It’s no secret that Montreal is home to an abundance of queer nightlife and events.

Since moving here in 2013, I’ve had the chance to explore countless LGBTQ-centric happenings throughout the city. From events produced by Lez Spread the Word, to any evening spent at Mado, Stud, NDQ, or Never Apart, Montreal has its bases covered.

Delia Beatriz playing at Eastern Bloc. Credit: Never Apart

What I and many of us find special and unique about Montreal’s electronic music scene is its queerness. Shows at Drones, Stereo, and many of our city’s electronic music venues paint a picture which includes a queer presence. We’re truly lucky to have music spaces where LGBTQ+ people are able to just dance, connect with their identity, and enjoy themselves without the fear of harassment! I know I can speak for many in saying that queer spaces make me feel more comfortable while attending techno and house shows.

From the moment I dove headfirst into the world of techno, I’ve wondered if some kind of queer-centric techno event would ever come about. Montreal is home to incredible techno shows, artists, and also home to a ton of queer people who love techno. So, can these factors be combined into one event? Yes. Yes they can. Introducing: HEAVY LOAD, a brand new event dedicated to techno for Montreal’s LGBTQ+ community!

Credit: MPU – Founder of MPU Francois Guimond playing at MPU

Launching this Friday at Bar La Shop, this party is everything so many of us have been waiting for; a queer-centric event produced by queer people, featuring a queer crowd, and of course, start to finish techno! Produced by Guillaume Bell (Diskommander) in partnership with Alexandre Beaulieu (Lx b), Heavy Load will give both queers and allies a chance to celebrate techno in all of its queerness.

So who are the artists for this installment of Heavy Load? A well-known figure in Montreal’s queer panorama, Guillaume Bell was first noticed through his nightlife photography. As a DJ, he integrates the madness and intensity he’s witnessed over the years into his inexhaustible energy, inimitable attitude, and atypical musical selection.

Guillaume joined the MPU team in 2013 because he was in alignment with MPU’s vision of offering a selection of electro-alternative music that was missing within the Gay Village. Finding it unreasonable that the residents of Hochelaga needed to leave the neighborhood for LGBTQ events, Guillaume founded Luvhaus in Hochelaga, successfully offering a queer social platform to one of his favorite neighborhoods. I reached out to Guillaume to ask him about how the idea for a queer-centric techno event came about:

Heavy Load was conceived because I thought we were missing a 100% techno night within our community; a night that would showcase a selection of bold, high quality techno. Presently, queer techno events are rather rare, hard to find, and are almost always in the form of an after party, forcing people to go out really late (or really early!). It was important for me to offer an event that’s accessible to everyone during regular club hours. This is what Montreal is missing.”

Opening and closing at La Shop this Friday is Lx b. You may have seen him play recently at Cabaret Lion D’Or, District events, or at Plan B in Montreal’s Mile-End, where he spun solid techno for a very, very queer crowd. Having discovered a serious passion for electronic dance music while visiting Montréal in 2015, he describes his first exposures to extended DJ sets as life changing; moved by how people from all walks of life, ages, races, sexual orientations and genders harmoniously share a dance space.

Truly inspired, he relocated to Montreal and threw himself into the world of DJ-ing. Through a stream of recent bookings as Lx b, he’s established himself as an emerging artist, developed his own sound by spinning techno, dub, minimal and deep house, and continues to create a truly cathartic dance experience wherever he plays.

Queer identity has played a crucial role in the history and development of rave culture, techno, and Montreal’s electronic music scenes as we know them today. Honey Dijon, Frankie Knuckles, and countless other queer artists have forever changed the world of electronic music and DJ-ing. If you’re interested in queer history and the history of dance music, definitely take a peek at this RA’s article “An Alternate History of Sexuality in Club Culture”.

A snapshot of Luvhaus’ 1st Anniversary @ Blockhaus

Queer events are important. Queer events are inclusive. Heavy Load is a queer-centric techno event that’ll explore the limits of techno, provide a safe place to dance, and bring the party experience back to its roots.

Come celebrate techno and queerdom this Friday at Bar La Shop! Tickets are $5 before 11PM and $8 afterward. A reminder that there’s ZERO tolerance for homophobia, transphobia, sexism, racism, violations of consent or any other forms of disrespectful attitudes and/or behaviour at La Shop this Friday.

You can check out the Facebook event HERE

See you on the dance floor!

Article by Hunter Noble Lyons