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

 

Underworld / Our Annual Cure Night / Free Event

Though I tend to keep pretty local, I decided to head to Brooklyn to check out The Cure night at St. Vitus. All my preconceived notions of partying in New York City have been thrown in the trash because I met some of the nicest people at this at this event.

Tonight! Underworld / Our Annual Cure Night / Free Event

NYC bars stay open until 4 a.m. (something Philly has been talking about), and I go to my fair share of afters. As a perpetual early bird, however, it felt strange getting to an event after 12. St. Vitus is all that I want in a dive bar. By the bathrooms was a votive candle rack, like what you would see in a church for blessings, and upside down crosses everywhere. While the decor itself may sound cheesy, it was very well done and not lame. The dancing area was a perfect size with crisp and not overbearingly loud sound.

Overall vibes were amazing. People were friendly and genuine in a really refreshing way.  Some flirtiness happened to me and my friend throughout the night, but it was nothing disrespectful or over the top. Our coats were still there on the rack when we left-I make this point because there have a been a few times lately where I have had things stolen at Philly venues. Small things, but still.

Another note I want to make is that nobody was getting so messed up that it imposed on anyone’s night. Overall the environment was lowkey. My only small complaint is that I wished the DJ’s (who were all sooo good) had added a little more variety between The Cure songs.

I look forward to coming to this event again, y’all should come too.

 

Next Up: April Itinerary

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

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