Reptile @ Electrowerkz, London

10th September 2021
Review by Demitri Levantis
Photos by Jo Blackened – Altercarnated Photography

Reptile, the most prominent goth and alternative club night of London’s scene and strongest rival to is veteran, Slimelight, opened its doors once again on Saturday 10th September. Only a fortnight previously the club had opened to a strong and devoted post-lockdown debut with performances from industrial act Drownd and burlesque superstar, Miss Fortune. However, this time the turnout was not as strong as before, but that didn’t mean it was a failure on any score.

Once I arrived with my friends that Friday evening, the club was filling up with droves of of goths coming from the Sisters of Mercy gig and were now ready to have a dance and carry on their night.

Although the courtyard bar and social area were closed off due to another event going on at the same time, people were mingling nicely around the stairwell, second floor, performance room and bar enjoying each other’s company. There was a nice range of traditional gothics, cybergoth, pastel and darkwave and new romantic creatures of the night to fulfil this evening’s soiree.

The main performance area played host to some fine DJs from the off, including Steve Nine of Alien Vampires and veteran DJ Stevil, with Vade Retro joining later.

A mix of classic goth, industrial, hard dance and generally dark and transgressive numbers pounded from the club speakers welcoming happy revellers into the evening ready for what entertainment lay ahead.

Here, I began to feel like the night was starting to swing in the right direction as catchy tunes that had my friend and I bopping in the way only gothic, industrial, and metal tunes can do. Despite the fact it was only us on the dancefloor, there was a calm and ecstatic vibe to the night already, meaning we were in for a good one.

Soon it was time for the night’s performers to start their shows; first up on the bill were Dramalove, a band who’ve played many a club night and goth soiree like Reptile before, but this was the first time seeing them for me.

This trio of quirky musicians took to the stage with a fairly big crowd assembling to see what they had to offer the hungry hearts of many a keen club goer.

And before I knew it the boys leaped into their first number which I can best describe as “innocuous”, not in the sense that the music was completely inoffensive but innocuous in the sense it had no effect from it. It is one thing to say a band offers nothing that can upset someone, but this was a band who left me with next to nothing to talk about when it came to writing this review.

Dramalove did have great stage presence and interacted well with the crowd and played a mix of gothic rock and some middle-of-the-road metal and possibly post-hardcore vibes echoing from the speakers.

Vocals ranged from mildly raspy and growly to a melodic and angsty flow of cleanliness that had me thinking back to the mid-2000s. I wouldn’t say my opinion was shared by the crowd though, for each song was met with a nice round of applause and cheers which meant the club was now in full swing and the punters were in a strong mode of excitement.

To cut a long story short, Dramalove were a band who were tight and offered more than enough to say they are keen musicians who love what they are doing – but this critic did not dig whatever vibe they offered. A good job nonetheless in wooing the crowd so not all doom and gloom.

Following this, the DJs were back in business and I ventured up to the second floor enjoying a few hours of good tunes ranging from the 80s to the present date. One thing that has made me enjoy clubs like Reptile is it knows its target audience, be it an experienced club-goer from the earliest days of goth or a new-kid-on-the-block who wants to know more about the alternative world.

What was going on here was the afterparty for the Sisters of Mercy show and I can’t think of a better set of good darkwave, synth, and deathrock tunes to please those who had just danced to their favourite 8o’s goth group.

Guest DJs Jenny Stillmann and Lady Davinia of Second Skin offered their eclectic taste of fun songs from the darker side of life. There was also a good range of drinks available at all the bars at a good price for a London club so my friends and I were satisfied until it was time to venture back downstairs for the next act of the night.

This time it was the turn of an experienced and impressive burlesque artist who has performed all over the world, Marie Devilreux.

Sporting a very impressive and sexy look similar to the superstars of golden-age Hollywood and classic b-movie horror, Marie Devilreux took to the stage ready to wow the crowd with her fire act.

The act began with her lighting several firesticks and hooking the crowd in a trance only a performer like her can perfect. I was impressed at this but the strong lighting over the stage robbed the act of a bit of its dark side.

Continuing on in her act, Devilreux then removed some of her fetish attire in a very seductive manner before hooking some flammable tassels to her breasts and setting them alight – much to the audience’s approval.

Here she proceeded to make Catherine-wheel-style motions showcasing her agile talents that combined dance, burlesque, and coy fire play.

An act worthy of all the applause given and I was very pleased to see such an act given at a night like this for a sexy and empowering piece of performance art is what a night out needs to keep the energy alive and well.

Following that act, the night wore on with changes in the DJs and a good mix of fun and catchy alternative tunes raging from both ground and first-floor areas.

Reptile feels as homely and friendly as ever before, giving off a staying power that its organizers had worked hard to build. I also think it deserves to have its home at Electrowerkz, for the strength of this monthly night hasn’t waned from the problems Covid brought over last year.

Even though this was a night less busy than before, it cemented Reptile into its solvent position as a regular night offered by one of London’s premier alternative club venues.