for like-minded souls to network among people they might never meet in "real" life, as well as providing a venue for local and big-name bands to perform in an intimate setting for their fans.
The setting usually is pretty intimate, being usually very dim with occasional accent lights thrown on for effect, often with fireplaces, candelabra, or smoke machines. often there will be a cage for a leather-clad fetish girl to entertain onlookers.
The Gothic scene shares its borders with those of the Industrial scene, in terms of adherents, fashions and venues, and there is often some degree of overlap. This is commonly referred to by the generic tag, the "dark underground."
Gothic music and scene lifestyle can be campy and immerse itself in the trappings of vampires, B-movies and candlelight, can be sensual and beautiful in a classical sense, or can simply be an opportunity to rock out and dance.