Transmission – a Dark Danse Party 

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.

Next Up: June Itinerary

 

Wonderlust w/ Mr. Falcon, Aziz, and The Wonder Bars (DJ Set)

Sociable Witch I may be, but it’s not often I find myself going out on a weeknight. However, I had to make an exception for this event. The Wonder Bars have a special place in my heart, as does Mr. Falcon. Transparency is key and I am happy to say I have been good friends with The Wonder Bars frontman, Tom Scott since high school (we old). Bird duo, Mr. Falcon, are my close friends too. Pro-Tip, they aren’t actually twins.

Wonderlust w/ Mr. Falcon, Aziz, and The Wonder Bars (DJ Set)

The Liaison Room at Front Street Cafe has become another favorite spot of mine. Location aside, it feels like a safe venue to attend. I got there just as Mr. Falcon went on, so I missed the first set from Aziz. The energy was high and vibes were good, and DJ’s play a major role in creating that kind of environment, ayy.

Mr. Falcon is always a treat to see. The music they play consistently stays with there sound, but you’re bound to hear new and interesting choices when they are on. Though they are passionate about the art of DJing and often play big gigs, they remain without ego. It’s refreshing to go out and see DJ’s who are excellent at the craft, but at with a genuine love of music and not strictly business.

This time The Wonder Bars were DJing, but even DJing is a performance. Some of the band members added live electronics on top of the set. This created a unique and versatile sound to an already choice set.

Every time they perform, whether as a live band or live performance, it’s always so much fun. In fact, the entire night was perfect. So perfect that I stayed out on a school night until 2 a.m. Worth it tho.

Next Up: The Soft Moon / Boy Harsher at Johnny Brenda’s

Nightdrive//No Boyfriends

 

Some of my favorite nights are the double duty ones that Kung Fu Necktie has often. It’s extra special when both the upstairs and downstairs events are BOTH killers. Night Drive and No Boyfriends were two events that merged perfectly.

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No Boyfriends is held upstairs and features resident DJ’s Diamond Girl and Tony Modica. Both are DJ’s who have been crucial to the dance music scene since way back in the Medusa Lounge days (R.I.P.). Guest DJ was Abe Dubuque, in from New York City. I was happy to run into some old friends at this one. The music was excellent from every DJ. Tony Modica has an expertise in Disco, and he mixes it well with other genres. No Boyfriends is a relatively new event, and I am excited to see how it progresses.. It’s fun!

Night Drive has been going on for a bit, and it was good to finally make it out. It’s a party featuring all the early aughts and beyond synth wave. Justice, Hot Chip, all the Ed Banger records artists, etc. The new retro wave music movement has been warming my heart for a minute now, and the nostalgia this night brought on for me was sweet. I remember playing Justice-Cross on my little radio show back in college. Knowing that there is a monthly event that caters to this scene just shows how diverse Philly nightlife really is.

Speaking of a diverse city, I checked out The 4th Annual Philadelphia Alternative Taxidermy Contest held at Ruba Club, before heading over to Kung Fu Necktie. The event was hosted by The Strange and Unusual Philadelphia, an awesome oddities shop on south street. My personal favorite taxidermy piece was this coffin squirrel.

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Of course, all of the pieces were incredible and now I absolutely want to try my hand at taxidermy. All of the contestants were extremely talented, and it was amazing to see how women dominated the competition. I can’t wait for next year!

Keep up kids, this is a spooky month with a lot of events coming up. Be sure to check out my October itinerary post as I will be updating it throughout the month.

Next Up: B2B Vacation Beach 006//TFNJ w/ Brian Creswell, Sarahcuda, Decosoul

The Shakedown: Residents

The Shakedown is a monthly event held by Worship Recordings, a label dedicated to that beautiful deep house, techno, etc. It’s an event held at The Barbary that takes up both floors. It’s very special.

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As much of a gothic as I am these days, techno and all of its relatives was my first love. While some may say the goth scene is dying, that doesn’t seem to be the case with Philly techno and house events. The thing of it is, The Shakedown, and lots of other events like Rizumu, Left Rite events, etc. are more than just a fun club thing. These crews bring the element of dedicated techno heads, who know the music and the history of this kind of music. This also resonates with the type of crowd that comes in. I admittedly was a bit nervous going to The Barbary because there have been times where the crowd that comes in has ranged from gross to scary. The Shakedown attendees were respectful of each other and came to just dance.

Willyum started the night off with deep house. It felt like a nice nod to the Deep House night that used to be held at The Barbary and I feel so old because I don’t even remember the name of that event. Next up was Rob Paine. It was really a pleasure getting to meet him and chat with him for a moment. His set was refreshing, and it was nearly impossible NOT to dance. I didn’t catch too much of Chris B’s set, but the portion I heard was dope. I had never heard of Big Jawn before this night but wow his set was extremely proper. He is definitely one of my favorite resident Shakedown DJ’s now.

As our world seemingly becomes more harrowing each day, it is extremely important that we have safe spaces for music, entertainment, and love. Places where anyone can come to dance. I don’t believe it’s ever the location that makes the difference of whether a place is safe, but the type of vibe that party crews create. The Shakedown has the right vibe.

Next Up: Rizumu Presents Voiski

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

DJSC//Trieves 15

DJSC (Depeche Mode/Joy Division-New Order/The Smiths/Cure) is an unconventional party, in the fact that it is not held at one specific venue. It’s been at Voltage Lounge, The Barbary, Silk City, etc. This was the first time it was held at Kung Fu Necktie.

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DJSC at Kung Fu Necktie

This was my first DJSC party and I was happy to see it was at Kung Fu Necktie this time. It’s one of my favorite venues as a performer and as a spectator. I rolled in a little before 11 p.m. and it was packed. In my last post I mentioned how Philly starts partying late, but I have to put my foot in my mouth with this one. It was so crowded when I got there.

As I waited to go in, I had a friendly conversation with some strangers and their positive energy set the tone for how the night was. When my foot finally got into the door, I could literally feel the energy seep into my skin. Everyone seemed so joyful, the music was killer (thank you to the DJ’s for playing some songs from my beloved’s, Siouxsie and the Banshees) and the crowd was a really interesting mix of young and old goths and punks.

A sad but true fact is when navigating in the club world, is that every woman has had the experience of being ogled, or had their space encroached upon. Though it was crowded, my fiancee and I did not feel any of these vibes. DSJC gets a 10 out of 10 for cultivating a party environment of high spirits and mutual respect.and mutual respect.

Trieves 15

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I bounced back and forth between the double duty parties at KFN last night, but I spent more time down at DSJC. However, I wanted to give a nod to Trieves 15 because the music was the techno that I love. Sean Hearn (The Magic Message) is a DJ who has been in the scene for awhile (side note, his girlfriend owns the clothing store, Toile, that has all of my dream clothing and I implore you to check it out). On a personal level, he is genuine and sweet in any interactions I’ve had. This is the type of attitude that should be celebrated in DJs, and in people. The music he was banging out was heavy in the best ways. I wasn’t familiar with Jesse Tyler before, but both DJs vibed off of each other well.

This is an interesting weekend for parties and especially electronic music parties. A lot of our friends are at Movement this weekend, and it seems like every year this ends up being a huge weekend in Philly as well. It’s hard to pick which parties to go to for sure but, besides the fun aspect, DJSC and Trieves 15 are the right kinds of parties.

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Next Up: Acknowledging Club Drugging and What We Can Do Better