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baby bats on le phonographique

Photograph from Le Phonographique AKA Le Phono Facebook page, link:

Le Phonographique was a club venue in Leeds which provided a safe space for alternative weirdos from 1980 - 2005. Previously known as WigWam, it was sold to John and Alan Baker and reshaped into 'The Phono', changing the venue into an alternative hotspot, attracting the attendance of goths, punks, bikers and queers.

The club was resold a few times in the beginning of the 90s, being rebranded into a mainstream club (Ashfield's and then Rio's) before being restored to batcave glory in 1994 by Rich K and DJ Mixmaster Stilton and others. In keeping with its spirit of nurturing underground genre, Le Phono began to introduce alternative rock, grunge, industrial and metal in the 90s, whilst still incorporating the new wave and gothic classic tunes that became a staple of the club.

You can read more about the history of Le Phono here, as well as check out more about the people and the music associated with the night:

Specialty nights at Wire have nurtured the legacy of Le Phonographique, with the venue being - quite literally - underground and hosting the same DJs. You can expect a wide variety of music, ranging from; Dead Kennedys, B-52s, Fugazi, The Doors, Nine Inch Nails, The Stooges, as well as their guaranteed plays of Souxie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, The Cure, Killing Joke and many more...

Le Phono has consistently provided a safe space for people to express themselves, and allow clubbers to engage with underground music. It also provides a social space with like minded people, who share aesthetics and interests, for alternative individuals who might not easily find their kind of people in their town.

You can expect the attendance of lots of the elder alternative community again and again, never losing their youth and still bringing out their best, black clothing to dance in. There's a plenty Le Phono article of repeat attenders of 10, 20 + years - but what about the baby bats and younger alternatives who are still quite new to the scene? We asked them about their thoughts on Le Phonographique, and what its like for them as a young person and why they go:

"I think for me it's just based on my background. Goth and New Wave was something I grew up listening to, and that's what started my goth experience. Goth is evolving, and while I think that's a good thing, I can't always keep up. In my experience, Le Phono plays music I know and love - and it's nice to be around people who feel the same. I think it's important to remember Leeds' gothic history and make sure it lives on. It remains authentic to itself and while also keeping up with the evolution of alternative music. I'll go all the time I love Le Phono" - Tommie

"This was the first time I've ever been to Le Phono but all the people there are so welcoming and it's great to be around those who are into the same music! It really brings a lot of people together across different ages and backgrounds, truly one of the best nights in Leeds I'd say" - Dorian

"I like it. It's a nice, safe, cosy place with good music. I'd go again because I like the music and the atmosphere of the venue, but the drinks are too spenny." - Caitlin

"I went to my first Phono night last year in December with my friend. Since then we have fell in love with the space and the community. A bonus! Is that the people who run it still play amazing set lists that many goths immerse themselves in this darkness. As a young person, I find going to these nights more alive and refreshing and along with my friends we get to re-experience - what it was like to be an original 80s goth at Le Phonographique. So to say thank you and to keep on hosting these fabulous nights!" - Lorena

"Le Phono was a great experience that I wish to go to again soon and also wish had more recognition. The community felt welcoming and this made for a more comfortable and enjoyable night! I can't wait to go to the next night and dance to more great music!" - Mia (first time at Le Phono)

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