Honey Soundsystem’s party with Berlin producer Stefan Goldmann at Club Six this past Friday was a bit disappointing, attendance-wise, for reasons I suspect having to do with it being in competition with Gentleman’s Techno as well as the location of Club Six, but the music was stellar, in a space that was almost perfect for evoking the vibe of a Berlin techno club.
The boyfriend and I arrived around 10, during Ken Vulsion’s set. He laid down some solid four-on-the-floor acid tracks, including some stuff that I suspect was first issued a decade ago, but it still sounded fresh and engaging, and was some of the best techno I’ve heard since his set at FSLD last month. Unfortunately, I don’t think there were more than fifty people in the club at the time to hear it. When Jason Kendig came on around midnight and dug into some deeper, Detroit-style techno, there was a small dancefloor of about twenty or thirty people, but not nearly the kind of crowd I had expected.
Some of the issue may have been with the party taking place at Club 6, which does not have the best reputation in the club world, mainly because it’s on Sixth Street, and is generally unfamiliar territory for many of the gay boys who make up the core of the Honey Soundsystem constituency. I hadn’t been there for several years myself, but the downstairs space was just about perfect, with plenty of lounge areas off the main dancefloor and a really fabulous sound system. There was the matter of the $8 well drinks, but I would be happy to check out more parties there.
The boyfriend and I took off around 12.30 after getting a text from our friend J, who we met up with over at The Stud, so we missed out on Goldmann’s set. I’m hoping that more folks showed up after we left, but when we got over to The Stud, which was hosting Lucky Pierre, we found a small crowd there as well, leading us into endless speculation about the state of the club scene. It does seem that there is a much smaller audience for DJ-oriented nights these days, such that if you have two techno events on the same night, one winds up cannibalizing the audience for the other. But, in general, it also seems that that the comment made by Joshua J in a conversation we had several weeks ago holds true, that people generally go to a party not necessarily because of the music, but because of the kind of scene they expect to find there, and when it comes to gay club nights, where they expect to find the kinds of guys that they are into. Any night that focuses on bringing in specific kinds of guys, whether they’re muscle boys, bears, Asians, or whatever, will always have a higher turnout, regardless of the music, than music-focused nights, because they offer a well-defined product for their consumers. Music-focused nights, on the other hand, are about appealing to a different expectation of experience, one that’s harder to sell to a sex-focused market. If HSS had advertised “hot go-go boys” or "baby oil wrestling" for the Stefan Goldmann party I have no doubt that they would have attracted more of a gay clientele, but that would have also shifted the focus of the event and made the music something that was simply there to support the prospect of sex. If focusing on the music means getting a smaller, but more enthusiastic, crowd, then I think that’s an acceptable trade-off, and I hope that groups like Honey Soundsystem will continue to bring us more music-focused events despite the somewhat discouraging attendance numbers.