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Chrome: A night out on the dark side

Angel Hellyer

What would you think of a night out on the town where you could wear whatever you feel like―jeans and a t-shirt, a micro mini or a full corseted ball gown―and be accepted?

A club event night with friendly people and a dance floor covered in laser lights, where you can dance or drink or socialise to your heart’s content? Would you believe that such a thing can be found in Canberra, at a goth club?

The term ‘goth club’ tends to get a bad rap. The mental image most people seem to have is of antisocial, black-clad, Mohawk-adorned 80s rejects glaring from a corner at anyone who isn’t in their scene. But the reality is far more vibrant, interesting and enjoyable for all involved*. This is shown every two months, when Canberra’s nightlife is lit up by its local goth/industrial/alternative night: Chrome. And no, you don’t have to wear black to have a great time!

Chrome was born around a decade ago, when a small group of locals sought to amend Canberra’s lack of the incredible dance goth nights they found in Sydney and Melbourne. They started holding event nights once a month at Toast. The event has grown, changed and evolved over the years, with a number of different venues and schedules as the Canberra night scene developed. A steadfast group of organisers have kept it going, much to the happiness of this writer and many other regular Chrome attendees.

The crucial factor in Chrome’s success is the loyal crowd, drawn by the spirit of acceptance and inclusiveness that pervades throughout the nights. At first, this crowd was drawn from a range of alternative groups in Canberra, but over time the wider Canberra community realised that this is a night out with a difference: a night where you can wear something funky, something you never get a chance to wear otherwise; a night you can strike up a conversation with a random stranger and be reasonably assured of an interesting chat; a night you can dance away with your friends or whoever happens to be on the dance floor.


There are a series of great DJs on each event, playing dark electronic, industrial and alternative beats. The regular DJs know just how to get the Chrome dance floor full and occasional guest DJs from around the country bring some spice with their unique styles.

I have been going to Chrome for six years now; it’s the only Canberra club night I always want to attend. I’ve met new friends, had amazing conversations, seen spectacular outfits and danced away countless hours at Chrome.

The biggest drawcard for me, as a woman, is that I have always felt safe. Unlike many others clubs I have gone to, I trust that I will be accepted, welcomed and secure at Chrome. Even when I’m wearing a tight corset and tiny skirt, I know those looks are respectfully appreciative, not lewd or creepy. The organisers never let people bring hatred, disrespect or disharmony to our nights out!

This is why DJ Dreddseppelin (known by his friends as Lory) loves being involved in organising the event. For him, it’s more than helping organise the venue, setting up the lighting and audio and DJing with music he loves. The real reason Lory does it is the enjoyment of “seeing a safe place for all people from alternative communities to have fun.”

Chrome currently runs every two months at The Basement in Belconnen. The next Chrome, on 2 July, will be a special event: Chrome’s Steampunk Winter Ball! It will feature DJ Metavirus, a former Chrome stalwart who moved to Melbourne, but comes back at least once a year to take back the DJ booth and mix with the crowd he misses.

So pull out those ball gowns you never got a chance to re-wear. Add some goggles, gears, wires and canes, a top hat or monocle, and see what all the fuss is about. There will even be a prize for best dressed (that I like to think I’ll be in the running for)!

Check out the event on Facebook.

* Well, ok, there is a lot of black clothing and makeup, and the occasional Mohawk to be seen, but not the glaring or antisocial bits. And bright colours are just as accepted.


Angel Hellyer

Angel Hellyer moved to Canberra from Queensland in 2008 and quickly fell in love with the city she now proudly calls home. Like so many non-native Canberrans, she’s a public servant by day but tries to make up for that by keeping her personal life as busy and interesting as possible. Angel is a science geek, word nerd, literary crime fighter, gamer and connoisseur of fine food, wine and all the hedonistic things in life. She feels passionately about acceptance for people from all walks of life and using the power of communication to educate and inform. More about the Author

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