Downtown Abbey: Suicide Ball fills Columbus' dark-wave void

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

For spooky-leaning party-goers in Columbus, there is a way to get your industrial fix without alienating your day-walking friends. Suicide Ball, the (almost) monthly party at Bossy Grrl’s Pin Up Joint (2598 N. High St.), is a no-fuss Goth/industrial party that peppers user-friendly dance tunes among deep industrial cuts to appease newbies and die-hards alike. With no cover, no dress code and no bullshit, your tender-skinned friend will have no excuses.

Suicide Ball’s resident DJs Steve OD and Shawndy Spider Throat have been lurking around the dark corners of Columbus nightlife to fill the dark-wave void they felt Outland’s closure left behind. Originating at (then) Ravari Room in 2010 and doing stints at Ace of Cups and Double Happiness (among others), the party has landed at Bossy Grrl’s for its five-year anniversary.

The Old North spot’s cozy quarters were getting crowded by midnight on a recent Saturday. People clustered around tables and the bar, their conversations competing with the volume of the music. DJs Steve OD and Shawndy Spider Throat were hunched over the decks opposite the bar playing M83 and older Nine Inch Nails. Corseted die-hards mingled with sneaker-wearing Bossy Grrl’s regulars while everyone patiently waited for the singular bartender to finish texting and take their drink order.

On the back patio, a rowdy bunch was celebrating one member’s birthday by employing random strangers to mercilessly spank her as she leaned over the wooden deck. I can’t remember if it was 28 or 29, but she endured them all while her friends howled with laughter. The scene was fitting for a Goth night, though there are typically paddles involved.

“The music kind of serves as background noise,” DJ Steve OD told me. “People just like to hang out.”

Back inside, we posted up at one of the back tables while Shawndy Spider Throat played some of my favorite old-school Goth tunes. When Q. Lazzarus’ “Goodbye Horses” came on (you’ve heard it — the infamous song from “Silence of the Lambs”) I had gotten enough well-whiskey down my guest’s gullet to actually get him to dance with me on the small stage. Pro-tip: When you’re doing your best “Buffalo Bill” impression at Bossy Grrl’s, remember: The windows face High Street.

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