Although we are not children anymore, for some reason we still unnecessarily put a distance between ourselves and our parents. We seem to think that our young lives are so separate from theirs, and their existence is banned to family dinners and calm nights at home. While others cringe to bring their parents out at night, I proudly bring them along. In fact, nowadays, my parents call me up and ask me when's the next time we're going to Output - slightly joking but mostly serious. Even when I mention the club name, I see my mother's face light up and a smile play upon her lips. A bit of mischief hides in her eyes.
We happened to be in Brooklyn one fine warm night in March for a family affair which ran rather late. Seeing as it ran that late, and I had them captive at this hour in Brooklyn, I suggested to my mother that they "stop by" Output with me after dinner. I had thought this to be a rather wild suggestion, expecting the usual excuse of tiredness and the impending long journey home. I was taken aback, as you can imagine, when my mother replied…"Maybe, let's ask your father." By "ask" your father, it was more along the lines of "tell" your father. Luckily, he acquiesced with little resistance. As we walked to our car, the thought "Yes this is actually happening!" crossed my mind dozens of times.
Happiness in my parents' agreeability turned into slight apprehension of whether or not they would like it or even understand it. Although not entirely newcomers to electronic music (my mother has James Blake on repeat, and both of them have had some electronic music education on artists such as Cajmere, Richie Hawtin, Agoria via their daughter), clubbing was still a new threshold to cross. Would they understand the dark space? Would they withstand the amazing sound of the new Funktion Ones? Day parties my parents attended before are one thing, clubbing was an entirely different ball game.
We approached the entrance, and I hand over my ID to the bouncer, turning over my shoulder to tell my parents to show their IDs as well. Laughing at the fact that they haven't been IDed in so long, they were quickly ushered in. My parents have seen me leave at night and arrive in the late morning or even early afternoon countless times from doing my job as a writer or photographer covering electronic music events. They've seen photos of what I do, where I've been, and who I've heard play. For once, though, I got to bring them with me into my world. It made me obscenely happy, even giddy, that what I would count them the day after, they would experience that night first hand.
Tobi Neumman (Cocoon) was headlining Output that night along with Carsten Jost, and Daniel Bell. Typically, that's not a beginner's line up, but rather one for the seasoned vets. After we checked our coats, I felt myself hold my breath slightly, as my parents were assuaged by the powerful sound of Funktion Ones. A slight moment of worry passed through my heart, but when my mother moved towards the dance floor and literally started grooving, shifting her weight from knee to knee and donned a smile from ear to ear. My father, just a bit older, took a few more minutes of warming up, then joined her on the dance floor. We got a few people coming up to us telling my parents they're the cutest and coolest couple at the club. It was role reversal and now I beamed like a proud parent of my "children". As the night progressed, my father turned to me and said, "This is just like the days I would go to the disco in Paris! It looks like not much has changed." He's right. Not much has changed. House music being a derivative of disco is completely relatable to an older generation, a generation that I would say that is even less square than what our generation is today. The line up may have been for those in the know, but the music still spoke universally.
Eager to hear my parents' thoughts, I probed them as we left the club. I was looking for their approval of the club, and through their approval a confirmation of doing what I love. So, what did you think? A series of compliments cascaded from their mouths - it seems Output had earned an A+ in their critical opinions. I became momentarily jealous, as I, their own daughter, hears more chastising than praise of late. Their comments started from the very beginning with the bouncers and security that looked capable and kept good order, making them feel safe (which is always a mother's chief concern). My father went on to say it was very well planned out with room to breathe, and they both chimed in on the dark, modern decor. Although my parents comprehend underground music, I was not quite sure they would understand the underground setting that warranted darkness and I wrongly assumed they may reject it. But as parents often do, they surprised me. So it looks like Output had pleased its most sensitive clubbers - my parents.
So it may not be a night when you bust out the illegal contraband, the night you bring your parents out, but the feeling of satisfaction you get from giving someone their youth back, even if it is just for a moment, is a greater high than any drug can give. Your parents are still people and probably after raising you, they deserve a night of amazing music where they can relive their days before they were tied down with responsibilities, kids, and being caught in the course of life.
Listen to Tobi Neumann on Pulse Radio