What do you get when Tori Amos fans from around the world gather inside an L.A. gay bar to celebrate the end of her tour with a dance party? Well, whatever it is, it’s hardly as “low-energy” as non-Tori fanatics might assume. In fact, this Tori Amos gay dance party was downright raucous.
Sunday, Dec. 3 marked the final show of Amos’s Native Invader Tour. But on that night, instead of heading home after the show — what had been her third night at the Theater at the Ace Hotel — many hardcore fans headed up Broadway to Precinct, the neighborhood’s largest gay bar, known more for its dance and rock tracks and edgy drag performances than piano-driven ballads.
“The location, coupled with the emotion of the tour coming to an end — and, added to that, the fact that people from all over the world follow her from show to show and were looking for a safe place to commune — it was like the fates smiled on us and said ‘this needs to happen,'” says Mateo Segade, who acted as DJ for what is quite possibly the first-ever Tori Amos gay dance party, at least in Los Angeles.
“I heard something about a ‘Kate Bush vs. Tori Amos’ night in San Francisco once, but to my knowledge no one has been crazy enough to try an exclusively Tori night — much less one where 90% of the tracks are seamlessly beat-matched like a proper DJ club set,” he says.
“I’ve personally never been to an all-Tori night at a gay bar,” says Danny Haloossim of the Drive All Night: The Songs of Tori Amos podcast. “I know there have been drag and musical tribute shows, but never anything like what we had this past weekend. It was incredible and unique. The response has been tremendous.”
Segade shares with us the funny story of how the Tori Amos gay dance party happened:
Well, funny story, an iteration of the party had been pitched several months earlier by Danny Haloossim and Efrain Schunior, the team behind Drive All Night: The Songs of Tori Amos podcast, and it was flat-out rejected. The response they received was “sounds too low-energy.”
Fast forward to Tori’s show in San Diego and a chance meeting between myself and the Drive All Night guys, wherein I mentioned I’m a DJ and that one of my best friends is Brian McIntire, co-owner of Precinct DTLA, who is also a Toriphile. A lightbulb immediately went off over all our heads, and a few DMs later, Brian gave us the green light. I whipped out a flyer and started working on the setlist, while the Drive All Night guys printed up promos to hand out outside the show and told every Tori fan within earshot that this was happening — all within just 24 hours until the party!
To say the party was a success would be an understatement. More than 300 people showed up for last weekend’s Tori Amos gay dance party, which Segade describes as “basically a pop-up / flashmob” that was pulled off almost entirely by word of mouth.
And the fact that it was such a huge success — filled with patrons dancing and singing along in utter bliss until the lights came on — probably comes as a bit of a shock to some. Amos’s music may not be known for its ‘dance party’ qualities, but in the hands of a skilled DJ anything is possible.
“I feel like that’s a common misconception about Tori’s music — that it’s all fragile or delicate, or that anything that represents the feminine in an empowered way must be emo. The usual misogynistic bullshit. Tori fucking rocks,” Segade says. “I’ve heard fans talk about [Amos’s output] as being music ‘not for victims, but for survivors.’ And with everything that’s going on with the #MeToo movement, I think her music has become even more relevant than ever.”
Segade says he hasn’t received any direct feedback about the Tori Amos gay dance party from the artist herself, but he’s fine with that.
“She’s one of the few artists who makes an effort to do meet-and-greets before many of her shows, giving fans a chance to individually speak with her and get a picture one-on-one. She does a lot. I’m grateful. I think the most important thing, really, is that [those at the party] got a chance to finally connect with each other, fan to fan, and that we were finally able to sing Y Kant Tori Read [the ’80s synthpop band fronted by Amos] at the top of our lungs.”
You haven’t seen the last of the Tori Amos gay dance party, though a date for the next installment hasn’t been set. Stay tuned, Tori fans.