Review :: No Lights, No Lycra – The Presets-curated ‘Keep Everything’ Edition

August 18th 2014


SCENARIO 1: You like to dance. Not the Air Force Ones with trackie-dacks, a crew and a boom box type-dance. Not the smoke-machines, strobe lights and a glaring neon Coke sign-type, either. It’s a week night, and last time you got down in your lounge room, your concerned neighbour called the police.

SCENARIO 2: You hate exercise but may or may not have (look, I’m not here to judge) consumed half a dozen Krispy Kremes on your lunch break while wearing your running skins. You then missed the bus to the gym. And the next one.

SCENARIO 3: You want a night out. But not a late one. You’re still trying to make amends with your liver after last Saturday and you have a 6am start. Bed by 9pm plz.


If any of these sound familiar, I sure as hell hope you were one of the anxious faces, milling around the towering ornate doors at ye ol’ Carriageworks. Hovering outside with my comrade (who I had confused the shit out of when trying to explain the evening ahead), we made note of the overwhelming presence of lycra.

No Lights No Lycra… You had one job.

The doors open at 7:30pm and we all stream in to the pitch black hall, fumbling through the dark for nooks to hide our belongings in, with the occasional surrender to an iPhone torch to avoid tripping to an awkward social death. There’s no announcement. No welcome or indication, or confirmation that – no – we haven’t been lured into some strange den. But there is music playing and, boy, is it a VIBE.

A few awkward starting twitches and the scant pitter patter is transformed into a rhythmic stampede against the wooden floorboards. The gabba, the sprinkler, the jump, the shopping trolley, the 1,2 step; literally every dance move is being pulled out, only slightly able to be discerned from the flickering exit light in the corner, granting us silhouettes of our fellow dancers.

With beatmasters Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes of THE FUCKING PRESETS on the curating front, our ears were in for a treat. There are cuts from Wu-Tang, some Nicki Minaj, Al Green and Paul Mac, with “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” soliciting the formation of a conga line – a remarkable effort in the absence of light and are-you-sure-this-is-okay looks of affirmation.

The Melbourne dance students who founded No Lights No Lycra in 2009 started their groove renaissance on the mantra that “everyone can dance”.

It’s a strange feeling, no one spilling alcohol down your favourite shirt or munting out in the corner, no one eyeing you down on the DF or tryna get all up in yo grill.

It’s freeing.

But just like that, the hour is over, the doors are swung open and we stream back out, adjusting our eyes to the light like little sweat-laden vampires.

Pen the next one into your diary. It’ll be the best five clams you’ve ever spent.


No Lights No Lycra is on Thursdays, 7:30pm in the Main Hall, 189 Church St, Newtown. Keep in touch with their playlists and special events on the NLNL Sydney blog. The next big one is…


WHAT :: No Lights No Lycra – Bondi Pop-Up

WHERE :: The Bondi Pavilion

WHEN :: Monday 25th August, 7:30pm




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