Without a nightclub, Club Underground goes deep online

DJ Larry G of Club Underground

How do you run a club night with no club?

Like many musicians and outlets for music in the time of the COVID-19, you take it online. That’s what L.A. venerable Club Underground has done the past two Friday nights.

The night — which celebrates its 20-year anniversary next year — has a modest but passionate following for its mix of Britpop, New Wave, post-punk and electro music, much of it from or derived from the ’80s and ’90s. The independently promoted Club Underground has been a Friday night staple at the Grand Star Jazz Club in Chinatown the past several years.

When the stay-at-home order shuttered the venue, co-founder Lawrence Gjurgevich (aka Larry G) looked around for online portals from which he could broadcast. “After a full day or two of research, I went with Mixlr,” he says. “It’s fairly easy to use as you can play your feed directly into their site (much like an online radio station). So say you have your Mac and a mic that you can plug into your computer (you could use the built-in mic as well). You run the sounds before going live and it gives you EQ levels so it’s not too low or distorted. Basically it’s the station’s soundboard.”

Broadcasting from their own page on the site, the results have been good so far — it’s not hard to imagine devotees dancing (and singing along) to the Smiths in their living rooms, and the website’s chat function makes it pretty interactive. Gjurgevich says that last Friday night’s Club Underground kept going until past 2 a.m., drawing more than 500 unique listeners and having between 50 and 90 people in the chatroom at any one time.

Of course, there’s no cover charge or bar tabs to settle — the tradeoff for having to party in relative solitude.

Club Underground has even expanded its broadcasts to include dinnertime sets on weeknights, which sometimes stretch into the evening.

One thing for sure, there’s no more perfect setting to hear Joy Division’s “Isolation.”