Spit. Spize. Malibu. Club-goers of a certain age remember Long Island's nightlife emporiums of the 1980s, when all-night new wave dance parties could be found from Lido Beach to Huntington on a typical Saturday night. Revelers would bounce from club to club - with car radios tuned during the driving time to 92.7 WLIR (later WDRE), a station dedicated back then to bands like the Go-Gos, Blondie, Depeche Mode, New Order and other alternative bands.
While all these venues have long since closed over the years, those who want to relive the heydays (or experience them for the first time) can still feel the vibe at a few new wave club nights - including Friday night Subculture parties, now being hosted at Broadway in Amityville after relocating this week from its former home at Shy Lounge in Levittown.
The '80s appeal
The Subculture party is organized by DJ Tim Cody, who once played at new wave parties at the now-defunct Chunky's in Mineola and LUXE in Levittown.
"I loved the music and the very friendly clientele that came with it," he says. "It was a very accepting scene for those with a different taste in music and style . . . no one was judged for the way they dressed, danced or looked."
On a recent Friday night, Subculture's crowd was mixed. Club-goers in their 20s and 30s danced alongside quite a few patrons in their 40s, who, Cody suspects, were once regulars at the original or revival new wave dance parties around Long Island at venues such as Paris NY, Thrush, The Angle and Voodoo.
Black - lots of it. Patrons tend to celebrate the emotional, darker side of the music with appearances best described as "goth" or "industrial." That means black clothing, shoes and the occasional heavy black eye makeup and lipstick. Hair styles ranged from long and shaggy to fully or partially shaved statement-making styles.
But not everyone looks the part - some in the crowd were wearing everyday T-shirts and jeans. That's the look favored by Chris Gray, 40, who says he used to spin at Spize in Farmingdale in the late '80s and early '90s - though, back then, the North Massapequa native admits, he did try the "combat boots and fatigues" look.
What you'll hear
Expect alternative favorites from groups such as The Cure, Depeche Mode and The Smiths - plus lots of poppy one-hit wonders ranging from "Come On Eileen" to "Mickey."
Cody occasionally goes off on themes that tribute the now-defunct 92.7 WLIR station or the late movie director John Hughes, who delivered classics like "The Breakfast Club" and "Sixteen Candles," which helped fuel '80s music fever in the first place.
While many club nights bring to mind frenzied pickup scenes and occasionally boorish behavior, Subculture's atmosphere is among the friendliest, attitude-free parties to be found. The official dress code is casual. As for the velvet rope factor at the door - it's about zilch.
"Young people, older people - age doesn't matter in our club," Cody says. "The music and dance floor will always be here."
SUBCULTURE: 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Fridays at Broadway, 198 Rte. 110 (Broadway), Amityville, 516-679-9655. Cost: $5-$7 cover
A slightly darker affair than the Subculture party, this smaller venue is now hosting DJ Rob Nitro spinning deeper cuts of new wave - although plenty of familiar bands and songs are still on the playlist. The crowd skews a bit younger here, still with plenty of black clothing but also a bit trendier.