Halloween to come early to Urbana’s Rose Bowl Tavern


Photo courtesy of Alexander Klec

The Rose Bowl Tavern, located in downtown Urbana, will be hosting their “Halloween in July” event featuring DJs from the C-U area this Saturday.

By Aidan Sadovi , Contributing Writer

The Darkness Underground, a roving collective of DJs who hold goth-inflected dances, parties and raves in Champaign-Urbana, is dropping its tent poles at the Rose Bowl Tavern to celebrate the most macabre time of the year — but a couple of months early. 

On Saturday, the Rose Bowl will host the Underground’s “Halloween in July” event, which will include lengthy DJ sets, fire and belly dancing, and, in keeping with the theme, a costume contest. 

The Darkness Underground holds shows at the Rose Bowl Tavern on the last Thursday of the month under the moniker of “The Bat Factory.” Lead DJ and Darkness Underground member Alexander Klec — whose stage name is Alexander Audiophile — said the event is reaching unprecedented levels of turnout. 

“Lately, it’s been just a blink — and there’s people everywhere,” he said. “There’s a lot of unfamiliar faces, which is a good sign.” 

As for the upcoming “Halloween in July” show on July 16, Klec called it one of Darkness Underground’s “premier events.” 

While this is not the first time Darkness Underground has held a “Halloween in July” show, Klec said this year’s iteration was the first time the group has “sat down and got a lot of planning done.”  

“A lot of things are going great,” he said regarding the sizable planning for the event, “because the Rose Bowl is a great venue to work with.” 

For the DJing sets, Klec is slated to spin at the beginning and end of the night, while six other DJ — many of whom are part of the Darkness Underground collective, as well as two from Indianapolis — will be sandwiched in between. 

Klec said he distanced himself slightly from the word “party” to describe the events that the Darkness Underground organizes. 

“Although a lot of our nights are based in a bar and club environment, we’re trying to evolve past that and have gatherings that are not based around alcohol so we can have a broader demographic,” he said. 

“That is some of what we do, but there is a lot more in the culture, you’ve just gotta know where to look,” he said, explaining the goth scene that Darkness Underground occupies and hopes to enlarge. 

Admission for “Halloween in July” will be limited to ages 18 and up, and there’s a 21+ requirement to buy alcohol from the bar. For the costume contest, there will a “camp vamp” theme, in which judges will act as camp counselors. 

Though the typical music that can be heard at Halloween in July and other similar Darkness Underground events straddles the line between goth and industrial music, Klec explained that a broad spectrum of musical subgenres — like post-punk, new-wave, synth pop, metal, shoegaze, goth rock and more — appear in the DJs’ repertoires. 

“I try to call it ‘Dark Alternative’ as a grand category, but everyone is going to have their own mindset on what the music is … its primary function is to facilitate dancing,” Klec said. 

Earlier in the evening, Underground’s music will be lighter — which Klec described as “elegant goth” — before transforming into heavier, more industrial styles as the night goes on. 

Klec, a former dancer himself, said it was fun to host an event in an environment where people can “cut loose, and hopefully dance without any fear or judgment.” 

The doors to the event are scheduled to open at 7 p.m., and the party will last until 2 a.m. Tickets, which will be sold at the door, are $10.