Breaking down the adventurous NGV Friday Nights program, genre by genre

Breaking down the adventurous NGV Friday Nights program, genre by genre

Memphis LK
Words by Andrew Brassington

Have you ever felt nostalgia for a time and place you were never part of?

If the glittery glory days of New York’s ’80s club scene tickles your fancy, this year’s NGV Friday Nights program will be right up your alley.

To coincide with Crossing Lines, an exhibition showcasing the era-defining art of Keith Haring and Jean Michel-Basquiat, NGV are throwing a bunch of massive parties every Friday night until mid-April. Focusing on different dancefloor genres that became prominent in the ’80s, each night features two specialist DJs strutting their stuff, throwback style. Dive into the eclectic offering of genres on this season’s program with us as we explore what each night has to offer.

New Wave Experiment

Conjuring images of bright fashion and big hair, new wave is perhaps the easiest genre here to define. Emphasising catchy grooves and a desire to be trashy and loud, it took the artiness of punk and brought it back to the pop world. DJ extraordinaire Beth Grace will pull out her collection of lost classics from the bottom of the dollar bin as she smashes the decks on New Wave night. It’s happening on Friday March 13.

Dub, Drums and New York Disco

You might be familiar with Lori from her amazing work on Skylab Radio or vocal collaborations with Hiatus Kaiyote, but her genesis goes much deeper than that. Jumping into the sonic abyss, she isn’t confined by genres and spins everything weird and wonderful. You’ll hear plenty of funky dub tracks, the close cousin to reggae, but the night doesn’t stop there. Later on, Whiskey Houston will turn it up to 11, seamlessly blending the tunes further into disco territory. It’s happening on Friday March 20.

Only Disco

You’ve heard of The Bee Gees, and yes you probably know ‘Heart Of Glass’, but those disco classics barely scratch the surface. CLIFTONIA will open the disco night, transporting audiences straight back to the grimy sweat-soaked dancefloors of New York’s 1980s heyday. Shedding light on disco’s more soulful side, Memphis LK will also be there, crafting a specialist set like no other. It’s happening on Friday March 27.

Soul Disco

Each week’s programming blends really well into the next along the deep, dark yellow brick road to the ’80s nightclub. Continuing the disco trend, boogie your way down to funkier Italo and house cuts from Nicole Misha, all the way from Detroit. Earlier in the night, you can expect to hear a more left-field selection of tracks coming from DJ Manchild. A festival regular, DJ Manchild tends to mix his disco knowledge with that of traditional gospel and African records, among others. It’s happening on Friday April 3.

New Wave Synth

From New Wave to No Wave. Polar opposites in a sense, no wave chooses to rebel against the sleek consumeristic culture of new wave, experimenting with noise and dissonance. There’s more of a focus on percussion and less on catchy hooks. Raudie McLeod, a Melbourne based producer and DJ better known as River Yarra, knows a lot more about the genre than the average Joe, and he’ll be throwing down a cacophonous set of its angular tunes. If that’s not your thing, YO! MAFIA will be whipping out the dancefloor-ready new wave hits, filled with the beautiful sounds of dated synthesizers and drum machines. It’s happening on Friday April 10.

Minimal Wave/Garage

Taking the brash synths and electronic instrumentation of New Wave, Minimal Wave does exactly what the name suggests, turning everything down a notch. Bidding farewell to the exhibition, Toni Yotzi will pull out a sweet set of unknown minimal wave jams. Legend of the scene DJ JNETT will also put on her party hat to close it all out and pay tribute to the funky house and disco tunes that would fill the iconic Paradise Garage discotheque in New York City before its closure in 1987. It’s happening on Saturday April 11.

NGV Friday Nights is on every Friday night until Friday April 13. Book your tickets and find out more here