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

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[●°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

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

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 post 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 kind of parties.

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

Soft Leather Philadelphia 5.24

Walking into The Dolphin Tavern this past Wednesday, I realized it had been a long time since I have been there. A lot of good changes have been made to the venue.

To touch upon the controversy surrounding a high amount of people being drugged at The Dolphin, I will say this. The Dolphin did have a large percentage of these incidents, but they are not the only clube where this happens. No venue is immune from rape culture/crappy people, but the staff at The Dolphin have clearly made changes to combat nonconsensual club drugging.

The bar has been moved against the wall rather than being placed in the middle of the space with all sides open. This not only optimizes space, but leaves less room for shenanigans. The community water is gone and the bartenders were as attentive as always.  I applaud The Dolphin staff for doing what their part in creating a safer space.

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Soft Leather Philadelphia 5.24

Soft Leather is a techno/fetish night. I have never been to an event quite like this before, but I had a few expectations. What I was not expecting was how insane Wassup Gina is as a DJ. I have a few female DJ’s who are hold close to my heart and Wassup Gina is on my list now. I was expecting Genitorturers type music (which I personally always found a bit cheesy) but naah. The music was hard hitting and high end techno. Big ups to Sweat Daddy too. Both DJ’s did not skip a beat with the energy they were bringing.

The night started off unusually slow but Philly usually starts partying late. I left a little after midnight when it was getting crowded. The weather has been dreary and this was a party for a niche group, so I think that was a factor to a slow start. That did not stop the DJ’s from playing bangers, and the few people who were on the dance floor were tearing it up.

Even when the club did start filling up, the crowd remained considerate of other people and their space. The event had a disclaimer about respecting one another, and disclaimers like this that get posted on event pages are an easy way to promulgate the type of party you want. Soft Leather did a great job in facilitating a consensual and open minded party. While I have had some pretty lamentable experiences with crowds at certain parties at The Dolphin before, Soft Leather was a breath of fresh air and I hope this party comes back to Philly soon.

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Next Up: DJSC//Trieves 15 

Combichrist and the Subject of Social Responsibility

The other night I made a brief statement on Facebook about the news surrounding Combichrist and their blatant racism and violent sexism, I would like to expand on my thoughts today. The video below was played during the final moments of the Ad·ver·sary and Antigen set at Festival Kinetik 5.0. Ad·ver·sary has been very open with his criticism of Combichrist and Nachtmahr, two bands that he was opening for at this fest.

You can see the video here.

Combichrist was my unfortunate first exposure to the Industrial scene back when I was a little baby bat. I learned quickly that Throbbing Gristle and Einstürzende Neubauten slayed, but I never got super into the industrial scene (aside from listening to the music) because I felt a strong machismo vibe. I didn’t feel this vibe just from music videos or articles I read, but from face to face interactions with a lot of rivetheads at the time (the early aughts for clarification).

Some industrial musicians seem to find themselves teetering on the fine line of strictly just fascism aesthetic (Laibach) to actual nazi sympathizing…which brings me to the Combichrist controversy.

While I am not surprised that a mainstream and macho band like Combichrist has racist and sexist members (you can see examples in the Festival Kinetik video, I don’t want give publicity to them on here), what I am surprised by and happy to see is artists who are calling out other artists on this nonsense and holding them publicly accountable. There is a lot of forward thinking that is present these days in various subsets of the goth scene. I think it is part of the reason why there has been a great revival of the Philly goth life these past few years.

I have been involved in the scene for over a decade as a spectator, party goer, musician, promotor, and lover of the community. As a very recently out lesbian with a fiancée who is a trans woman (NOTE: Trans women ARE women), community acceptance is just as crucial as cultivating a safe space for party goers. We are already weirdos and isn’t that what brought us to the goth subculture in the first place? There has been a big influx of women, LGBQT, and people of color (though I would like to see more people of color in the scene, it’s unfortunately often whitewashed) bringing in some essential new music, art, and events in the scene. More people these days are telling not only artists, but other community members, to take ownership for discriminatory behavior and demanding that they do better. Standing up for the more ostracized (by society’s standards) members of the scene is just one more step towards a better world.

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Next Up: Soft Leather Philadelphia 5.24

Blue Sunday//Goth Brunch

Blue Sunday//Goth brunch is held once a month at Dock Street Brewery in West Philly. Though it’s just in its third month, it continues to bring in a great crowd. Everyone loves brunch and brunch even makes goths smile. Besides these factors, I think the specific crowd it brings in is what’s  really crucial.

The event was started by DJ Nightwitch (who is also the promoter and resident DJ for Spellbound, my favorite goth night). I’ll get into more details about that magical party in another post, but the crowd she brings in is a great mixed demographic of young and old goths who bring a lot of forward thinking and genuine sweetness into the mix.

Blue Sunday//Goth Brunch event page

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DJ Nightwitch and Littlespacey both have a talent for playing the right songs at the right time. In a city with a pretty massive amount of DJ’s, DJ Nightwitch truly stands out not just for her taste, but her intrinsic ability to mix.

Littlespacey runs another monthly, Unknown Pleasures, at The Dolphin with Ian Galloway and she played a really killer set, including some the classics. You really can never go wrong with classic goth rock on a Sunday afternoon..

As much as the goth club scene is my jim jam, a spooky event like this serves as a great weekend palate cleanse from the club life. It’s also great way to make new friends while eating eggs and listening to Sisters of Mercy. I myself enjoyed a very crisp Summer Haze IPA.

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#tropicgoth

Next Up: Rizumu 15yrs/27hrs