If you hear loud dance music coming from long-empty clubs and conservative event spaces this weekend, there aren’t ghosts of DJs past afoot. 714 Girard, formerly home to Samba nightclub, is holding an electro-dance jam with Making Time DJs and a live guest, HEALTH, Friday. On Saturday, the Skybox Event Center (2424 E. York St.)hosts a reunion for long-running nightclub Shampoo, with DJs Robbie Tronco and Nigel Richards. Welcome to the pop-up club, where promoters and DJs take over raw spaces and remake them in their image.
The Skybox, once a factory, is a roomy 11,000 square feet, with plenty of brick and wooden beams lending an industrial vibe. It has, until this weekend’s Shampoo party, held corporate events and the occasional fashion show.“An unfinished look, you can make it into anything,” says Dan Contarino, a promoter for the Shampoo reunion.
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The same holds for the 9,000-square-foot 714 Girard, where new owner Billy Weiss is opening the doors to promoters. “I thought we’d start quietly,” says Weiss, referring to 714’s soft-opening weekend: Mischief Night with trance spinner Josh Wink and Halloween with DJ Dave Pianka’s Making Time. “Now,” Weiss says, “there are parties at 714 every weekend, and that’s without me putting out feelers.”
Weiss is busy with his Gayborhood clubs Woody’s and Voyeur, the latter recently renovated from its grungier former appearance to something “sleek and mainstream,” he says, to accommodate that area’s weekend rush. “Thousands of people pile out of restaurants with nowhere to go but our clubs,” Weiss says happily of Voyeur’s new look and bookings. “Still I wanted to make sure promoters I’ve worked with who are adventurous and can pack a house had someplace to play.”
Weiss makes it clear that he merely owns 714’s building, officially the private, after-hours Arcadia Social Club. He makes the promoters members of the private club before an event starts, and the crowd becomes members upon entry.
Making Time used to have its wild parties at Voyeur — its rough-edged dance music and electro-punk bands suited the messy club. “But Voyeur’s new look didn’t work for us, so Billy immediate made 714 available,” says Pianka. “I like it. It’s raw, warehouse-y.” That should work wonders for HEALTH, who are hitting up 714 to promote their new album, “Death Magic.”
Matt Brookman, Josh Wink’s partner at the Ovum label, agrees. “When we walked into 714 for Hallowink on Mischief Night, we immediately knew we found a new home,” says Brookman. Ovum’s crew is so pleased, their next 714 gig is the all-important Thanksgiving Eve.