Downtown Abbey: Night Mode

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

On a recent Saturday at The Summit, party-goers gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the Columbus dance party that goes “thump” in the night.

The brainchild of Night Mode Sound System (Noel Hackman, Josh Knell and Ethan Schaeffer), the group’s signature event celebrated its first year of partying with trancy soundscapes, pulsating beats and the promise of even more madness for its faithful following of night owls in 2015. Those pending plans include a show at Strongwater Food and Spirits, and local heavy-hitter DJ Moxy Martinez and James Nasty of Baltimore, Maryland, slated to spin on Jan. 9.

It felt like a good sign when the first woman we saw as we approached the venue was donning sparkly knee socks and a pair of white shorts featuring Steve Buscemi’s face. The Summit, with its dark walls and dive-y interior, created the perfect backdrop for Night Mode’s dirty underground M.O. The only light came from the four glowing vertical bulbs positioned behind the decks on stage and the haphazardly strewn Christmas lights behind the bar. Though I’d seen Night Mode Sound System make cameos at events like For All Mankind Tuesdays at Level Dining Lounge and Toothpaste at MINT Art Collective, the venue where the dance party was born clearly served it best.

Local techno duo Funerals was already on stage delivering a pounding set of moody beats. The darkly tinged electronic soundscapes filling the room could have doubled as an intensifying horror movie score.

Even though it was early in the night, the dance floor was already becoming lively. One man in a black vest, face paint and ripped Levis took over a third of the dance floor, spinning in circles and flailing his arms. He only seemed to stop for bathroom breaks and the occasional drink of water. He drew as many dancers to the floor as he alienated with his unpredictable movements.

Next up was Night Mode Sound System, filling The Summit with its progressive and grimy sounds. By this time, the venue was getting crowded. Kingdom (Los Angeles) played last, saving his ominously heavy dance beats to close the night. If Night Mode’s one-year anniversary party at The Summit is any indication of the year to come, bring on 2015.

Downtown Abbey is a nightlife column that covers everything from drag to magic shows, the club scene to fetish parties. It runs every other week.