Since their appearance in the Sydney calendar more then 18 months ago, Bad Dog parties have generated a reputation for stripping away the bullshit of the Sydney club scene and keeping only the bare essentials for a kicking night out.
The overly popular nightclub aesthetic of blonde-wood and neo-minimalism currently romanced by club designers was the first thing to be ditched, replaced by the comfortable homeliness of RSLs and bowling clubs as the backdrop for Bad Dog parties.
Less attention was placed on lighting and a lot more on achieving a great sound at the venue -“ a wise choice, given that four of the party’s organisers are top Sydney DJs Steve Sonius, Annabelle Gaspar, Bill Cotsis and Ben Drayton.
The plan is pretty simple. It’s like a house party that’s too big for somebody’s lounge room, Drayton explains.
It’s about getting away from the club scene and just making the party a bit more personal and a little less boundary-orientated, I guess. We don’t want to base the parties on anybody’s sexuality or looks or any of that stuff. Every shade of the sexuality spectrum -“ and a dramatic cross-section of ages -“ all turn up, so it’s sort of about where you’re at rather than who you are, so to speak.
Despite this, Bad Dog usually aims to run a theme through its parties (including the early Jacques Cousteau’s Bad Dog Experience, the 2 Cool 4 Skool party and this Sunday’s Doctors and Nurses party at Waverley Bowling club) as a way of drawing the crowd together.
On the gay scene a lot of people will turn up to a party in their chaps and harnesses thinking it’s the most outrageous thing and frankly the reality is it’s just really conservative. We’re always doing really childish themes to actually try and counteract a lot of that sort of stuff, says Drayton.
Like the Doctors and Nurses theme can be blatantly sexy or just plain freaky, depending on where you want to go. It’s just more about fun and playing and allowing people to interpret the party as they will.
According to Drayton, the Bad Dog concept was initiated by visual indulgenist [sic] Yos Worth, who encouraged a collaborative effort between the DJs and various local visual artists. As a consequence, the parties have an anything goes feel in regards to aesthetics and music.
The music crosses kind of everything. None of us have any particular set that we stick to or any particular DJ shift to take on during the party, we just move around when it feels comfortable. You’ll hear everything from old funk and soul to underground electronic music and pop and rock, says Drayton.
We’re trying to get stuff out that you won’t hear in clubs, so I guess you would say it’s anti-mainstream but pro-people. A lot of the big gay events are really conservative and are trying to please everybody. We’re not. You’re never going to hear any Kylie at Bad Dog for example -“ it’s just not that kind of thing.
On the other hand, we’ve all got very solid ideas about where we’re coming from, so it’s a matter of presenting it in a friendly way and letting people turn up and make their own mind up about it.
The next Bad Dog party takes place at the Waverley Bowling Club, 163 Birrell Street, Waverley, this Sunday between 3pm and 10pm. Tickets are moving very fast, but try your luck at Acetate Records, Reachin Records, Electric Monkeys and Headmistress. The ticket price is $20 plus booking fee.