For those looking for something away from the usual gay bars, the growth of a queer clubbing underground has multiplied exponentially in the past few years. Channeling the hedonism of vintage Folsom Street and the spirit of the Paradise Garage, the burgeoning scene takes sounds from across genres and eras, from the bygone days of Fire Island disco to the squelching basslines of Detroit techno and Chicago acid house.
While the underground American queer club scene is being led by crews like Honey Soundsystem in San Francisco, Honcho in Pittsburgh and Wrecked in New York, the UK scene has become a hotbed of fresh ideas and even fresher sounds. London’s status as the preeminent clubbing locale of the country with a variety of parties and collectives, in particular, still rings true.
On paper some of the offerings can sound like they came straight out of a Stefon sketch on Saturday Night Live, but there’s no doubt their music, atmospheres and crowds are a whole new world for those seeking a switch-up in their queer nightlife routine. This list of a few of the city’s finer offerings are merely an appetiser to the rich scene that queer artists have been cultivating, as there’s no shortage of quality dips into the nightlife underground just waiting to be discovered.
Horse Meat Disco
No list of queer clubbing in London would be complete without the Eagle’s Sunday night staple. For the uninitiated, the foursome comprises James Hillard, Jim Stanton, Luke Howard, and Severino, who dig deep into the wells of nightlife’s past for the dance floor heaters of yesteryear. The quartet has hit critical mass over the last few years beyond the throes of its London home thanks to a regular residency at New York’s Output nightclub and performances alongside big-room daddies like Claude VonStroke. Still, if you somehow haven’t made it out to where the magic started, you owe it to yourself to do so.
More info available from here.
KAOS presents The Rite of Spring
Underground warehouse vibes abound at this monthly Electrowerkz London institution. Running in various forms for nearly 15 years, KAOS has kept things gritty with soundscapes bringing together everything from crushing hardware techno to post-industrial rhythms, so put on your hard-hat. The event’s posters—designed by founder Lee Adams (who also performs as a resident DJ under the name Choronzon)—channel a macabre gothic vibe, succinctly summing up KAOS’s “we’re not in Kansas anymore” ethos. Catch KAOS Presents Right of Spring (featuring Sophie Coletta, Vittorio Di Mango, A/Ona, and Choronzon) on April 1.
Tickets available from here.
Having just celebrated its second birthday at Dalston Superstore this past February, TUSK is poised to continue its bimonthly smasher for iterations to come. Residents Ant C, Chris Camplin and James Baillie have kept the lineups fresh for each instalment, which have even hosted house and techno purveyors Ewan Pearson, Andrew Weatherall and Luke Solomon.
This one’s got a sound for all ears, with the harder styles of acid house and techno dominating the downstairs while dubs and disco keep things grooving on the second floor. Keep your eyes peeled for the TUSK boys’ next outing, which should be coming this spring.
More info on TUSK available from here.
Described as “London’s answer to Berghain,” Bloc’s monthly sweat-show has become a hallmark of the city’s underground gay offerings. Founded by revellers Morgan Clements, Charlie Porter and Dan Beaumont, Chapter 10 brings hard-edged techno and house to the masses while wearing its queer identity fully on its sleeve. The party’s past performers list reads like a who’s who of the greater global queer techno scene, with Midland, Honey Dijon, Prosumer, and DJ Sprinkles all having taken to the party’s decks in the past few years.
Interested in heading out in the next few weeks? You’ve got two options: March 25’s Chapter Femme featuring all-female and non-binary collective SIREN or April 16’s Easter Rave with as-of-yet unannounced guests and Porter + Beaumont.
More info available from here.