Martin Blondet spends a regular night at Webster Hall

Photo courtesy Tom Keelan '14

Photo courtesy Tom Keelan '14

“Yo, hurry the f--k up, son, my hands freezing out here," said the gargantuan bouncer as I fumbled anxiously through my wallet looking for my ID. After a quick look to verify I was over 19, he sharpied two sloppy "X"'s on my hands and dismissively directed me to the ticket booth. As I walked in the building, I overheard the scantily-neon-clad females behind me get a much warmer welcome, "Oh what up girl, how y'all doin' tonight? Bouta turn up?" said the bouncer. I could hardly believe these tiny sparkly girls did not need "X"'s on their hands as well. 

I purchased a $20 ticket and was patted down very thoroughly by another no-nonsense venue staff member before finally being ushered into one of New York's best-known clubs: the 3-story party promised land that is Webster Hall. 

It was expectedly loud, but surprisingly empty. The ground level dancehall was pretty much entirely vacant, except for a couple groups of fellow early-bird partygoers jamming to a terrible unfamiliar remix of "We Can't Stop". I decided to wander downstairs to check in my coat; the lower level dancehall felt like deja-vu (except it was a terrible remix of "Dark Horse"). 

I walked up to the upper level where an anonymous DJ was spinning some serious mediocrity. There is nothing sadder than asking "New York f--king City, how you feeling tonight?!" into a mic and getting crickets. I bought a bottle of water for six dollars and posted up by what seemed to be the designated single-guys-that-got-here-too-early wall. Hearing bad trap remix after bad trap remix while playing Fruit Ninja, I concluded that tonight was a dud. 

Finally, DJ Nobody peaced-out and blessed me with a moment of silence while he introduced the next act: Gents and Jawns. I had heard some of their stuff, a couple decent remixes here and there, nothing special. Suddenly, I heard (could it be?) the buzzing synth lines that introduce Howls' "001", on a loop, building tension. This was not your average turn up club song, certainly not something a second act opens with. This was taste. I looked up from my phone and saw the dance floor flooded with colorful, sweaty youths. How this sea of ravers materialized so quickly, I had no clue. I took a few steps toward the crowd and was suddenly propelled forward by the collective movement of a hundred bodies. How did I get to right in front of the stage? How did my hands get above my head? Then the bass dropped…

I felt the ground shaking– I thought we might break through the floor and crush those 6 people still dancing to Miley Cyrus on the ground level. The intense and invasive 808, together with the unceasing push and pull of the people around me, practically coerced me into dancing. Dodging elbows can look an awful lot like dancing. 

It was sensory overload. A plethora of colorful blinding lights leaked through the jungle of limbs, all moving in sync with the dynamics of the song. The overwhelming heat was abruptly abated when somebody spilled beer all over me. 

Once the initial turn-up whiplash wore off, I traced the elbows and legs that had been directing my "dancing" back to their owners. All the archetypal Webster heads were present: The overdressed, over-gelled-up guys holding overpriced cocktails; the "dudes' night out" posses rocking out in neon green tank tops and shutter shades, scoping out girls to dance with; the Street-goth hype beasts that are too cool to dance (or just do not want to mess up their Yeezy's); and my favorite: the veteran ravers. Equipped with everything from finger-light gloves, bead masks and bracelets, camel-backs, and glow sticks, these creatures of the night are more about that life than any of the other Webster regulars. 

As soon as a Major Lazer song dropped, the twerk team sprung up on top of the giant speakers to do their thing; all the lumbering, drugged-out "really feeling it right now" guys gawked at them with mouths and eyes half-open. The DJ duo was throwing down a steady stream of bangers. The crowd responded to each build up and drop with orgasmic hypersensitivity. By the end of the set it was a full-blown bacchanalia. Bodies entwined in a whirlwind of day-glow colors and body fluids. From the frenzied collage of debauchery, a nimble hand tapped my shoulder and asked me “Have you seen my friend Molly?”

by Martin Blondet '16

photo appears courtesy of Tom Keelan '14 /