New Indie Mafia
Sonotheque; Mar 2
There was a time when punk rockers couldn’t dance without slugging each other. And in the ’90s, it was considered proper that DJs confine themselves to a certain style, lest they risk “confusing” the partyers. Both stultifying modes have been demolished in recent years, but not without the sweat of some imaginative rebels.
Leading that pack is the Optimo duo, whose JD Twitch headlines New Indie Mafia this week. The duo (of Switch and JG Wilkes) has but a cult following in the States, but since launching Glasgow, Scotland’s Optimo (Espacio) night at that city’s Sub Club in 1997, it’s been responsible for the genre-crossing insurgency in the U.K. underground. This isn’t, however, the highly ironic genre contrasts that the kids down the block are favoring. Rather, after getting bored with techno, the Optimo duo made downtown post-punk/early hip-hop New York its primary reference point. The two enlivened their eclectic parties with costumes as well as live punk and indie bands between sets (take note, Chicago); locals like Franz Ferdinand and the post–art school set became devoted dancers. And no wonder: The pair had tapped into Glasgow’s local flavor—gritty, experimental and go-for-broke.
More than anything, restlessness has defined the Optimo modus operandi. The playlist runs from disco, techno and psych rock to early dance-punk and even D.C. go-go. In fact, Twitch (née Keith McIvor) has recently been spinning soul, tropicalia and freakbeat at Glasgow retro nights. The rule with Optimo is to be ready for anything—anything but boredom, that is.—John Dugan