by Ben Clissold
Young people probably have the best social lives of any group around. If you do not go out at least a couple of nights a week, you are not trying; some of us manage (occasionally) six or seven. Movies, concerts, and parties alone keep us fairly busy, but occasionally there is a night when none of these options are available. This is when the good old nightclub comes to the rescue.
Nightclubs have a strange image. People who go regularly love them, and those that don’t, see them as sleazy, dodgy, and dangerous places. Needless to say, the latter is formed by media hype, and not reality. When you consider how many people who go clubbing, there aren’t many who get in trouble. I have seen way too many clubs, and have never seen a situation that a sensible person could not escape.
In a nutshell, a club is a place open late at night with loads of loud music, lots of dancing, and people trying to meet people. They are all people out to have a good time. For some it is a fashion parade, but for most it is just sociable. The layouts, lighting, and sound systems are pretty spectacular.
This feature is to help some of you out. Most people have no idea where to start, what to expect, and what is available. I would also like to mention that MAX MOOSE is the most comprehensive source of nightclub info in Melbourne.
Why People Visit Clubs
Despite popular opinion, not everyone goes to clubs simply to pick-up. Although a large number do, clubbers also go to have fun, dance, drink, hang-out, and pose. Clubs focussing on dance tend to be less sleazy, because people have gone out to have fun on the dance-floor. Also community based clubs (Casey's/Cheers, Jooce, and the Hallam Hotel), tend to be less sleazy as everyone seems to know everyone else, and people are basically hanging out.
Posing appears to go with the territory. Everyone dresses to kill, and buys drinks to suit an image. Illusions are served in shakers, just so guys do not have a ‘girlie drink’ glass in hand, and Corona, a beer hardly anyone drinks at home, is always popular in clubs.
To generalise, there are six categories of music: Alternative, Techno, House, Commercial Dance, Party/Retro, and R&B/Funk.
Alternative, these days, includes Seattle and indie bands. It means Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Offspring, right through to weird, unpopular music. Oddly, it is now more mainstream than techno.
Techno is simply defined as music without lyrics. It is not all rapid beat, but most is. Trance is completely different to Bass & Drum, although you can find both at most good raves.
House is harder to define. It is similar to techno, but it usually features words. At its light end it verges on commercial dance, as some would align ‘Beach Ball’ with it, but it moves through to techno, with only one or two words added.
Commercial dance is popular music, top 40; the type of music played on Fox FM. This is played at most venues on Saturday night.
Party and Retro are anything and everything from the ’70s, ’80s, and early ’90s. This is extremely popular as it offers something to all tastes, and everyone knows the words. The best retro nights play everything from the BeeGees to ACDC to Brian Adams.
Funk, soul, groove, rap, hip hop, and R&B, tend to be played together. They have slower beats, and are easy to dance to. You don’t move much, so you sweat less; it is very cool.
Where to Start
The best places to start out, are ones that play a broad range of music. This means the bigger clubs, like Metro, Diamonds, Ivy, or Redhead. These venues have multiple rooms, each room playing different music. You can wonder around and choose a room that you like. When you figure out what music you like, either stick with that club, or go to clubs that specialise in that type of music. If you like the main room at Lipstick (Redhead Thursday), then you will probably like Joy (Metro Friday).
There is no such thing as a ‘good club’ for everyone. What one person likes, another will hate. Other than reading MAX MOOSE for advice, often the best way to find ‘good clubs’ is to seek advice from a friend or sibling with similar tastes to you. Once you find a club you like, stick to it, as you will always have a better night there. You know you like the music, and people will come to know you, making you more welcome.
Whilst listening to word of mouth is natural, it is not as good as actually seeing a night for yourself. Everyone is different, and wants different things. Always keep in mind, that no sane venue runs two identical nights, so even if you did not enjoy Friday at a venue, you may find Saturday to be just what you were looking for.
What to Look For
Essentially, find something reasonably close to home, with music you like, the types of people you like, a good setting, and appropriate drink prices. Closeness to home is important, as taxis are not cheap, and you get sick of driving if you do not live near the city. Music is important, especially if you like to dance, but even if you do not, it is always in the background.
Finding the types of people you like is essential, as you might as well meet people you might like. Always keep in mind though, that dress code does not reflect class; trash can wear slacks too. The setting sets atmosphere, and determines whether you will dance or sit around getting drunk. Naturally a drinker should choose a venue with low drink prices.
What to Wear
Reading the profiles that are part of this site will help you to get that right. Given that girls pretty well get it right most of the time, and that I am a guy who knows nothing about what girls wear, I will describe what to wear in terms of a guy.
Most venues will accept people dressed in neat casual. This is how you would dress for a pub. Probably jeans, a T-shirt, and shoes other than runners are the go. The next level above that is smart casual, which is more or less black jeans or slacks, a shirt, and dress shoes.
The next step up is classy, which is usually slacks, shirt, and dress shoes. Some venues will specify no denim or collars so be aware. Finally, there is grunge, which is anything black, or weird.
What MAX MOOSE Offers
MAX MOOSE offers you the best of nightclubs. It has news, reviews, interviews, event listings, and even nightclub passes. If you want to know what is happening in Melbourne clubs, it will be on MAX MOOSE. There will also be giveaways like memberships, and tickets to special events.
For the clubs I even offer marketing advice (at a price).
Even if you just have a query about what night might best suit you, drop me an E-mail. We love your feedback and advice.
More than all of this, though. This is your site. Sure I run it, but your contributions are essential. If you would like to write a review or a profile, please do so. I might not publish it, but then again I probably will, and for budding writers it might represent the break you have been waiting for.