I looked up to see Guncle, the adorable Cerberus of the Gotham night smiling through his almost decadent scarf covering his nose & mouth. His eyes belied a huge grin as I passed my ticket up to the booth for his review and after an embrace I changed into my costume and checked my bag. The theme for the evening was a stunning mix of dystopia, cyberpunk, post-apocalypse & a general techy layered on top of the already beautiful Red Lotus Room.
This event was the brainchild of one of the less flamboyant members of the Burning Man camp and their first solo affair as a camp. With their previous track record, some were nervous about how such an “advanced” theme would turn out. I had no doubt in my mind of its eventual smashing success. The space was covered in tech/cyber/punk/new world kitsch, lit gorgeously and even had reminders of the Burner values dressed in a severe Orwellian vibe, a homage to the books, movies & music that inspired our collective Hope & Fear of the future. Digital Native emphasizes that events should have a strong art component and not just be dance parties, to the delight of myself and the hundreds of other attendees.
The space had a cavernous feel to it, and the attendees were dressed in all of their best glowing, spiky & leather finery. The people who attended the event really knocked it out of the park. The camp also posted inspirational photographs of costume ideas for weeks before the event and as I weaved through the pockets of faux androids, steampunk gladiators, femme fatales, straight-up jedi, the stilted, kinky & gothy, it seemed the crowd had done its homework.
The Electric Candy Couture was out in force and was exceptionally well received. The custom made and designed costumes and jewelry always go over well and it was quite lovely to stand behind a guy with a glowing spinal cord while waiting for my drink. The main space was quite large and if you were persistent/clever enough, you could find the upstairs that held another area of sound, a bar, some comfortable couches and the ever important extra bathroom. Additionally the smoking area had a firepit and lent itself quite nicely to conversation, even with the occasional shushing that took place for the good of everyone involved. I loitered outside for only a moment, as DJ Mysti had returned to the decks after a brief hiatus and boy was there much rejoicing going on at her return.
I’ve been following DJ Mysti ever since she spun a tiny warehouse day party in Philadelphia back in 2011 for a few good friends of mine. Her signature sound, a deep, techy house that’s lush and groovy has evolved over time. getting better at each gig. She’s made a name for herself in the Gotham underground and her performance was proof as to why. There was an ominous but energetic feel to her set and as she tailored her time behind the decks to both the space and the inhabitants of the main room, you could see her slip right into her element, giving the people what they wanted and several other beat & bass related things they didn’t know they wanted until they heard them.
The space lent itself quite nicely to the use of glow poi, hoops and other flow toys. The athletic & flexible peeps were out in force and they were given prime real estate on the stage in front of the DJ booth or the crowd made room for them to do what they needed to on the floor. The night was still young and while Mysti finished up her set in the main room, I headed upstairs to catch one of my new DJ fascinations here in the city, DJ Dopeshoes.
Her style is hard to describe but perfectly matched the ambiance of the room. She pulls together some of the best aspects of synthpop, garage, tech house & whatever else she’s feeling at the moment. There’s a soulfulness that matches some fantastic track selection and a dedication to providing a complete aural atmosphere that evokes strong feelings of Burial in the listener. With the combination of costumes, beats and the specific deco of the upstairs, I felt as if I was dancing in some hyper-trendy loft apartment or tiny lounge in the city somewhere. And then I was reminded as the guy in the vest poured signature cocktails, the too future costumes pulsed around me, fabulous lighting bathed the space and the beats oozed from the speakers, I was already in a place that cool. I sipped my locally-brewed beer and began my 90 min oscillation between DJ Dopeshoes with her soulful techy house & the Baron of the big room, DJ Pony himself. He’d assumed command of the main system and was pushing out his signature deep, sexy PonyStep (all rights reserved). The techy darkness of the event was apparent in his set as he’d predicted and the main room floor swelled to epic proportions. Tom Egan captured the neo-Dionysian attitude inside the cavernous space, seen below.
After heading up and down the same set of stairs an embarrassingly large number of times, whiteowljaguar took the stage and carried the crowd through the rest of the night with a dark & delicious blend of house, techno and some garage-y beats that I could not have been more pleased by. In case you missed it in the preview, a sample of what whiteowljaguar had in store for us is below. The night ended sweetly, after being shaken & stirred by the show Digital Native put on. I can’t wait to see what’s next and hopefully, I’ll see you there.
This is Terry Gotham, see you on the dance floor.
All pictures used with permission by Thomas Egan Photography