"This is so weird!" yells a girl as she dips her hand into the right eye socket of a giant skull. Not many clubnights start like this, but House of Mask isn't like many clubnights. Presented by Cubanisto, a rum-flavoured beer, House of Mask events have been popping up around the country since last summer, marking their locations with a neon sugar skull and bringing together the very best artists, DJs (previous guests have included Roska, Zed Bias, and B.Traits ), and street food together for one big bash. Last Friday's party saw House of Mask take over The Laundry in Hackney.
After dipping my own arm into the illuminated sugar skull's eyes, an invisible hand grabbed me and attached a wristband (which magically lit up later that night, – giving me access to a complimentary Cubanisto – nice). Wristband affixed, I stepped through the main doors, and was immediately handed a Venetian mask. So far, so strange.
Inside, the club was lit by a thousand glowing skulls and was heaving with masked revellers, soundtracked by heavy DJ set from the night's guest, Toolroom's My Digital Enemy. Masquerade balls have been around for over 500 years, but the template sure is adaptable for 2015: you suspect the 15th century aristocracy could've had a better time at it if they had more lights, more smoke machines, and more house music.