Smoke billows from the entrance. The sigil to the Necronomicon gate watches over the dance floor, glowing in the black light, filling the ceiling. But this landscape is not a portal to Yog-Sothoth or Bruce Campbell’s early career; it’s Portland’s horror-themed night club, The Lovecraft.
This bar is what every goth/industrial club kid in the ’90s dreamed of, me especially. But the style of music doesn’t begin and end with darkness. DJs spin all kinds of cuts from punk to new wave, and sometimes there are even live bands, like at Psychopomp on every fourth Wednesday.
For this article, I went to see one of my favorite DJs, Acid Rick, who specializes in saxophone-driven ’80s tracks, what he calls hunkwave, ’80s Italo disco, a touch of goth, and all things danceable produced before 1990. Did I mention ’80s?
This guy will play all the old-school cuts: anything from Skinny Puppy to Circle Jerks to Nina Hagen and back again. This past Sunday night, DJ Acid Rick even played Don Johnson’s long-form video Hearbeat as a backdrop—suitable for the onset of spring.
I asked Acid Rick to name his top three tracks. He said that Profil “Leb Wohl Mein Schatz” is his number-one favorite song to spin.
“This jam is HOT,” DJ Acid Rick said. “Without fail, it gets people dancing. And just like I told you, it’s the one jam that always makes someone come and ask me what it is. You saw it happen twice! [I did see two people run to the DJ booth, awestruck] Plus, it’s German and it has some absolutely killer synth parts. And it’s like eight minutes long. So it’s easily one of DJ Acid Rick’s Picks for DJ Success.”
Diviacchi “Waiting For Heaven” comes out at number two.
“This is my most favorite Italo disco jam,” Rick said. “Everything about it is amazing: magical synths, sweet rhythm and cheesy lyrics (which is the best part about Italo disco). ‘Waiting For Heaven’ is perfect for a room full of fog and lasers because it’s like an alternate dimension…a dimension full of passion and desire.”
Tim Capello “I Still Believe” takes third.
“As a professional DJ, I am very familiar with just how sexy a saxophone is,” Rick said. “Nothing says romance in the night like a saxophone. Tim Capello’s mega-hit from The Lost Boys soundtrack is a slam dunk, every time! He’s a musclebound hunk who plays the saxophone! And the song itself is dark and moody, but positive and motivating. So, basically, this song has it all. I still believe, indeed.”
Acid Rick’s regular gig is every fourth Sunday, Softcore Mutations. But this past Sunday, March 8, he did a one-off called Deadlift. A Facebook post advertising the event said it best,“Punk died, so bring on the SYNTHESIZERS!”
My advice: If Hive is too crowded with spooky kids, and you’re sick of hearing Sister of Mercy’s “Temple of Love,” look for DJ Acid Rick’s nights.
Let’s backtrack a moment. Maybe you’re wondering, “What the hell is Italo disco?”
“Italo disco is a genre of pop music that existed throughout the ’80s, mainly in Italy and other European countries,” Rick said. “It is inspired by, but not exactly like, American disco from the ’70s. Italo disco is very danceable, full of synthesizers and performed by hunks and babes who sing strange lyrics in English, their second language.”
Aside from the atmosphere and sounds, the Lovecraft has killer drink specials like Blood on the Snow—marshmallow infused vodka and strawberry nectar, chilled. I only wish I had requested Strawberry Switchblade while drinking it.
Which reminds me—if you make requests, DJs like Acid Rick will actually play them! This is a rare treat considering how many knucklehead egoists end up behind the turntables in this town.
Before I end, let it be known to the world that Lovecraft’s decor mixed with Visage songs would be nothing without resident fly girl Viv. The first time I met her she insisted we unite our technicolor souls in marriage under the chthonic seal, probably to an Adam Ant song. In fact, she married two other women the same night. This Sunday, she had me marry her to two other women and a mannequin dressed as Nixon in drag.
And to cap off the night, when the lights were on and we sipped the last of our drinks, Viv left us with something we can never unhear.
To the tune of Devo’s “Mongoloid” she unabashedly sung, “Suck my dick, why don’t you suck my dick? Suck my balls, why don’t you suck my balls? Eat my ass, why don’t you eat my ass?” I think she affectionately dedicates that song to you, her future (100th) wife.
DJ Acid Rick’s first-ever entirely Italo disco night, Heaven in the Night, will be March 29 at the Lovecraft. For more events, check the calendar at thelovecraftbar.com/calendar.