I went clubbing not one night, but two nights this past weekend. On Friday, Feb. 23, I saw Palms Trax and Solar at Elsewhere, a nightclub in Brooklyn, New York. On Saturday, Feb. 24, I went to another nightclub called Good Room, featuring Antenes, Sofia Kourtesis, Amourette and Justin Strauss.
I’m going to be honest and say that I don’t know who was playing when I got there at 1 a.m. And I’m going to be honest and say that I don’t know who was playing when I left at 4:30 a.m. Some parts of my night are as foggy as the smoke machine in the clubs.
When we made it to Elsewhere, I was expecting the venue to be small and intimate, but when I walked in, I felt like I was going back in time to a middle school “Blackout Dance” at the local YMCA. At least those dances didn’t cost $25 and serve $8 beers. There was a stage where the DJ was set up and a large dance floor in the middle. This room was called "The Hall.”
Palms Trax and Solar were DJing together, playing house music. I would describe this music as fun and rhythmic. I’d heard Palms Trax before because I like a lot of artists on the Lobster Theremin label. His sound is reminiscent of Detroit Techno, so it’s always fun to dance to.
We explored the other, smaller room called “Zone One.” I wasn’t too keen to stay here, because the music wasn’t as fun as in "The Hall” — it was too intense. The beat felt dense, like it didn’t allow me to breathe. The room featured Delroy Edwards, Russell E.L. Butler and Andrew Devlin. I’m sure you’re wondering why there aren’t any women in this lineup, and well… That’s the electronic music scene for you. And I don’t think Elsewhere is doing much to change that.
My friend, Nathan Helms, wasn’t a huge fan of Elsewhere.
“Elsewhere felt thrown together by young people in an admirable DIY sense, but somehow failed to avoid corporate sterility," Helms said. "It was harsh and still felt huge even though every room was full."
Fast forward to Saturday night. I’ll skip the hangover in bed and the trying to revive our hangover with smoked salmon bagels and New York pizza.
We got to Good Room at about 1 a.m. We walked upstairs and made our way into — what do you know — more smoke machines! No wonder New York has such terrible air pollution. I immediately recognize the venue from an episode of “Master of None.” The entire place was dark, except the bar area that gave off a red glow — almost like a warning for the night.
Helms, who spent most of the night on the couch, didn’t love Good Room either.
“Good Room had a more comfortable aesthetic, but I wouldn't call it comfortable either," he said. "The entire place stunk of scented fog, and I felt so watched by security I couldn't relax. They literally had eyes on their black T-shirts — they looked and acted like secret police. Both places were like something you'd see on TV, but once you get there you realize the abstract spectacle is much better than the act of dancing in a room full of people that are happily overpaying for drinks.”
Helms made a good point.
The whole place felt fake, and I didn’t get the sense that the people were there for the music. The idea of clubbing intrigued me. You see it on TV and have this idea of what clubbing in the big city is like — dancing, drinking, meeting people and taking a break from the outside world.
But you have to deal with the logistics of all of that — you don’t have room to dance, no drink will be under $10, you won’t meet anyone that won’t want to punch you in the face and the “break from the outside world” sounds fun until you step outside and it’s daylight and raining and have to get a $30 Uber to get home. Not to mention the recovery in bed the next day until 5 p.m.
I went in to this whole experience with an open mind. I left with a cold and an empty wallet.