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.

19105587_10213771231774498_4383726553909683444_n.jpg

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

 

19399434_1505426762865680_5087396623452328999_n.jpgInfrared

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

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.

18423894_1563893567018022_4120400351175802275_n.jpg

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

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.

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 6.32.23 PM

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

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.

17629835_1282055395163521_477210471318909181_n.jpg

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

17155607_10100435097868016_395256130265616428_n

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.

 18670935_10211260907952004_2322793831396167290_n.jpg18740490_10100435790475026_2140996203665826530_n

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.

18222289_1200723403370732_7759123658018081231_n.jpg

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.

18671218_1217440601699012_1484772104750920981_nPhoto Credit: Molly Ace

Next Up: DJSC//Trieves 15 

Rizumu 15yrs/27hrs

Rizumu is a 15 year running (which is HUGE in a city where most things that are cool do not last very long or do not stay cool for very long… sorry Mad Decent Block Party ¯\_(ツ)_/¯), after hours party that, up until recently, was held at 52hz in West Philly. Rizumu is known for bringing in local DJ’s and Producers, as well as the big name DJ’s who come with that that proper techno. Adam X and Andrey Pushkarev are just two of the many huge talents that have come through.

Rizumu 15yrs/27hrs

16640668_1335503983172978_6834220046789759955_n

Here is another party that I believe has been so successful in the underground scene because of the crew who runs it and the people it draws in. Promotors and DJ’s Sean Thomas, Jacob Herschel, and Rudy Kardos have cultivated one of the safest and highly music based techno after hours party in Philadelphia, with some incredible visual art collaborations. to boot. Rizumu is adamant about providing a welcoming space for everyone. Women, people of color, the LGBQT community, this crew knows techno can bring us all together and they do an amazing job facilitating that truth.

When you think of the term “rave” the first thing you may think of is images of glo-sticks and kandi. This is not the case here. Rizumu is a crew so focused on music that the demographic you will see at a party are true techno heads, young and old, who passionately will dance until the morning light.

I have fond memories of the anniversary last year, and I was not disappointed (though I had no doubts) about this year being a banger. The start of the party was on Saturday night, which I unfortunately did not get out to this year. I was bummed about missing a performance from Cienfuegos, but ayyyy. The continuing festivities the next day at Glendinning Rock Garden were perfect though. The weather was incredible and nothing beats listening to techno in nature. Everyone seemed relaxed and happy, just the vibe I would expect from this party. My only wish is that Rizumu would throw more park parties. Luckily, a lot of crews utilize that space too, and we are entering park party season again.

Happy Anniversary Rizumu!

18581841_1436028126453896_832513640768757734_n

Next Up: Combichrist and the Subject of Social Responsibility