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

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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!

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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

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

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

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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!

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Next Up: Combichrist and the Subject of Social Responsibility