The Soft Moon / Boy Harsher at Johnny Brenda’s

Boy Harsher has become one of my favorite new dark electronic groups. I was so stoked to see they were coming to Philadelphia and, unusual for myself, I bought tickets in advance. Good thing I did since the show sold out.

The Soft Moon / Boy Harsher at Johnny Brenda’s

I like Johnny Brenda’s as a show venue, mostly for the booking they do. The space may be a bit small and the sound can seem muffled, but I’ve seen many of my favorite artists here. The spot holds some major nostalgia for me.

Boy Harsher started their set promptly and they absolutely slaaayed. They began with “Underwater“, my second favorite song of theirs and continued on with all the best ones, including “Modulations“. Unfortunately, it felt like their set was much too short. However, as a frequent opener myself, I know how it goes.

When The Soft Moon took the stage, the audience became absolutely mesmerized. They are one of those bands that I have heard about a lot, but haven’t really ‘heard’ before.  Their overall sound was a dreamy nod to Depeche Mode.

My favorite part of the night was seeing so many of my wonderful friends. Late stage capitalism combined with mercury being in retrograde has made life a little tough right now. It’s nice to be part of a community of people who are genuinely sweet and look out for one another. It was really special to see my friends Casey and Michelle. Casey has been battling pancreatic cancer for a bit now. He and his wife Michelle have been fighting it with grace and unfaltering strength. If you can, please donate to their GoFund Me. Thank you!

 

Next Up: Underworld / Our Annual Cure Night / Free Event

February Itinerary

Are you ready for February? There are so many amazing events happening this month. Ya better shine those dancing shoes.

Events will be added as the month progresses.

February 2nd

February 3rd

February 5th

February 6th

February 7th

February 8th

February 9th

February 10th

February 15th

February 16th

February 17th

February 19th

February 21st

February 22nd

February 23rd

February 24th

February 28th

Next Up: Wingtips / Technophobia / Plastic Ivy / DJ Shari Vari at Lacquer

 

 

 

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

You have to go to Vacation Beach. Held monthly at Ortlieb’s, resident DJ’s Teknacolor NinjaWolf Dem, and KT Caustic create an apocalyptic tropicgoth, vacationwave soundscape that’s 100% interactive. It’s not your typical party which is exactly what Philly nightlife needs right now.

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Vacation Beach 006

The first hour of Vacation Beach featured a dope dance clinic with Philly Beat Rockers. Party fellows got a free dance lesson via Dr. Moose and B-Boy Spit. Fresh and entertaining and created a very easy going environment. There were interactive visuals which is one of the neatest things I have ever seen at a nightlife event. Curated by Justin Evans, the visuals, added tardigrade, raccoons and other creatures heads to your body if you were on the dancefloor. Some of my friends got up close to the projection and got wild with it. It was a fun and clever way to loosen up the crowd.

Musically, Vacation Beach was a breath of fresh air for me. I love me some dark goth techno, but I think we can all appreciate that booty shaking beats and jungle sounds are what we really need. Each DJ worked seamlessly with one another. Teknacolor DJ is a force on her own. She also served as an MC for the night which I loved as well. Wolf Dem and KT Caustic equally blew my mind. The community feeling of Vacation beach is special. It’s not a vibe of the DJ playing the music, and you are the spectator. It felt like we all had roles in putting this party together. HIGHLY recommended party, and very LGBTQ friendly. The primary crew is mostly non-cis men. A diverse crew like that is a wonderful way to elevate non-cis male voices in the nightlife scene. We all have a place here.

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TFNJ w. Brian Creswell, Sarahcuda, Decosoul

Yooooo. It has been a very long time since I went to That Friday Night Jawn by the LEFT RITE crew and this party was huge. Unfortunately, I missed out on Sarahcuda (one of my favorite Philly female DJ’s) and Decosoul but luckily I caught Brian Creswell’s insane set. Heavy banging techno with a darker vibe was his M.O. and the whole room danced so hard. TFNJ is upstairs at Kung Fu Necktie. I got there around 12:30 and it was packed. The happiest moment for me was seeing literally almost all of my techno/house friends. Feels like I can’t say it enough that the sound investment Left Rite has made shows a high amount of professionalism and true love for the nightlife. They are playing a crucial role in this community and cultivate an all-inclusive and drama-free party. If you haven’t checked out a Left Rite party yet, put it on the top of yr bucket list.

Going to two amazing events on Friday was worth my Saturday exhaustion. I decided to take November off from drinking for a few reasons. I’m going to write a post on that in a bit. So far it hasn’t been the worst, though it has been interesting.

Next Up: Guest Blog: Nace Phlaux of Phillygoth

Rizumu Presents Voiski

A lot of hearts were heavy when rizumu lost its old location at 52hz. Though far out in West Philly, it was accessible, and the environment rang true to the underground techno scene. However, the new location in Center City brought such party bliss, and not just because it’s at a yoga studio.

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Rizumu presents Voiski 

This was one of the few parties I managed t get to this September, and one of the best parties I have been too in a long time. Sean Thomas is just one of the many talented people in the crew who throw these true parties, and he did an amazing job manning the door and DJing into the early morning. His genuine sweetness is a rare trait, and every rizumu member carries this type of personality. It’s why you feel that joy as soon as you come to an event.

So yes, the new location is in Center City, but the crowd that was drawn to it was legit. The new location is up many flights of stairs. I do not suggest wearing giant platforms, as I did, but otherwise, the walk up is not the worst at all it’s good for the glutes! Rizumu also gives out free water, which is a thoughtful and essential gift for that rave life. Tantrum Tonic and Rudy Kardos (who is part of the crew) started the night out chill as ever. It’s amazing how Tantrum Tonic plays some of the smoothest downtempo, that still makes you want to move. Rudy’s choices created a beautiful mix throughout the set. My buddy Speaking Parts played another insane set. True acid lovers should be following him closely as he continues to keep blowing up here in Philly. Voiski was on after, and I managed to stay for some of his set before I had to dip. Sean Thomas B2B with M//R was on last. Although I missed them, obviously you know they played that good good. Big ups to Left Rite for providing their INCREDIBLE sound reinforcement. ❤

I ran into someone today who had been at the party, and he mentioned how the party got so packed that people were waiting to get in. Despite all the other bars and clubs in Center City, it’s nice to hear that people are lining up to get into a rizumu party, and you know it’s people who are dedicated to the music. I am so thrilled how strong rizumu remains in the scene. This is the party we need.

Next Up: Nightdrive//No Boyfriends

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

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