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words by Jesse from Exactly
all photos: Jane Briggs & Chris Chen

What the hell is the New York Night Train? I’ve been to 2 of these events now, and I’m still not sure, but I know it is awesome. Basically, head honcho and all-around character Jonathan Toubin throws parties under the Night Train banner, but I think some more explanation is required. From what I’ve seen, a Night Train party is going to take place in a nontraditional venue (like the Gold-Leaf-on-steroids Mercer Hotel, Glasslands or Santos’ Party House in NYC or our own Civilian Arts Projects art gallery), and feature sick bands (not hyping Exactly here, but there’s been HEALTH, Awesome Color, Kid Kongo, Gibby Haynes, Thee Oh Sees and Psychic Ills, to name a few), film projections, go-go dancers, and DJ’s spinning soul and funk 45’s all night long. The concept is basically entertainment overload in amazing spaces, and Toubin delivered on Saturday night.


First of all, if there’s a party at Civilian, one should really try not to miss it. The venue is cool as hell and Jayme doesn’t do events there very often. So the night already had a huge plus going for it right off the bat. DJ Nitekrawler warmed up the room as people filtered in and got situated, and before long, Exactly took the stage. It would be uncouth of me to offer a take on our set, so I’ll leave that to the comment board. What I will say is that we were stoked to have the lovely go-go dancer and entertainer extraordinaire Anna Copa Cabanna dancing for us during our set. Exactly upgrade.

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After our set, the room began to get packed, and whether it was the climate control in the gallery or Toubin’s hot soul selections, things got sweaty in there in a hurry. True to intentions, in between the bands’ sets, it was more like a dance party than a typical “stand around and wait” rock show situation. Psychedelic film loops were thrown by Spencer Bewley (another character, who has worked the reels for A Place to Bury Strangers, Warlocks and Death in Vegas) and Copa Cabanna and “Hula Hoop Harlot” Melissa Anne sparked the dance action on the floor. Despite the heat (or because of it?) there was actually a pretty cool dance floor going and the room was completely packed as Edie Sedgwick took the stage. One of DC’s funnest live bands, Sedgwick did not disappoint. Main shouter Justin Moyer taunted the audience and led his band through their Make-Up inspired skeletal organ soul jams.


After Sedgwick’s incredibly hot and sweaty set, some of the less hardy souls began to filter out, but again the dance floor was in effect. Anna Copa Cabanna led a bizarre interregnum during which she held the crowd transfixed by a solo xylophone performance of “Enter Sandman”, which was pretty awesome. Then back to the soul jams as aniticpation built for Kid Congo to take the stage. All during the night, Kid had been around the party in a white wig and progressively larger amounts of white prosthetic facial hair. Then more and more people began to appear sporting the unsettling fake facial hair. I thought they might have been Kid’s backup band, but such was not the case as the man performed solo. They must have been premeire-grade Kid fans. Cool. But what a show. Kid arrived in full-on mountain man mode, with the maximum white fake beard shit possible attached to his dome. Eyebrows, fu manchu mustache, stringy beard; basically, Kid is a badass. He launched into a couple of epic guitar-and-laptop jams, which included an extended take on the costume-appropriate “Rare as the Yeti”. Kid’s performance effectively closed out the night, as people staggered home exhausted.

All said, the Night Train was one of the funnest events I’ve been to in DC in a while. On behalf of everyone who had a good time at this event, we should thank Jayme McLellan for opening up her gallery to some awesome chaos and Jonathan Toubin for setting it all up.

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and jane’s turn now:

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