You walk along Dalhousie Street, looking for this party you heard about. You find a retracted garage door, and you can hear the faint trace of a beat coming from inside. You go down the ramp, past the surreal graffiti on the walls, and when you push open the door at the end it hits you. The sound. And the force of it almost pushes you back up and out of the club. In front of you are two shirtless guys making out. Beyond them is the DJ (also shirtless), his booth just on the edge of the floor. He rocks along with the beat, his busy fingers working the decks just feet from the crowd — a crowd of people so intent on dancing, it’s like they’re in their own little world.
That’s what Throb is intended to be like.
Created by Ashley Gauthier and Chris Murray, Throb is a new monthly gay dance party. Gauthier and Murray are the organizers behind Sashay, a quarterly party at Barrymore’s that launched in spring 2015. Murray says that Sashay has been successful, but they wanted to add something a little different to their party repertoire.
“Barrymore’s is a big room — you can fit 500 people in there, no problem — so with [Sashay] you have to try to appeal to a general audience [in order to fill the room],” Murray says. “But the problem with that is that the music can only get so hard.”
Gauthier and Murray, whose musical roots are in the afterhours scene, decided to put together a party with something bordering on a rave feel. Throb is a party where the DJ can spin intense techno (or what have you) and people dance their faces off. Where it’s not about the decor or drag shows.
It’s also unapologetically gay. Everyone is welcome, of course, but the promotional material — with the photo of two shirtless guys making out — sends a pretty clear message. “If you’re not comfortable with two guys making out on the dancefloor without their shirts on, then we don’t want you there,” Murray says.
The party will happen each month on a Friday (with the exact dates to be announced on their website in advance of each event). The inaugural party features DJ Deko-ze, a Toronto legend who’s been stripping to the waist and strapping on his headphones at Canada’s top nightclubs, and around the world, for over 20 years.
“He has a good connection with Ottawa. A lot of people like him, and when you see him you don’t forget it — he’s intense,” Murray says. “The first event really needs to capture [what we’re trying to do] . . . with Deko-ze, there’s not going to any question about what musical direction we’re going in.”