You’re On The List: Michael Hennegan Counts Down The 10 Best Virtual Parties
Well, sandwich me in shortbread and call me a cookie. Was that really seven weeks?! As we come to the end of the first phase of lockdown, the Kings and Queens of going out have finally become the Kings and Queens of the Stay at Home Party. After a few bland weeks, we’ve hit peak Virtual-disco. Here’s our chart of the 10 best (plus the most outrageous) online gatherings from over lockdown, plus the ones to tune into this weekend. The only question left is what idiot called it a Lockdown Livestream and not a Disco Infurlough?
10. Fenty Social Club
Singer, Actor, Designer, business women, and all-round powerhouse Rihanna wasn’t going to let a small thing like Covid-19 stop her in her tracks of global domination. Instead the multi-hyphenate got in on the virtual party action and co-hosted the Fenty Social Club to launch the brand’s faux leather capsule collection with performances by Lil Uzi Vert, rapper Octavian and DJ sets from Kitty Ca$h, DJ Pedro and Stretch Armstrong. Boom! She’s a girl who knows you gotta work, work, work, work , work.
9. Club Quarantine
If you want fun then listen to this – Lockdown’s hottest club is Club Quarantine. The kids report that the online fest which runs every day from 9pm – 12am Sunday to Friday and from 6pm on Saturdays is all very Berghain. So, jump in and join a dance party where you’ll see twinks, gimps, grown men in dog masks and everything in between. Don’t look for a bouncer – there isn’t one. Instead the door is guarded by online questions – which if you can’t answer – then you’re not going in. Bye, gurl.
8. Zoom Orgy
One of the things which has baffled our tiny minds while on lockdown is how the nation’s frisky sorts are getting their fix. Thankfully, The Times newspaper reported that the ‘high-end’ straight swingers party Killing Kittens had gone online. Then Attitude Magazine reported that one of South London’s seedier gay clubs had tried to break the internet – or at least Zoom – with an online you-do-you, come-as-you-are orgy, with 1000 people logging in and a reported 2000 more queuing at the virtual door. We’re not entirely sure what happened on there but according to our friends in low places (actually a well-known name on the music scene) there was a lot of nakedness, a lot of erm, showing off, and couples who were isolating together putting on performances to entertain the troops. Mind blown.
7. DJ Lina Bradford
They say that out of the rubble comes a diamond – or something like that – and such is the case with the fashion set’s newest DJ crush, Lina Bradford. The New Yorker is actually something of an institution for our friends stateside having been an actress and DJ for 24 years, but who only came to our attention when one fashion editor friend pinged her into our DM’s with “Watch her – she’s MAJOR!” So, we slid into her DMs and gave her a call. “It started when a travel company asked me to do this Quarantine and Chill set,” she said. “They had a global audience that reached people that had never heard of me before.” From there booze sponsors started contacting her and now she does three sets every weekend – normally in some sort of workout gear. “My whole thing was that we gotta keep our fitness on so I’m gonna rock Biketards and make them couture,” she says. Also of note is Bradford’s insane wardrobe where she plays her sets: “you guys are just seeing a part of my dressing room” she explains. “There’s an area of Barbies, then the bags area and I have no idea how many shoes I have.” Check it out.
6. Hacienda Weekender
Hold Tight Ravers! There wasn’t a disco dinosaur of a certain age (us included) who didn’t tune in to legendary nightclub The Hacienda’s Stay at Home Rave over the Easter Weekend. Calling on DJ stalwarts such as Shaun Ryder, Graeme Park, Peter Hook and house legends Roger Sanchez, David Morales and Todd Terry. “It is our duty as Mancunians and Salfordians to look after as many people as possible in these dark, dark times,” said Peter Hook. “The original Haçienda was conceived as a home for everyone regardless of their circumstances, a place where we could all come together and enjoy ourselves in the face of adversity.’” We threw on our best 1990s clobber and went mad for it from the safety of our own front room. Anyone got a Jack n Jill?
5. Jodie Harsh House Party
Moving on to DJ, Songwriter, Entertainer, and London Nightlife Extraordinaire Jodie Harsh next who has been hosting Harsh’s House Party and transporting herself into many gays (and gals) front room over the past six weeks with her weekend sets. How long does it take to get ready every day? “Well, it still takes me two hours but I feel like I’m enjoying it a lot more’ she says, “It’s nice to have the time rather than knowing your car is coming in an hour. The make-up is no better but there you go!” She’s also just released a banger of a track ‘Filthy Rich’, which although recorded pre-Corona, “is all about being totally broke” she says. If that’s not a song for the times then what is?
4. Mark Ronson’s Love Lock Down.
Coming in strong at Number 4 is Mark Ronson’s Love Lock Down Fundraiser, if for nothing else for the sheer name power of his performers. Ain’t nobody with a little black book like Mr. Ronson. He called upon the great and the good including Miley Cyrus, Dua Lipa, A-Trak, Robyn, Peggy Gou. Mallrat and Sam Neill. Yes, the bloke better known as Dr. Alan Grant in Jurassic Park – racing to outwit Raptors and T-Rex’s than for strumming a guitar and singing the opening lines of Ronson’s ‘Uptown Funk’. Top marks to Robyn who managed to make the mirrored corner of her studio and a selfie stick work to make a very convincing music video, surely saving record companies a fortune in the lean times to come. Never has ‘Dancing On My Own’ been such an anthem.
3. Róisín Murphy
Not so much a lockdown party as a complete lockdown mood. Ms. Murphy once sang to let her know if we were lonely… We did, and she’s giving us exactly what we need right now. From full live listen (and dance along) parties to her 2007 album Overpowered to DJ sets from her front room. Murphy is not only cheering herself up, but also the 30,000 viewers who have watched it so far. That’s along with sneak peeks from her forthcoming album of disco bangers (due very soon), all of which are accompanied by some major outfits and her incomparable dance moves, and the occasional child kicking off in the background. “Not Lady Gaga” she sings into the camera over the closing rifts of Overpowered on one post. Damn Right! They sure don’t make pop stars like that anymore.
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2. Fat Tony
Kudos and elbow taps to DJ Fat Tony next. Never one to miss a trick, he’s successfully managed to keep working and spinning the decks at a time when the rest of the UK is sat on their sofa, scratching their arses and eating creme eggs whole. Instead, as one model friend who’s name might rhyme with Boss, commented “I can’t believe you’ve actually managed to make money out of your garden,” Indeed. And so he’s set up something of a Rave Cottage playing sets for Harvey Nichols, ES Magazine, Victoria Beckham’s Birthday Party and Glitterbox Ibiza’s online festival (for which his set trended at no.1 on Twitter).
1. Sophie Ellis Bexter’s Kitchen Disco
The number one spot goes to that unsung national treasure, Sophie Ellis Bextor, who for six weeks now has taken it upon herself to deliver us her Friday Night Kitchen Disco and in doing so has delivered us pure brilliant, escapist camp. “I started doing it because like loads of folk, we suddenly found ourselves at home with no work and no plans and missing people and projects” she says. “We knew our kitchen worked quite well for a little gig from my birthday last year, we’ve got a disco ball and smoke machine, microphone and DJ Decks… Anyhoo, we did the first one as a family distraction and it’s become something to look forward to each week.” And look forward we do. Each week Bexter dresses herself in her disco finest to deliver her camp, showgirl set, looking like she’s covered herself in glue, rolled around in sequins and draped herself in maribou for good measure (in the best possible way). She then goes through her own back catalogue with tracks as ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ and ‘If This Ain’t Love’ in-between covering a whole host of disco tracks. All while the kids run around and dance – or fight – in the background. “It definitely keeps us on the right side of chaos in our house,” she explains. “music is my tonic and thank goodness for disco saving our sanity yet again.” Someone give the girl a Damehood.