The Barbary is a club that has been standing the test of time so far in the Philly club circuit. Us nightlife people are painfully aware of the influx and outflux of available spaces for parties. Like Kung Fu Necktie, the two-party a night business model works well when it comes to bringing in a crowd.
The staff at The Barbary are some of the nicest and socially aware people. They manage an interesting monthly itinerary of functions and the sound system is well built. Overall the space is what I consider to be safe and inclusionary.
These wonderful elements aside, I just can’t seem to get into Transmission.
Transmission – a Dark Danse Party
Long gone is the heyday of goth events in the city. Unfortunately, I was too young to experience the lore of a party happening almost every night of the week. Economic and environmental times have changed, and I wonder if a goth party a night would even be sustainable in Philly these days.
This isn’t to say there is a dry spell. We have Spellbound (back from hiatus in August), Uknown Pleasures, A Black Celebration, and a ton of quality shows happening at Lacquer. Transmission is easily one of the most frequently attended. It’s also an important event in the scene. The crowd tends to be a mixed bag of familiar eyelined faces and goth tourists. Sure, creeps definitely can rear their ugly heads here, but the staff at The Barbary have a no-nonsense policy for that behavior. Recently a friend told me of getting someone kicked out for saying transphobic things about someone who works there. I’ve never felt unsafe at a party here.
Transmission is also a great party to bring your non-counterculture friends and expose them to music they may not have been aware of before. However, this is where I hit a wall with how much fun I have. While I’ve never had a bad time, It seems lately that every time I come the exact same songs are played by the same handful of artists. It makes sense to play classics of course, and New Orders Blue Monday will never get old for me. However, there are a lot of classic and danceable tracks that aren’t featured, let alone contemporary goth. A few years this wasn’t the case at Transmission. You could hear songs by TRST being played or lesser known songs from The Cure. The DJ’s are very talented in technique as well, so I’m unsure why the variety of tracks has waned.
The quality of music is my first in personal preferences for what I look for at an event and I haven’t been impressed lately here. However, Transmission is never gonna be a bad choice for a fun outing and is a safe choice if you’re not sure what else is going on that night.