A strobe light pulses through smoke so thick you can taste it. The ceilings are high and the concrete flooring has the sound booming in catatonic swells across the room. LSDXOXO’s False Idols, essentially a donk remix of Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus, drops with a familiar, shallow bounce.
As a Brit Abroad, it’s surreal to hear a sound that languished as a Blackpool curio for a decade pumping out at one of the most respected clubs in New York City, but both LSDXOXO and Physical Therapy are all about subverting dance music’s reputation for po-faced solemnity. Strange too that it feels as though this could be an industrial unit in South Bermondsey or a free-party full of jaded ravers in Hackney Wick… except here there are plants everywhere, furniture chosen for plush permanence and the toilets all have doors on.
This is Nowadays, the Bushwick venue that opened its (in)doors just over a year ago, run by Misters Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter of Saturday Night fame. Tonight it’s in the throws of one of its weekly ‘Rave’ nights (Friday is ‘Party’ night and Sunday is simply ‘Sunday’). A multifunctional space as useful to the local population of young families as it is to New York City’s party cravers, the duality is at once disconcerting and welcoming. The fast breaks and deconstructed club trax spun by Allergy Season honcho Daniel Fisher and his guest add another layer of sensory overload for the first-timer.
In full swing the dancefloor is dense but spacious, a varied representation of New York party-goers scattered among the heady murk. The place prides itself on sound and, while the Japanese Listening Bar experience intended hardly springs to mind, there’s considerable heft behind the twisted curveballs flung by both DJs.
It’s used most fully when the pair go tune-for-tune at the night’s giddy crescendo. Their respective ammo is, at its heart, strange, but perhaps due to their shared history with New York institution GHE20G0TH1K everything feels almost seamless. Both deserve their positions as respected harbingers of these wild club sounds and tonight both show why they are so sought-after.