Rock and roll with lipstick on

Kasia Holowka reviews the David Bowie Festival Dance to the Underground night event at Fibber Magees

Let’s dance. The David Bowie Festival returned to Dublin for a ninth year, this time celebrating the 50th anniversary of Bowie’s album Diamond Dogs. The February 7-11 programme was stacked with various special events celebrating the legacy of the famous LGBT singer, including the Dance to the Underground Night.

Fibber Magees invited all LGBT, punk and goth people to come and dance all night long with DJs, Rod Fibula and Tibia. Fans could listen to classic Bowie tracks ranging from the early 1960s all the way to his last album. Everyone was encouraged to dress up and unsurprisingly nobody fell short. Party goers showed up with extravagant hair and makeup and Ziggy inspired costumes that testify to Bowie’s influence.. 

What was it like being there? Upon arrival, it will take a moment for your eyes to adjust to the intense light mimicking the vibe of 70s clubs. There’s theatrical smoke filling the room and on the stage is a big screen showing music videos and short films of Bowie. You take a look around and everybody looks cool: you can tell that nobody has an ulterior motive for being there. It’s all about the music and the people, which is rare for events in clubs nowadays. If you ask around what everybody thinks of the night, they agree that even though the music is “old” the vibe is refreshing. 

 When you think the night could not be better, the drag queens enter the room. There is lip-syncing, dancing, and stripping. There are sneaky allusions to Bowie’s different projects like the Labyrinth. The crowd is not left disappointed. People are laughing, screaming, and singing and dancing along. It is safe to say everyone was there to enjoy themselves. What a great way to revive the energy of Bowie.  

The venue made the night all the more memorable. There was plenty of room to dance and enjoy the show, but there were also spaces to sit down and engage in a conversation. The smoker’s area was spacious and heated. There was a pool table that many put to use. The staff were professional and nice. The door staff were respectful, the bar staff engaged in friendly conversation, and you could even chat with the drag queens, kings, and performers. There also was a DIY LGBT market, where you could buy jewellery to support local LGBT artists and businesses. 

“David Bowie’s spirit and his ideas of sexual ambiguity and the outsider culture were captured and preserved”

Overall, the night was a great success. David Bowie yet again brought together all the LGBT, punk, goth, and misfits. Although he himself could not be there I think his spirit and his ideas of sexual ambiguity and the outsider culture were captured and preserved. It was an amazing event for all Bowie and alternative music fans. Even people who don’t listen to his music were able to immerse themselves in the infectious vibe. The event was a great success, which hopefully, in one form or another, will make a comeback next year.