Club Reptile Halloween @ Electrowerkz, London

Sunday 31st October
5pm – 11.55pm
Entry £7.50, £10 on door
Review by
Demitri Levantis
Photobooth Photos by Ryan Whitwell –
Performance/Crowd Photos by Jo Blackened –

Halloween, the one holiday the entire alternative community looks forward to all year round, and it is no surprise it is a huge deal for every club night and party promoter in the scene. One such club that wanted this Halloween to go out with a bang was Reptile, one of the most popular and prestigious goth club nights, and determined to pack out its home at Electrowerkz, Islington.

I arrived early for the shindig and already a good number of people were packing out the bar/restaurant area in the courtyard. Before long it was time to ascend to the upper levels where the dancefloors and performance space were ready to start the show.

Firstly, I checked out the top floor where Ryan Whitwell of ShotisonMedia had set up a photo booth, snapping all the happy punters who were dressed in a wide range of Halloween getups. It was everything from trad goth to neo-Victorian, Steampunk, darkwave, some more colourful looks like pastel goth, and countless Halloween-related costumes from films like Nightmare Before Christmas, The Crow, etc. Everyone was having so much fun.

I stayed on the third floor a little longer, basking in all the dark tunes from the 1980s, with DJs Electric Dream, Patricia, Nowheregirl and Alixandrea showcasing their talents for keeping the dancefloor alive and well.

But soon it was time for the night’s live entertainment, so my friends and I trooped down to the first floor to witness a performance from the electronic rock/cabaret act AlterRed.

On the road since 2008, AlterRed are a group whose combination of electro-industrial and dark rock mixed with alternative cabaret and performance art has gathered a keen following among the alternative community.

There certainly was a good crowd gathered as the group took to the stage dressed in appropriate horror garments, accompanied by models posing as doll-esque characters reminiscent of several Tim Burton movies.

All were excited as the band kicked off, though from quite early on, I felt this wasn’t a band I personally would go and see if they were gigging anytime soon. I could tell the horror element was there and the band were trying to come across as enjoyably grotesque, but the vocals did not sell it for me.

Music-wise, the guitars and keys were what I would have expected from a good electronica band as they were hefty and thick with the right beat to keep people moving, but this was another case of a band whose crowd enjoyed it more than I did, sadly.

AlterRed had the crowd on their side, and it was good to see they obviously have a keen following of fans, even if I cannot count myself as one. The tunes were okay at most for me, but not my idea of Halloween music as I’m someone who goes more for the heavier side of music that doesn’t need performance art to accompany it.

Said performance art only lasted the first song too as the doll-like models left after the opening track and the rest of the gig was just another normal gig. Overall, AlterRed is one of those alternative bands whom I would see playing at clubs I frequent, but not the kind I would go out of my way to see, but I’ll give them credit for pulling in that level of popularity from the crowd.

After that, I continued to wander the second floor with a good share of goth, post-punk and darkwave tunes emanating from the speakers; Reptile’s most popular DJ, Vade Retro, was spinning the decks alongside Cockney Gargoyle – both of whom know how to fill a dancefloor with the finest of alternative tunes.

Seeing almost all of the venue covered in ghoulish decorations like cobwebs, hanging bones, mutilated limbs and various creatures of the night made the atmosphere ideal for the celebration of all things dark and hallowed.

Soon it was time for the second live performance of the night, this time a burlesque piece.

Hayley Leggs, an experienced performer who has been on the club scene for many years took to the first-floor stage dressed in a bright, shiny catsuit – I sadly couldn’t really tell whether it was latex or PVC, but sexy nonetheless.

Accompanied by some dark and raunchy music, Leggs began by stripping off her outfit seductively and with ease, before dousing herself in milk to complete the catlike theme of the act.

This was a definite pleaser of a performance, though I felt it all went by too quickly. One thing that I’ve always disliked about many club acts is how they don’t last a good length of time – I think the longest I ever saw was about 5 minutes on one occasion.

But apart from that, it was a fun and raunchy act that symbolised that Hayley Leggs knows what she’s doing, and I hope I see her work again soon.

The stage was now set on the first floor for one of the most anticipated guests of the night – Skinny Kangur of Deathstars fame. Alongside the other great DJs Hades and Vade Retro, Skinny added a diverse edge to the darkness which filled the first floor with many a happy dancer.

I was pleased to hear a wide range of industrial, EBM and even some metal coming from the decks as Skinny took to the stage and controlled the crowd like an artist producing his latest masterpiece. Seeing musicians showcase their wide and versatile taste in music to keep people happy on one of the biggest nights on the club scene is simply brilliant – as was Skinny.

The night wore on and I ventured to all three floors till it was time to call it quits. Despite not going on into the early hours (as it was a Sunday), Reptile still had its staying power right to the very end, and I was happy to have been part of it.

Overall, Halloween was as fun and dark as any goth club can make it, so Reptile won the night once more and I look forward to its next shindig.

Altercarnated Photography Full Set Photos: