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 their 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 of music, entertainment, and love. Places where anyone can come in 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: Drums Like Machine Guns / Security / Plastic Ivy + DJ Speaking Parts

 

Spellbound with Kontravoid

This months Spellbound was very special for me. Last August was the first time I ever attended, and it was the first time I met my fiancee. Super cute, I know. Every Spellbound is spectacular, but this one had some extra cool stuff. Ayy.

 

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Spellbound with Kontravoid

Kontravoid hails from Toronto, Canada and brings a fresh sound to harder electronic synth music. I was happy to see the crowd size for this one. Everyone was moving to the music. The energy he brought to the stage was a cool sight to see. DJ Strykk9 expressed how therapeutic it was to dance to his set. I agree wholeheartedly.

It was all resident DJ’s this time. Strykk9, Shari Vari, and Nightwitch were great as always. I was especially into Strykk9’s set this time. He played some non EBM surprises. Those choices really sat well within his mix. I will definitely say the Strykk9 has opened me up to a lot more industrial and EBM that I was unaware of.

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Metal Reign was vending and the products were beautiful. I was a little cash poor on Saturday, but I definitely plan on making some purchases from the etsy shop. The necklaces were out of control.

Spellbound is quickly closing in on it’s three year anniversary. I am looking forward to seeing the growth of this party.

Up Next: The Shakedown: Residents

[●°INDUSTRIAL_PICNIC°●]

Club events and shows are always fun to go to, and are a great way to facilitate a lot of authentic friendships. Some of my closest friends I met at whichever random goth night are people I would invite to my wedding. While these types of events are fun and keep the scene alive, it’s cool to get a group of like minded individuals together in a different environment, hence Industrial Picnic

 

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Industrial Picnic

Industrial Picnic was born from Jernike Whitman, who also models as Nike Bonez. I was happy to able to talk to her about her idea for this. She wanted a lowkey, relaxed setting where members community could get together to talk and hang. The two of us have had some pretty deep conversations, especially during the whole Combichrist fiasco, about problems in the scene. Hearing Jernike’s input has been eye opening. As a mixed race woman, I know she has experienced sexism and racism within the goth/industrial/EBM scene. She also believes that discussion and deep bonds are the way to combat that ugliness.

The picnic was held at Race Street Pier and it was a beautiful and sunny day. I truly thought the location was on point. Being surrounded by water is a very important nature connection for people. Though the temperature was hot, the area provided some good shady spots. Many of faces I did not recognize, but everyone was friendly and welcoming, and amount of snacks and drinks that people brought made my stomach smile because I just, really, really love food. Jernike and Evan (Spellbounds own bby DJ Strkk9) had a great idea and ran with it. It makes me happy to see people thinking outside of the box in ways to keep this scene going and I hope their are more events like this, especially when the weather is still ideal.

Next Up: Spellbound with Kontravoid

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). The space itself is solid. 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 at any show he has performs at.

I was first exposed to IXVLF as one third of WORT, so I was already aware of his musician 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 real 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 upmost 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 a 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 anyones 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 it’s 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 for a Wednesday night, but this event usually has a good turnout. Dentana is an active producer and marketer for her events. She keeps in spirit of collaboration, which is something that I think can make an 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 judgement 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

Spellbound is my most loved party, and an inspiration for this blog. Held monthly at Voltage lounge, it incorporates live acts and Spellbound crew and guest DJ’s. The crowd is a mixed demographic of young and older goths. People tend to dress up more for this party so you see an eclectic group of goths.

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Spellbound with Hogwasche

This is one of those parties that has a certain magical vibe about it. What I love about it is that, unlike a lot of parties, queer people, POC’s, women, etc. are in the forefront. The tolerance level is high for different demographics. DJ Nightwitch started this party almost three years ago and she is very in tune to throwing a socially progressive event for everyone.

What makes this party different from many events in the city is that it proactively is a safe space. A lot of parties may have a disclaimer of sorts that says “no intolerance, positive vibes, etc.”, but when push comes to shove I have found that those words aren’t always put into action. It’s true that some bad apples can show up at any party, but when you go to Spellbound you know you can let someone know if a person is making you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

Before I begin to talk about this particular Spellbound, I want to mention our friend Casey. He is someone who has been involved in the community for a long time. He has done visuals for Void Vision, just as one example, and has sadly has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. For this edition of Spellbound, we had a donation jar set up for him and raised $212. Casey and his partner Michelle (of Mesh Vintage) have set up a Go Fund Me. Please give what you can and share:

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Casey’s Go Fund Me

The live act was Hogwasche, and they were what I would describe as industrial metal. While that genre of music isn’t really my thing, Hogwasche put on a great show and the crowd was into it. Guest DJ Mike Saga is the best. I first was introduced into the wonder of Mike back in the Nocturne days (R.I.P.). He is an entity of his own and the way he has marketed himself is really brilliant. Despite his larger than life persona, he is totally sweet and down to earth. Resident DJ’s Strykk9 and Nightwitch always play amazing and eclectic sets and this time was no different.

I love the collaborative spirit of Spellbound and it’s a party I look forward to every month. I’ve had friends come out to it who aren’t part of the goth scene, or have never been to this particular party before, and have given rave reviews on the spirit of this event. We would love for you to share in the experience too!

See ya next month!18947071_10154472628926496_829100385_o

Next Up: Extra Dark

Acknowledging Club Drugging and What We Can Do Better

When I went to Soft Leather last week, I touched upon the frequent incidents of party goers getting roofied, and the responsible steps The Dolphin took in light of that information. I want to divulge more into 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 their are incidents pf people being roofied with no apparent more sinister motives (I’m talking about rape y’all). 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 that they are just giving a party person a fun time? Probably not, my friends who have been roofied have had terrible come downs 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 with Hogwasche