High-Functioning Flesh / IXVLF / Speaking Parts + DJ Shari Vari

One of the things I love about the Philly goth scene is that it is not just undead in the club circuit. Many talented musicians and artists are doing their thing in other settings. On any given month you can bet a guarantee of shows catering to the community. This particular show on Friday was wildly good. It was an awesome example of a dedicated community.

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High-Functioning Flesh / IXVLF / Speaking Parts + DJ Shari Vari

When I saw this event posted I almost lost my mind. The line-up was incredible. A mixture of Philly scene locals, and West Coast Sounds. PhilaMOCA is one of the cooler venues in Philadelphia. I mean, it used to be a showroom for tombstones and mausoleums (v goth). Space is solid, with plenty of room for dancing. Though on the smaller side, the layout is such that it’s not claustrophobic, even in a packed room.

Before I begin reviewing this rad show,  I want to briefly touch upon one minor incident. Overall, the visuals projected throughout the night were cool and funky. At one point during a performance, some pretty shocking imagery was displayed. It made some people, including myself, a little uncomfortable. Our scene is known for embracing a darker aesthetic, and sometimes it can be hard to navigate what might be crossing a line. Heck, I have unknowingly posted things on my personal Facebook page that resulted in me triggering people. The person who ran sound and projections had no intention of offending anyone, and the issue was quickly resolved. We are all human and misunderstandings sometimes happen, no big deal.

I’m not about vilifying people for honest mistakes or misunderstandings. I’m not for censorship, especially in art. I believe in striving for ethical art while providing a good experience for the majority. Intent is key, and the intention was not a purposefully negative one at all. How great is that people in the scene can openly talk to one another about social issues, art, inclusiveness, etc? The projectionist is incredibly talented and should be celebrated for his work, as well as his openness to remedy an honest mistake. I really look forward to going to more shows where he is running sound and visuals.

The night started out with Speaking Parts. Just when I think he couldn’t get any better, he goes went and took my breath away on the dance floor. His squelchy, dark, and acid-based modular techno brings so much good coldness to any show he has performed at.

I was first exposed to IXVLF as one-third of WORT, so I was already aware of his musical skills. His interpretation of proto-industrial, with hints of dark ambient (I personally was feeling some slight Loscil vibes) made for a very exciting performance. I am glad I finally got to hear him live. I’m looking forward to his next show.

High-Functioning Flesh is an LA-based electro-punk/EBM duo. Remember how I set I almost lost my mind when I first found out about this show? Well, I actually did when they played. The music and live performance was so high energy, danceable, fun, and refreshing. Everyone was moving while when they were on stage. They are now top on my summer and beyond playlist.

As always, DJ Shari Vari played some killer tracks between sets. She kept the vibe proper. Yassss.

This show was an excellent example of the DIY scene here in the City of Brotherly/Sisterly/Everyone Love. My thanks to all who helped make this show happen. Y’all are slaying. <666

Next Up: [●°INDUSTRIAL_PICNIC°●]

Infrared

Infrared is a monthly party held by nightlife collective Left Rite. The crew consists of some really talented people. They remain heavy hitters in the scene while maintaining a DIY and all inclusive

 

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This particular event is held at the Irish Pol around 2nd and Market. I was a little hesitant about this location, as it’s in Old City as it can be a bro-y area at times. As soon as I stepped into the event upstairs and any feelings of anxiousness dissipated. The Left Rite crew keeps a safe and positive vibe with their parties.

July is a tough month for a lot of events, what with vacations, 4th of July, and festivals. Left Rite had actually just come back from PEX Fest, so the night was for their resident DJ’s. Though the typical itinerary for Infrared has always been guest DJ’s and resident DJ’s, it was nice to experience the eclectic music the Left Rite DJ’s have to offer.

In typical me fashion, I showed up way early to the party and it was not in full swing (Life Hack though, show up to the party early so you can check out all the parties that night. Phil Yeah set the mood with some really chill sounds that provided excellent atmosphere. Next up was ILY. ILY is an extremely talented DJ in the scene. He is incredibly skilled and always plays the right stuff to get the crowd moving, without relying on any cliches. BeeTee Beats never fails to pull out something unexpected and unique with his mixes, and it always works and sounds dope.

Left Rite has invested a lot of time and money into their HOLY DAMN amazing sound system. I was floored when I saw their rig and glad got to sonically experience it.

For the queer and trans community, Left Rite parties absolutely pass the test for a safe, fun, and all-inclusive spot. They throw a number of events around the city, like Friday Night Jawn at Kung Fu Necktie. I am excited to see this crew develop in the Philly party circuit.

Next Up: High Functioning Flesh/IXVLF/Speaking Parts + DJ Shari Vari

A Black Celebration

So I finally made it to A Black Celebration, and boy, have I mean missing out! It’s an event usually held upstairs at Kung Fu Necktie, though a few times it has been held at The Fire. As far as goth events go, it has the most casual vibe that I have seen. It’s more like having a dance party at your BFF’s house, complete with all the best post-punk and new wave mix tapes.

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A Black Celebration

I got in around 11, and it was pretty packed, but not enough to be suffocating. The crowd was really enthusiastic and already the dance floor was moving. I have the utmost respect for DJ Baby Berlin. This is her event she started, and what was crazy awesome is that she had gotten off a plane from Costa Rica (her pictures of the vacation are amazing), and still hosted the event last night.  That type of dedication is one of the things that is keeping the scene going. DJ Jem did an amazing job keeping the positivity up and getting people moving.

The music was not typical for any goth night. Oftentimes, the same few post-punk and new wave hits can be heard at any event, but the music mix was incredibly eclectic. It is not often that you will hear Kiss Kiss Bang Bang by Specimen played at the club. The crowd was focused on just having a good time, and it felt very inclusive towards all types of people. This is another event where there was a nice mix of baby bats and elder goths.

One thing I have forgotten to mention about events held upstairs at KFN. You are allowed to smoke up there, so if that isn’t your thing it is something to consider. Typically though, it does not get very smokey. Most people opt to go outside. A Black Celebration is definitely a heavy hitter among the goth event calendar. It’s a perfect mix of casual hangs and jaunty music and dancing.

Next Up: Infrared

Unknown Pleasures

I’ve lived in South Philly for a number of years now, and to be in such close vicinity to a monthly goth night is a pleasure (no pun intended). The cool thing about it is that the crew who runs the party know their music and history of the scene. The crowd can be a mixed bag, but you always can catch at least some of the dedicated goths at this party.

 

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Unknown Pleasures

I admittedly have not been to Unknown Pleasures in a bit but stepping into the Dolphin for the party felt like home. Ian is a strong DJ and is the owner of the killer record store Beautiful World Syndicate, so he obviously knows his stuff.

Seeing Littlespacey progress as a DJ has been awesome. She plays a very eclectic range of contemporary goth to the classics. You are bound to discover a new dark audio treat when she’s up.

Guest Dj Shawn Ryan (Universal Cave/Superprince) did not disappoint. Cheers to him for playing Cities in Dust, my favorite Siouxsie and the Banshees song.

I was able to catch up with Ian, and we had a great conversation about the nature of this party. Unfortunately, a lot of club events at The Dolphin can bring in a bro crowd, the type who are pretty much total creeps to women and don’t understand personal space (clubs get crowded of course, but there is an art to using the dancefloor), I think a lot of this has to do with the location, which can’t really be remedied, and it’s a good club location.

You will see these bro guys or goth tourists as I call them, at Unknown Pleasures at least for a little bit, my friend and I experienced it last night. However, at this party, those types never stick around for very long. Ian’s words were that that demographic is used to fitting in anywhere, and when they come to this event and see the dedicated crowd of weirdos, who are in the scene for the music, they realize it’s not just any kind of club night. Ian was adamant that this can be anyone’s clubhouse as long as they are respectful to others. He is adamant that it is an inclusionary party, especially for the queer and trans community.

This event truly is. While I do love The Dolphin, I am very choosy about the nights I go to because, to be honest, the crowd can reach levels of absurdity with its disrespect for others. I have never hesitated to go to Unknown Pleasures for this reason.

It’s not a typical party you will see at this typical club. See you at the next one!

Next Up:  A Black Celebration

Extra Dark

Philly is blessed with a diverse group of talented DJ’s and producers, and Extra Dark has a knack for showcasing diverse, underground talent that this city offers. It’s no wonder though since the event is run by powerhouse trio Dentana, Stateschoolgirl and Lojit, along with varying guest DJ’s and musicians, help concoct a heavy hitting techno potion.

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Extra Dark

The guests for this edition of Extra Dark were Philly favorite, Diamond Girl, and TIM. Diamond Girl started it off way right with her set. It was chill and served as a good premonition for the night.

I never heard of Tim before this event, and I was  blown away by the deep, deep techno he played. It was incredible to see the dance floor move without any inhibitions. The entire vibe of the night was freeing.  A cool party bonus was the free tarot readings by my friend Justin. My card reading was incredibly on point.

It was pretty crowded on a Wednesday night, but this event usually has a good turnout. Dentana is an active producer and marketer of her events. She keeps in the spirit of collaboration, which is something that I think can make events more successful. While some crews do bring in guest DJ’s, Den keeps the genres of guests really eclectic. Just, for example, she had me play at an Extra Dark and my music is very different than any sort of techno (shameless self-promotion, check me out at Gravers Lane ).

Both Dentana and Stateschoolgirl are forward thinking, kind-hearted, and easy to talk to people. Part of my meter of judgment when looking for queer and trans-friendly parties is if the crew who runs it are, above all else, genuinely proactive about creating a safe and comfortable environment for everyone. Extra Dark is a stellar example of this.

Next Up: Unknown Pleasures

Spellbound with Hogwasche

 

In a time when goth nights frequently wax and wane, Spellbound is a  top contender in Philly for old-school and contemporary sounds. Running close to three years now, the mixture of live music and rotating resident DJ’s (with the occasional guest DJ) creates a unique party option.

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Spellbound with Hogwasche

Beyond the name, there is a bewitching element here for the socially progressive. The queer and POC community, along with women and other frequently marginalized groups are at the forefront. In fact, DJ Nightwitch started this party as a proactively safe space and platform for many of the lesser known female DJ’s and musical acts in the goth scene.

Although a lot of events may make the claims of “no intolerance of others, keep your hands to yourself, etc”, when push comes to shove these sentiments aren’t always put into action. Many factors play into this such as the occasional popularity contest or mega egos. However, at Spellbound if someone is making you uncomfortable, your voice will be heard.

Before I talk shop about this particular Spellbound, I want to mention our friend Casey. He has been involved in the community for a long time. From creating his own dope music to curating visuals for Void Vision and other local artists, he is a true Renaissance man. Tragically, Casey has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

For this edition of Spellbound, we had a donation jar set up for him and raised over $200 for his medical bills. Casey and his partner Michelle (of Mesh Vintage) have set up a GoFundMe page. Please give what you can. Anything is appreciated.

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Casey’s GoFundMe

 Hogwasche was the live act and style wise they could be described as industrial metal. While that is a style of music I personally have a tough time getting into, the band’s stage presence and technical skill kept even this soft goth’s attention. Nocturne legend DJ Mike Saga was the guest DJ. His energetic personality was a perfect fit for our fundraiser. He made an enthusiastic announcement towards the end of the night, imploring party people to donate what they could for Casey. Resident DJ Strykk9 and DJ Nightwitch were the perfect bookends to Mike’s throwback EBM set.

The collaborative spirit of the  Spellbound crew and genuine love for counter-culture is hard to come by these days. I seriously look forward to this every month and I’ve even had friends come out to it who aren’t part of the goth scene who have the best time. Hope to see you at the next one, we would love to dance all night with you!

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Next Up: Extra Dark

Acknowledging Club Drugging and What We Can Do Better

In my post on Soft Leather, I touched upon the frequent incidents of people getting roofied, and the responsible steps The Dolphin took in light of that information. I want to divulge more on this topic.

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The Philly club scene has a few big problems, and nonconsensual drugging is one that seems like is becoming just a normal part of the scene. This is not something any of us want. What makes it a unique problem is that it there are incidents of people being roofied with no apparent more sinister motives (I’m talking about rape). For example, at the last DSJC party a friend of mine, a cis white male, realized the next day that he had been drugged. The details of how he came to that conclusion aren’t necessary, but thank goodness he was ok and looked out for. Unfortunately, no demographic is safe from a potential sexual assault, but for the sake of context, it seemed odd for my friend to have been drugged.

The first time I witnessed this type of at random drugging was a New Years Eve awhile back. A bunch of my friends and I were at a warehouse party thrown by a responsible crew. A dear friend was with her her husband all night and got roofied. She was sick for days and did not remember her night. It turned out multiple people experienced the same thing and the general consensus was that someone was straight up going around drugging drinks rather adventitiously.

Why is this happening? Is this just another example of rape culture? I mean, yes. Though maybe not in every one of these incidents. Recreational drug use may be a part the scene, but it’s not an integral one. Is the thinking of these culprits enacting random druggings is that they are just giving a party goer a fun time? Probably not, my friends who have been roofied have had terrible comedowns and never remembered the night before. Maybe there is no solid reason (unless it is an aforementioned more sinister one).

What can venues and community members do about this problem? There are some ideas, but I’m not even sure these would be total remedies. I’m surprised to see some clubs still have community water, and it was really proactive that The Dolphin ended that practice. Other clubs should take note. Some clubs don’t seem to check bags either, and checking bags consistently is a good idea too.

Talking and opening up the conversation is one of the most important steps. It’s important that we talk about this more and come up with solutions together as a community. This is toxic behavior has no place.

How can we do better?

Next Up: Spellbound w/ Hogwasche