It’s no stereotype to say that the gay club scene is a bit too heavy on standard-grade house music. Which, if being pounded by repetitious four-on-the-floor beats for hours on end is your idea of a good time, is totally fine. You also hear no shortage of Top 40, heavily dosed with Cher and Madonna and Lada Gaga, in the District’s gay clubs.
But screw that.
Luckily, the lineup of gay nights devoted to indie rock, Britpop, disco-punk, and other alternatively minded sounds has been growing in recent years. The best is Homo/Sonic, a regular dance night at the Black Cat that’s become the most fertile meeting ground for gay hipsters you’ll find in this town.
“The idea is that there’s a lot more to dance to than just dance music,” explains Zack Rosen, who co-hosts and DJs at Homo/Sonic, and runs the website The New Gay. The party started three years ago as a low-key LGBT hangout at Solly’s; it was a trans-inclusive, straight-friendly board-game fest with great tunes to boot, but not strictly a dance party. The event slowly grew until the DJs at Mousetrap, a now-defunct indie-pop dance night at the Black Cat, asked Rosen to join forces to provide an alternative to Capital Pride events in 2008. The collaboration took off, and Homo/Sonic eventually made its way up to the Black Cat’s mainstage.
Underground-savvy hosts Rosen, his partner Michael Eichler, and DJ Natty Boom drop ass-shaking tracks that you won’t find at a typical Dupont hangout. “It’s not all Madonna, Christina Aguilera, and Lady Gaga, and it’s not that thumping stuff that all kind of sounds alike,” Rosen says. “There are actual songs people really like, and there’s no reason those shouldn’t be brought to the club.”
True to its mission, Homo/Sonic emphasizes LGBT artists, which means that on a given night, you might hear a remix of U.K. post-punkers Bloc Party or get down with the kings of mope, The Magnetic Fields. There are occasional curve balls. “If you play Elvis’ ‘Burning Love’ at a big, booming queer dance party, it’s surprising in some ways and people really like that,” Rosen says.
Due to a reporting error, the article originally misidentified Natty Boom.