"It's apparent when you listen to the morning show that I don't go out to clubs very much," DJ Fernando told me. "But when I do, I notice there is so much more choice these days. In the past there were a bunch of huge nights or clubs, and everybody went. Now there's a night or a bar for everybody."
"Ick! I think it's total crap. It's like the dance music equivalent of Weird Al," said Bill Picture, who, along with his partner, DJ Dirty Knees, is the city's biggest gay rock club promoter, when I asked him his opinion of Energy. "We're much more into visceral rock energy and seeing live, local queer punk. But a lot of gay people do like that kind of music. And I'm glad that there's a radio station that they can tune in to. How boring would it be if all gay people liked the same things? We're happy to be an alternative."
The alternatives have arrived aplenty. In addition to Picture's metal events, there's DJ Bus Station John's bathhouse disco revival scene, which fetishizes pre-AIDS vinyl like the smell of polished leather. There's DJ David Harness's Super Soul Sundayz, which focuses on atmospheric Chicago house sounds. There's Charlie Horse, drag queen Anna Conda's carnivalesque trash-rock drag club that often gasp! includes live singing. Queer-oriented parties with old-school show tunes, square dancing, tango, hula, Asian Hi-NRG, hyphy, mashups, Mexican banda, country line dancing, and a bonanza of other styles have found popularity in the past few years. The night's a sissy smorgasbord of sound.
There's even a bit of a backlash to all of this wacky fracturation and, especially, the iTunes DJ mentality. A segment of gay club music makers is starting to look back to the early techno and house days for inspiration, yearning for a time when seamless mixing and meticulously produced four-on-the-floor tunes not sheer musical novelty propelled masses onto dance floors.
Honey Soundsystem, a gay DJ collective formed by DJs Ken Vulsion and Pee Play and including a rotating membership of local vinyl enthusiasts, attempts to distill Italo disco, Euro dance, acid house, neominimal techno, and other cosmic sounds of the past three decades into smooth, ahistorical sets spanning the musical spectrum from DAF's 1983 robo-homo hit "Brothers" to Kevin Aviance's 1998 vogue-nostalgic "Din Da Da" to the Mahala Rai Banda's 2006 technoklezmer conflagration "Mahalageasca (Felix B Jaxxhouz Dub)."
"Girl, that shit must be pumped out by a computer with a beard somewhere," the 21-year-old Pee Play opined of Energy 92.7's music. I didn't tell him how close to the truth he was as he continued, "But I'm over most of the goofy alternashit too. I never lived though circuit, but the music is fucked-up. I'm just really into quality. I want to play records that every time you hear them, they just get better."
PLAY LIKE BROTHERS DO
I'm not sure if there's such a thing as gay music. If there were, its representative incarnation would probably be closer to experimental duo Matmos's homophilic soundscapes, like those on their 2006 album The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of the Beast (Matador) each track named for a gay community hero and composed of poetically related sampled objects ("Sequins and Steam for Larry Levan," "Rag for William S. Burroughs") than anything that ever soared from Donna Summers's throat.