Das Bunker, the long-running “industrial discotech,” will end its weekly Friday-night run at its current Mid-City location next month, with a final party scheduled for Jan. 31.
The 17-year-old event will be sorely missed.
This is not, however, the end of Das Bunker…
Though they will no longer have shows at their current location, Jewel's Catch One, the party will still exist in other forms.
“Call it a reinvention,” John Giovanazzi, who co-promotes the event, says. “Call it the next episode in the Das Bunker saga. However you want to phrase it, we're no longer confined to a three-room dance club with a very specific format on Friday night.”
The event's history dates back to 1996, when Franck “H-Bomb” Huyghe launched Das Bunker in a Long Beach bar. “It was kind of like an extreme reaction to what was going on in Hollywood at the time…very mainstream and stuck in the past,” Giovanazzi says. “Wax Trax favorites from the ’80s were still staples of the play list. You still had the guitar heavy industrial of the early '90s sticking around.
In 2003, they made the move to Los Angeles, arriving at Jewel's Catch One. (Giovanazzi joined the crew that year.)
Over the years they've boasted ahead-of-their-time shows from acts like Youth Code, who is currently setting industrial fans abuzz (and made our top 10 L.A. albums this year). Having played Das Bunker not long after they formed, they're now set to open for AFI.
Then there was VNV Nation, who performed at Das Bunker twice on the same night for the club's 10th anniversary in 2006. Turns out that earlier that day, the fire marshal showed up and cut the upstairs capacity at the club in half. “We had a quick meeting with the band and were like, Okay, how do we do this?” Giovanazzi recalls. “The answer was to split the crowd in half and play two shows.”
More recently, Grendel, from the Netherlands, played Das Bunker, the band's first U.S. show in years.
Over time, the resident DJs have changed, although the current crew — Amanda Jones, The Operative, and Trauma — has been around for a while. The crowd has evolved, too. Industrial kids don't look the same as they did in the ’90s. Das Bunker's emphasis on new music has fueled the club for 17 years, an unusually long stint for a weekly dance night. Born in an age when club promotion involved lots of paper flier distribution, they've built up a healthy community online.
Giovanazzi won't say why the club is moving. (A call to Jewel's Catch One was not returned.) But they've already got some other events in motion. A Das Bunker show at Avalon on April 27 will feature Combichrist, Suicide Commando, Aesthetic Perfection, and Youth Code.
Das Bunker is also promoting God Module's appearance at Complex, the Glendale venue that Giovanazzi co-owns, in February.
As for its final few Friday nights, Jan. 17 will be a “2004 Flashback Night” featuring a performance from powernoise outfit W.A.S.T.E., in their original lineup. The final event will bring together past and present Das Bunker resident DJs, plus guest DJs Kaotik and Edwin Somnambulist.
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