Melbourne’s nightclub scene has always been… words fail me here… a fucking vibe. Better than any of the other states, indefinitely, and considering the cornucopia of music, venues, communities, DJs and organisers that bring it to life, it’s maybe even comparable to Europe’s fabled sweaty floors.But since lockdowns ripped away those night lights – one of the only things that made life worth living in this bleak town – something has happened. Melbourne is back with a vengeance.
What’s hot for the summer? Themed nights. Heralding this was Paralusion, a queer and femme run rave team, who brought “Expensive Ugly” to Colour Club in October.What’s “Expensive Ugly”? I hear you wondering.It’s whatever you think it is. It’s a haphazard mash of kitsch, cute, feral and foul, that somehow amalgamates in a hideously satisfying aesthetic. It’s the fugliest designer clothes you’ve ever seen worn with crocs, pitbull shades and topped off with gemstones and fluffy keyrings. It’s ugly-cute.Drawing on ideals embraced by Melbourne’s 90s underground, where raves were a platform for local art, fashion and installation, as well as music and community, Expensive Ugly featured art exhibits from Molly Shears, Rory Giezekamp and Ben Marney, with floristry by Yung Florals.Two local designers, Club Venus and Sexiaz Lingerie [of which, for posterity, I am one third] presented a chaotic dancefloor fashion runway, while the lineup was blessed by Stev Zar, 4ng31ca, Monfranco, Planet100, DVD and DJ I Have Work Tomorrow.
Three photographers were there to capture the extravaganza: Bonny Scott, Lux Newman and Clem McNabb. FEAST YOUR EYES.
Clem McNabb is a Naarm based photographer, working across music, fashion and art, with a focus on intimacy and community.Lux Newman is a multidisciplinary artist based in Naarm Melbourne. Their artforms are predicated on the idea of subversion. Specifically, subversion of the commonly told neuro-typical, heteronormative story sung for generations by the dinosaurs of traditional design.Bonny Scott is a queer filmmaker and film photographer based in Naarm.Follow Arielle on Instagram and Twitter.Read more from VICE Australia and subscribe to our weekly newsletter, This Week Online.