9th June 2018
Review by Demitri Levantis & Thomas Saunders
Photography by Thomas Saunders
Fourteen years ago, a club was founded in London. A club that combines elements of Goth and Industrial nightlife with kinky fetish clubbing. A club called AntiChrist
Created by veterans of the capital’s club scene, Antichrist grew from strength to strength, establishing itself as a haven for partygoers who wanted something dark, subversive, sexy and safe when enjoying a weekend in the city. Despite the odd problems arising every now and again, like its original location being shut down, Antichrist has pushed on and remained a loyal place for alternatives and fetishists alike. That’s why tonight is such an amazing night as we’re celebrating their 14th birthday.
To begin with, the club had returned to its home in Vauxhall, now situated in Fire, a club under a railway bridge which has seen a fair number of club nights pass it by.
I sadly was a little late in making it to for the first act, but my colleague Thomas Saunders snapped and caught up with this evening openers.
Starting off events are garage rock/alternative band Unquiet Dead, made up of Lora Maze & Jason Kahl. Together they create a welcomingly heavy start to the night’s performances with plenty of attitude & visual boldness.Lora is especially powerful on stage with a rasping, tense vocal style that works well here.
Whereas Jason on guitar really gives this band a metallic edge too, riffing out confidently and being great fun to watch as they swing their guitar around.
The night was now in full swing with people from all over the country enjoying the delights of the shindig.
Drag queen and evening host: Virgin Xtravaganza was now on stage giving some sweet renditions of her latest cabaret tunes, all based around the mythologies and escapades of the Virgin Mary and other biblical figures.
Her razor-sharp wit and diva attitude rang well with the crowd who were certainly caught up in her excellence as a party compere, and with that the next act came on: Ruby Dagger, a fetish performer and pro dominatrix accompanied by her devoted partner/sub.
Ruby Dagger’s act included the feisty use of a whip and a bouquet of roses – very symbolic of passion and carnal lusts we all hold for those we fancy. Expressing a love and devotion between mistress and sub was the impression I had from this act and I was quite blown away by Dagger’s precision at whipping the flowers to pieces whilst her partner stood firm and never flinched.
Precision and steadfast talent oozed from the couple, who might not have been on the stage for long, but they certainly had me hooked so a very fun performance there.
Then it was time for Virgin Xtravaganza to give the crowd a little more fun and games only a drag queen can offer before introducing the next act: A fire performer named Femme Ferale, her performance burned brightly and the flames arose as she moved around the stage lighting, swallowing and relighting her glowing beacons which she held firmly in front of her.
This was something a lot of people in the audience found fun, but having seen so many of these acts, I can’t really say there was much to write home about other than her ability to swallow and relight the sticks was good.
There wasn’t any fire-breathing and I kept seeing Femme Ferale do the same trick with the flames repetitively, but I certainly wouldn’t call this an unenjoyable performance. She definitely had talent, but this critic has seen too much from the embers of flame cabaret.
Music was now pumping hard and heavy from all the rooms as I mooched around the club and it was good to hear a wide range of dark Gothic, Industrial and regular club, house and trance tunes and the bars weren’t too crowded.
Next up it was time for what I would call the highlight of the night: Satan’s Strip Show.
Composed entirely of up and coming performers or AC regulars who wanted to have a go, the Satan’s Strip Show has become a fan favourite for many regular AC goers over the years. Every time I’ve seen it I’ve been impressed at the endless diversity it oozes when it comes to anyone and everyone being able to get up on stage and show off their amazing assets with extreme confidence.
First on were two women doing a performance that began with a pristine lip-sync to Toxic by Britney Spears before they got their kit off in a well-rehearsed manner. Many cheers went up and the blood was pumping as the ladies showed the world what they had to offer.
Next up it was a young performer who had some trouble with their track but still gave a cool show nonetheless. Something gothic and subversive – ideal for a night out in an adult club.
Then we had a genderqueer performer who has made a name for themselves on the AC scene with performances best described as ‘Gorlesque,’ a combination of traditional burlesque stripping and gore reminiscent of many low budget splatterpunk movies. This time their performance involved a set of rose petals which didn’t fall the way they were intended but still a fun strip nonetheless. With this performer, I was happy to see how AC hasn’t mellowed as a safe spot for non-binary revellers.
The show then finished off with a curvaceous woman performing with ease and excellence. Her strip involved some ravishing dance moves which would have put many a keen pole dancer to shame. This was another breathtaking experience for me as AC aren’t scared to feature people of all shapes and sizes to show the world that not all adult entertainment conforms to standards set by the normal world.
That was it for the evening’s cabaret and now we were back to the live music.
Representing AC’s combination of Industrial, Harsh Dance and Metal music came a group who are nothing short of perfect for this club: Alien Vampires.
As the name suggests, the band love all things dark, gothic and science fiction as their performance suggested.
I was particularly happy to hear samplings from the 80s sci-fi flick: Dune on one track and the thumping bass and percussion reminded me of many clubs in London and Germany where I’ve spent many a long night enjoying the darker side of club music.
Sadly the performance was a little let down by the vocalist’s mike which was almost useless on the first few songs but the problem was soon fixed and the gig came to a fun and ecstatic end.
All over the club people were celebrating 14 years of safe and sexy partying. The smoking area was full of revellers chilling and chatting away as only goes on in London clubs, the dungeon area was busy with kinksters and fetish lovers out for some clean, consensual and filthy frolics, and as you walked from room to room you were greeted with music diversity from the many DJs who showcased their talent.
The night wore on well into the early hours and plenty of alcohol was consumed and lots of people came and went to enjoy a fun and relaxing night out.
In all, I came away feeling this was another club night which has matured and diversified over the years and has become one of many havens for all kinds of people. Not just alternatives, but people out for a night of partying that is safe and away from the judgemental stare of neurotypical society.
AC is another place where a group of outsiders will go know that it’s fantastic that the outside world knows nothing of this shindig. I for one will definitely be adding this to my list of regular haunts in the years to come.
Happy Birthday Antichrist. Keep up the good work!