Wild Nights at 1720 With Lulo’s HEAV3N Special Pride Month Heav3N Party Set for June 24th
LOS ANGELES, CA- Sometimes, the best parties are the ones you need to look for. They are the ones that are only really known within tight-knit communities, curated by tastemakers who care as much about the community to whom they serve as the talent they’ve booked in the line-up to serve up the entertainment for the evening. A “party” that I have the privilege of attending recently was HEAV3N at 1720.
The “HBIC” of organizing HEAV3N events is Lulo, and in prior interviews, Lulo has explained that there was a need for spaces like HEAV3N to exist because of how popular culture made it hard for queers to have a safe space to really express themselves. As described on their website, “Heav3n is a place of inclusivity allowing everyone to be unapologetically who they are, even if only for a night.” Lulo has taken significant steps to broaden the reach of HEAV3N. Earlier this year, HEAV3N made its successful debut in New York, breaking ground at Three Dollar Bill in Brooklyn.
For me, what really sets HEAV3N apart from other curated parties/events… besides the fabulously beautiful people in attendance… are the musical guests that Lulo is able to get to grace their stages at each event. Each performer plays a short 15-25 minute set, keeping the pace of the evening steady and forward-moving throughout the evening. The list of Los Angeles “alumni” is long and includes the likes of Charli XCX, Caroline Polachek, Noah Cyrus, Slayyyter, Pussy Riot, Sophie (rest in peace), and countless others. At their New York event, Miss Madeline and Sateen were some of the performers. When I saw the line-up scheduled to perform at HEAV3N’s 5/21/22 event at 1720, it definitely caught my eye, and I made it a point to put it in my calendar to experience HEAV3N myself.
While there were 5 vocalists and two dancers slated to perform throughout the evening, the responsibility of keeping the party-like atmosphere at a high was put into the hands of the various DJs who kept booties shaking all night long. While Alice Glass may have been the most well-known DJ to handle the ones and two, Vampy, Tech Grl, Rayne, Parv0, Memphy, Kingdom & Ian x Emmy all took turns spinning their brand of grooves for the audience.
Of the DJs who performed, it was perhaps Ian x Emmy who had the most loyal following in attendance, and the largest crew to join them onstage, who not only hyped up the crowd but also bust out some pretty acrobat dance moves. In between DJ sets, dancers like Lux did saucy burlesque numbers to mingle sensuality with the heart-thumping beats.
What I enjoyed about the DJ sets, in particular, was the camaraderie that DJs all seemed to share with each other. While one DJ was spinning tunes, others would be off to the side of the stage, or actually behind the deck, supporting the one performing, even lending an extra hand on occasion. By the time the final DJ took the stage, friends and fans were encouraged to climb over the barricade to join in on the fun on stage, and dance the balance of the night away.
I first learned about Banoffee back in 2014 and covered one of her performances in 2016. I’ve been keeping an eye on her since, loving the synth-centric pop music that she’s been releasing over the years. Although my only knowledge of her is her music, I found her 2021 album Tear Tracks to be quite introspective (almost like journal entries set to music) and quite a refreshing listen.
I was excited to see Banoffee perform for the first time since 2016. It gave me a chance to press the refresh button on my memory and create some new ones. I remember her performing behind synths and modules years ago, so I quite enjoyed her performing without having to bother with adjusting and cueing up tracks this time around. That allowed her to use the entirety of the stage to move around and dance to her infectious music.
Apparently, her set consisted of a handful of new songs, including one titled “muscles”. I was just as impressed this time around as I was when I saw her perform in 2016. Very club-friendly vibes all-around. I wish that I had been able to shoot my own video clips, but I was more concerned about capturing publishable photographs during her short 10-minute set. I’m just upset at myself that it took me this long to see her perform again. Definitely going to do better to see her perform again sooner rather than later.
Lucy Loone is a non-binary American singer-songwriter and visual artist. I wasn’t familiar with Lucy’s music prior to learning about this HEAV3N event, but I soon discovered that Lucy had one of her mixtapes promoted by her friend Melanie Martinez back in 2019, which she followed up with an EP in 2020 titled I Love Lucy.
There was a slight hitch to starting the performance (their tracks weren’t coming through on the speakers), but once that got resolved, they got hard spitting some fire verses over some wicked trap beats. This caught me a bit by surprise- a pleasant surprise- as the music I checked out music on their Spotify account was more on the melodic and… well… pop side. I guess I must have missed her bangers like “Big Blood Mansion” and “Kill The Lights!” Loved Lucy’s energy and the ferocity that was let loose on the stage during the performance.
Midway through Lucy’s set, they were joined on stage by Cottontail. I don’t know much about Cottontail other than that Cottontail has previously worked with Lucy and that Cottontail is a non-binary, trans femme, LA-based artist and singer; known for their “humorous yet twisted holiday music”. Lucy and Cottontail performed a few songs together, including their latest 2021 collaboration “My Bloody Valentine”. Though I was not familiar with all of their collaborations, I’m assuming that a handful of their other songs are new songs that are part of the exclusive content for their fans that will become available through their Patreon called “The Red Room”.
Cottontail performed a handful of new songs solo and as mysteriously as they took the stage, mysteriously left the stage following the performance.
I first heard about Ellise when I saw the EMPIRE was distributing her recent releases. I work in music, and when I think EMPIRE, I think mostly hip-hop; not indie/alt-pop, this pairing caught my attention. After listening to her repertoire, her music caught my attention. Her solo albums (Letting the Wolf In and Chaotic) notwithstanding, I was particularly excited to see that she had collaborated with DeathByRomny and Mothica on “Soul Sucker, Pt. 2”. Those are pretty solid co-cosigns.
With only a 10-minute set, Ellise pulled out all of the stops. Not wanting to be hindered at all on stage, she chucked the 6-inch heeled boots she was wearing after the first song to perform barefoot the rest of the way. She even had two dancers join her halfway through her set and hit choreographed moves to the music. While it can be hard to glean that much from a 10-minute set, I could tell that she had the audience’s attention and they were fully invested in her performance. Good signs all around.
I could have easily just picked a couple of photos for a general gallery for Emma Vauxdevil’s 5-minute burlesque routine, but I just felt obligated to give her her own gallery because she not only oozed sensuality, but she also swallowed a freakin’ sword… a FREAKIN SWORD! I was not expecting to see that at HEAV3N. lol.
Plus, any dancer who can get a random young woman to yell to me, “I think I’m gay now!” after the performance, deserves her own photo gallery. So click the photo above to check out the gallery and a little GIF I created of the sword swallow. Pretty darn cool if you ask me.
One of the highlights of the evening was Alice Glass manning the decks for about half an hour. Based on my understanding, Alice has performed for HEAV3N on several occasions, so I’m assuming that she’s somewhat of a constant in the scene. As she crafted, mixed and melted beats, the crowd zoned out to the sonic bliss she was crafting. I loved seeing the crowd go nuts when she dropped beats or pumped the BPMs.
One sight that I didn’t notice until I looked over some video footage I caught was someone in the audience who was on crutches and was waving those crutches in the air to the beat. The power of music! You are healed!
I know that Alice was listed as a DJ set, but I was really hoping that she’d bust out a vocal performance or two of some track off her latest album PREY/IV. Alas, that didn’t happen … but I can’t complain. Just seeing her dance and smile to her music was good enough for me.
Don’t let her petite frame fool you. This woman spits verses as hard as any other female rapper out there. And she’s absolutely fearless when she spits game. Her raunchy subject matter is camouflaged by her smooth flow. Her music is also perfect for the HEAV3N community. Empowering. Sex-positive. Wild. Everything that Lulo emphasizes with the parties that she curates.
Toward the end of her all-too-short performance, she encouraged fans to join her on stage, and all of a sudden, bodies crowded the stage, with Tommy front and center spitting rhymes over the raucous. It made for one hell of a party.
Lulo and HEAV3N are back at it later this month. They have a special pride month party scheduled for Friday, June 24th, with details to be released imminently, and if its anything like what I got to experience last month, it’s going to be one hell of a party.