When DJ Per started mixing hip hop and dub into his sets, the woefully disappointed regulars of the Amsterdam institution, Melkweg launched a petition to make him stop. Club culture has since undergone some drastic changes since the early 80s.
While most of the mused-about spaces shut down (RIP RoXY), a handful of new clubs cropped up to claim their space in EDM history. Church-turned-artist-squat-turned-club Ruigoord allures guests with gleefully versatile, soul-elevating tight dubstep and dancehall sets, alongside visuals you’ll dream of for days. Basis Utrecht evokes the golden spirit of the olden days, serving some mean, heart-failure-inducing gabber sets in its enormous, soothingly minimalistic, industrial facilities. Meanwhile, OT31 is here to prove that music is anything but apolitical, inviting countercultural figures, outspoken leftists and everyone else to forget about the woes of the neoliberal era via prolonged sets of bone-crushingly minimalistic, goosebump-inducingly good techno. Lo and behold: the list of the lesser-known clubs that are about to redefine the meaning of mainstream.
This one’s not strictly in Amsterdam, but it’s worth the hike. Located in a village reclaimed by hippies, the church-turned club hosts an array of eccentric events. Take Church of Dub, a colossal series featuring hotshots like the Sun Collective and Radical Guru. Up-and-coming artists make regular appearances as well. Wizard, Rain Petit take care of the good vibes with some euphoria-inducing dancehall sets featuring a rich array of samples. Ruigoord welcomes artists with an expertise in dancehall, reggae, drum and bass and jungle. Occasionally, the club also holds dance and minimal nights, featuring industry legends like Prismode, Booka Shade, and Dominik Eulberg. As an official host of the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), a visit to Ruigoord is compulsory for dancehall-lovers and EDM-purists alike.
The interior shouldn’t go unremarked either. The former church is home to a first-class lighting system, with mandalas, Eastern motifs and magical colour formations projected onto the centuries-old, stone walls. Regardless of your religious views, a night out here is bound to send you into a state of religious ecstasy. The exceptional sets, the incredible atmosphere, and the friendly, welcoming crowd are just some of the basics to expect. What else? A night out you’re bound to remember forever.
A fully-fledged artist squat up until 1991, OT301 is the mecca of everything underground and counter-cultural. A hotbed of radical leftist political activities during the 90s and early 00s, the space used to serve as a meeting point for organisers, intellectuals and everyday people wanting some change. Now, OT301 hosts gatherings ranging from poetry nights to art performances and exhibitions. As it happens, they also throw the meanest techno parties known to mankind.
With Dekmantel-regular Lena Willikens, Chicago house legend Karel and long-term Drexciya-collaborator Dopplereffekt on the upcoming bill, it’s safe to say that every night out at OT301 is revolutionary. This season will see an over-due return to the olden days of gabber as well, with themed nights featuring Da Mouth of Madness, Zohar and the likes. To catch a whiff of the radical spirit of the noughts, check out the Strange Days rave. Want an escape from it all? This is the perfect spot: just let loose on in an ultra hedonistic, music-induced collective consciousness-raising.
If you’re after some inspiring conversations to take place in the smoking area, this one is your safest bet. Just be warned: you might launch the hottest artist collective or political pamphlet series in town by the time you’re finished queuing for the loo.
A cinema-cum-cafe during the day, the lofty, minimalistic space transforms into the very best club Eindhoven has by night. Some choose this place for the community, the good atmosphere, or the endearing deco. Techno purists come here to enjoy the mind blowingly-tight, complex, goosebump-inducing techno played by Esther Duijn, Albert van Abbe and the likes.
The cinema might play cult-classic, B-list flicks like Murder in the Front Row or Birth of the Cool. During the late dawn hours, that’s what precisely what party-goers will experience: a communal elation induced by some expertly mixed, inexplicably uplifting tunes.
A 300 minute set by the Zenker Brothers just doesn’t cut it? No problem. LAB 1’s very own Club: House the Vibe series should convert the most cold-hearted, EDM-adverse, opera-loving types. Attracting a crowd of hundreds each month, the event is a popular gathering spot for anyone wanting to experience the joy of electronic music. LAB1 residents like Alesya and Alar Motion are bound to get you all cheered up, regardless of musical tastes or expectation.
A stone’s throw away from the heart of Rotterdam, this gem is located in the Angisiebuurt, alongside the design studios, museums, and high-end retail stores. Our recommendation: ignore the art stuff and head to Transport straight.
Tucked away inside the basement of the Annabel Cafe, its interior was designed with the ultimate sonic experience in mind. Imitating the style of a recording studio, the industrial walls were covered in a thick, black vinyl padding. In conclusion: guests are strongly encouraged to immerse themselves in the genius beats supplied by electronic revolutionaries like Van Anh, Abstract Division or Khalil Ryahi. Not for the faint-hearted: the lineup was curated exclusively for the die-hard, melt-my-limbs-off-with-that-percussion types.
Wondering about where the name came from? The train station on the corner of the street. This isn’t an inventive, experimental, quirky local. The stringent minimalism serves a purpose: to emphasize the sheer miracle each act in this club sounds like.
“Don’t forget your ear protection,” reads an enthused review of Basis Utrecht. The factory-turned techno mecca caters to music-lovers with an exceptionally-constructed sound system, numerous on-sight bars, and themed stages. The current season’s hottest sellers include the self-taught genius who transformed the UK scene with bullet-sharp beats, Manni Dee, model-turned techno sensation, Rebekah, and legendary hip hop, witch house, and ambient DJ, Schlømo. With a lineup like this, you can safely expect an entire warehouse space filled with unbridled joy.
Located just off the labyrinthine, medieval-era streets of the Wijk C district, in spitting distance of the excessively beautiful Rhine riverbank. For the best experience, we advise heading there after the inevitably colossal night. If you’re after an unashamedly hedonistic, exceptionally-designed establishment with the finest sound system in the whole of Utrecht, BASIS might be worth a shout.