“Speak In Tongues”: Max Lawrence’s guide to 5 queer parties you need to attend after lockdown

Speak In Tongues

Melbourne queer alt-popster Max Lawrence is back with a new single this week, the bold and infectious “Speak In Tongues”. 

The single, which sees Lawrence once again working with his long-time collaborator Rino Darusman, is an exploration of the interplay of physical desire and possession. “It’s about wanting to kiss someone but having no idea what to say”, Lawrence explains. “Saying everything with your bodies rather than words and communicating in the ancient language we’re all united by, our senses.” In many ways then, it’s also a celebration and homage to the queer clubs that play such a central role to the community. 

To celebrate the release of the single, and in a bid to rekindle that connection to those spaces, Lawrence enlisted an array of drag performers for special “Queers at Home” edition of the new single. The video features a number of Melbourne Drag and Fringe favourites including: The Beastie Girls (Lazy Susan, Zelda Moon, Benign Girl), Bathsheba, Alex De Porteous, and more.

“In isolation I’ve really missed queer club spaces and the amazing drag performers and community surrounding it, so I wanted to bring us together in virtual space to stay connected and continue to celebrate, even while Melbourne is in lockdown” – Max Lawrence

And, in further celebration of those much missed queer club spaces, Lawrence has also compiled a guide to the cream of Melbourne’s queer nightlife, and the parties you need to hit up once this pandemic is finally over. So, over to Max.

So Melbourne’s in lockdown once again, and for the foreseeable future. That means no clubs, bars or parties and goddamn I miss them. I’ve realised that maybe I took queer club spaces for granted, and the liberating and euphoric energy they grant to anyone that enters their hallowed, glitter halls. They’re a place where we can show up and be fully seen and celebrated for who we are and who we desire to become, and I really long for that feeling once again.

So I’ve compiled a list of 5 delightful queer events you NEED to attend when we return to a world that can party. I have hope.

Gaytimes Festival

I’ve heard people describe Gaytimes as one of the best queer festivals in the world, and I’d have to agree. Pure love and joy pulse throughout this festival. You can feel it in the air, every single soul on that field is beaming out their best queer selves, lifting each other up and celebrating the sensory world.

It’s a place where live music, drag, performance art, comedy, workshops and every other medium for queer expression soar into life. Gaytimes has it all, from a drag troupe of Italian Nonna’s wielding comically oversized salami sticks to a chaotic strut through the mud as queens and queer’s compete in the annual Gaytimes ‘walk off’, creating the perfect spectacle of glamour and grit. Gaytimes is my happy place, a perfect haven of queer joy.

Honcho Disko

A staple of queer nightlife here in Melbourne, every Thursday at the 86 on Smith St. I only really started to love my adult self when I started going to Honcho, and finally felt seen and accepted by a community I admire. I found empowerment and agency in the pulsing disco house bouncing off those four walls and the people that received it so willingly.

My favourite thing about Honcho is the bizarre and filthy drag and performance art, and how anything and everything goes on that stage. It’s like a lucky dip of the surreal, absurd, glamorous or just straight up disgusting every time those curtains close just before a performance. It’s thrilling and I love it. I’m vowing to be there every week after lockdown so I’ll see you there!

Blanke Pop 

An iridescent, beautiful neon playground providing release through music, dance and performance art. It’s disco, house and techno interspersed with chaotic AF performers who glow under the other-worldly UV lights. It’s like an underwater reef rave on Neptune. Big bi and gender diverse energy and the feeling in this room is SO right. 


If gritty, hypnotic techno and almost naked bodies are your thing then Barba is it. It’s big Berlin energy and is pure hedonism. Definitely one to experience at least once if you want to dive in the deep end and see what happens.


Gender is thrown out the window at unicorns, it’s a haven for all types to rock up in their best and shiniest to celebrate and create magic. Queers at their finest, challenging norms of expression and doing it with SO much poise, effervescence and joy.


I know it feels weird to be talking about parties and events right now, and that they feel like a lifetime away. But, these spaces give so much life to so many people. I want to hold out hope for their return, and create music that’s born of those worlds. My latest single “Speak In Tongues” is about that feeling in the club, when you really want to kiss someone but have no idea what to say, and paints desire as a kind of possession by the forces of the sensory world.

I just love queers, and our nightlife, and those affirming and liberating experiences we all thrive in. Once this is over and we’re partying again you’ll find me there. Come say hi, and let’s unite and have the best boogie we’ve ever had. Stay strong Melbourne. We’re apart but not alone. I love you!

Max Lawrence’s “Speak In Tongues” is out now. Download your copy HERE. You can keep up to date with Max via Facebook and Instagram.

Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.