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Robyn-themed dance party adds Austin to tour after a decade of dancing
Robyn fans in Austin are no longer relegated to dancing on their own. A decade-old dance party is finally making its way down south from Brooklyn, and it’s rounding up all the outsiders and misfits to revel in the sounds of the queen of pop. Adventure[s] presents This Party Is Killing You!: The Robyn Party on January 13 at Empire Control Room.
The premise is straightforward; on the surface, it’s a regular dance party based on the music of Swedish pop star Robyn, famous for euphoric tracks about heartbreak like “Dancing On My Own” and “Call Your Girlfriend.” Tracks by other iconic artists especially celebrated in queer spaces — Lady Gaga, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Mariah Carey, among others — are sprinkled in.
But getting to Austin for the first time was complicated, despite it being one of the team’s most requested cities. The event was originally scheduled in July, rescheduled for a vague logistical issue, and recently moved from the Parish due to flooding. Still, the prevalence of Austin’s queer community and embrace of subculture are good indications that this party is bound for Southwestern glory.
DJs Russ Marshalek and Laura Hajek, two members of a group called Adventure[s] that hosts similar themed dance parties, say the whole thing started simply because they were “nerds” about music.
“This was right around the time of Body Talk. We wanted the opportunity to get our friends together and dance to Robyn,” says Marshalek. “At the time, she was keeping a super low profile, so it wasn't like there was a show that we could go to. So we put together the first Robyn party in the back room of a bar in Brooklyn. There were people lined up around the block to get in.”
Although it started in Robyn’s marked absence, by 2018, the party was an institution that the singer acknowledged, even performing at one of the events and recording it for a video love note to fans, Missing U.
Although the themed dance party would reasonably have some limitations (not that Robyn fans are particularly concerned with limitations), the relative lack of new releases is supplemented by dance mixes by new DJs rediscovering the artist’s increasingly timeless catalog. Adventure[s] has recently been starting the party with Robyn’s 2022 cover of Neneh Cherry’s 1988 hit “Buffalo Stance”; from there, the contour of the setlist depends on what kind of energy the crowd has. The DJs are happy to take requests, breathing new life into each party, even if it’s many of the same songs in a different order.
Hajek, formerly a costume stylist at Brooklyn’s legendary queer party venue House of Yes, says costumes give the party fuel beyond the music. Marshalek has three costume changes for every show. Guests are encouraged to dress in glitter and whatever feels exciting to dance in.
“If you're matching me you're going to be sweating, and crying, and screaming along,” says Marshalek. “So [the best outfit is] whatever you feel comfortable moving in, and that makes you feel really, really good.”
Although the party is new to Austin and welcomes newcomers with emphatically open arms, it has amassed a following, and some even travel to different cities to stay in touch with the magic and other revelers.
“This party is like such an inclusive and joyful expression of queerness and unity between pretty much anyone who is like an outsider or is a member of any kind of subculture,” says Hajek. “This is such a great way to have everybody feel embraced, and happy, and safe in one place. And it's a new year.”
Marshalek adds, “It's really a family, and I always like to say we're meeting a few-hundred of our new best friends every night.”
Adventure[s] presents This Party Is Killing You!: The Robyn Party on January 13 at 8 pm, at Empire Control Room. Tickets ($25.08 including fees) are available at seetickets.us.