A couple of nights a month, a nomadic dance party takes place in Seattle called Night Shift. The event roams throughout the city, taking over an assortment of venues, including art galleries, event spaces, concert venues and night clubs—just to name a few. People from all walks of life come together for these exciting and high-energy parties. On Saturday, July 10, Night Shift held their most recent party at Love City Love on Capitol Hill. Check out Christopher Reicks’ photography of the night below.
The evening was nothing short of celebratory, as Love City Love’s intimate basement vibes made for a raw and gritty dance experience, something that is often hard to find in Seattle. Night Shift often take place at venues that may be slightly off the radar, but ultra-cool nonetheless. If you haven’t been by Love City Love already, their talented team stripped down a working dry cleaners into a fully functioning event space. The still existing dry cleaner’s sign at the front of the venue had everyone feeling like they were in on a secret party. Be sure to stop by Love City Love any given Wednesday, where they have a multitude of local artists perform at an open mic.
One of the Night Shift founders, Joseph C. Guanlao expressed his first and foremost aim to create a safe place for people of color, and what better way to create an appealing and attractive push towards that ideal than with celebration and dancing in a community of mutual respect? As a woman of color, night culture (both in Seattle and across the US) has increasingly grown to feel more and more unsafe and unwelcoming, but this party has made great strides in changing that. I went to Day Shift the weekend before (a day version of the same event, which happens bi-weekly) and remember noticing how it was one of the first times where there truly wasn’t a majority relative to race or gender. Night Shift has also recently partnered with C.A.R.E.S. (Compassionate And Respectful Engagement Squad)—a Portland-based entity which aims to foster safe environments and encourage discussion about consent—by introducing consent cards. The cards were available at the front of the venue for anyone to pick up as they got their entry wristbands. The front of the cards say “I came here to dance.” Guanlao commented that, “Night Shift supports consent culture, and the consent cards themselves are meant to empower and educate our partygoers.”
Being at Night Shift was a refreshing return to dance as the cathartic and creative expression that it’s supposed to be. In terms of openness and diversity, the scene felt international, with an unspoken understanding that everyone was there to just have a fun and safe time. Night Shift’s promotion is minimalistic and concise, calling themselves simply a “dance party” while disclosing the next chosen location. Night Shift creates a positive vibe, organically manifested from the sheer efforts of this young community to have places where there doesn’t need to be a majority or stereotype that dominates a bar or a party. It was nothing short of inspiring to see such a youthful crowd in Seattle effortlessly embrace a culture submerged in music, dance, art and fashion.
Besides the awe of community building and coming together, Night Shift is generally a kick-ass party. With a stacked lineup of talented local DJs, the crowd at these secret get togethers feels like all that is left of cool in Seattle. The musical direction of booking for Night Shift is “open format,” in which they look for DJs adept at playing through multiple genres and styles of music, whether it be hip-hop, house, club, disco, funk or anything in between. And for or all you dance Gypsies, be sure to join their mailing list to get updates on when and where these parties take place! The next Day Shift is July 17th at Ciudad in Georgetown, from 3pm-10pm. If you can’t make it this Sunday, Night Shift will once again be on at Neumos on August 6, with a bigger venue to accommodate a larger crowd.