If BBC3's experimental comedy show Bamboo proved anything, it was that the word superclub is a tricky tagline to attach to any venue. The title alludes to promises of expansive space, bars lined with drinks and enough electronic trickery to power a nuclear submarine, all melded together in the pursuit of entertainment excellence. It's a label gifted to scarce few places around the world, each of which are steeped in clubbing history, London, Ibiza, New York, Las Vegas and now Cardiff. Where the capital is famed for it's smaller venues and their fiercely loyal crowds I was almost apprehensive on reading the news that Maddison and DC were opening up soon. Nonetheless I got myself on the guest list for their opening night secret party and headed down to see if DC really could live up to it's superclub claims.
I'm very happy to report that it didn't just meet my expectations, but surpassed them to a ridiculous degree. We entered through the classic red rope to a labyrinthine twisting corridor that eventually led out into one of the most impressive entertainment spaces I've ever seen. The main room of DC is cavernous, with a modern decor almost spartan in its effective simplicity, an upper level gallery wrapped around a huge open floor with a glowing staircase that hugs one wall. Several bars nestle in alcoves and amongst this expanse of sleek black, the only colour, aside some of the patrons comes through the lighting.
Where the bottom walls, adorned behind the bar with jellyfish motifs appear to glow in the pale bioluminescene of those creatures in various colours, the main attraction is a central framework of lights that wouldn't appear out of place in a broadway musical. Thousands of LEDs dot below the gallery level and the central console swings beams and lasers through the smokey air, provided extra drama thanks to inbuilt smoke machines in the walls.
After a couple of tunes, at 11.45 things went quiet and in an orchestral rush the music properly kicked off, a cinematic introduction dropping into Sub Focus's Turn Back Time, pumped through a sound system that wouldn't be out of place on the main stage at Reading. I don't seek to exaggurate in saying that the bass, when up at full whack nearly blows you away the first time you hear it, and it certainly left a permanent grin on my face! DC really is kitted out with no expense spared and we headed back down to enjoy a selection of fantastic electro-house, from recent hits Shot Me Down and Animals to old school classics including a fabulous rework of Insomnia by Faithless.
The floor started to fill quickly through a technoesque remix of I Need Your Love and we settled in at the back where a standing bar provides relief for tired feet. The music dropped into a more laidback RnB vibe before the main attraction of the night, old school garage act DJ Luck & MC Neat, who led with a great selection of garage and breakbeat classics that revitalised the room. What really impressed me however, which was almost surprising, is the image that DC gave off to me.
For a superclub, DC lacks any of the pretention which sees certain Las Vegas spots charging thousands of dollars a cocktail, the drinks are well priced and the DJ booth sits amongst the crowd. Clubbing is a great social equaliser, regardless of background you shouldn't have to pay a little extra to sit down or mingle in a smaller room, it's all about the collective emotive response to fantastic music that unites people, regardless of background. Unlike many places where access to VIP can be bought or through batting your eyelashes and heels at the bouncers, DC stands alone in making a true distinction between punter with a table and those they deem VIP, it's invite only, no exceptions and I find that refreshing.
Although this was a prelaunch party and the real acid test comes tonight with Smack taking charge of the music, I reckon that DC has the potential to stand out from anywhere else in Cardiff and truly deserve its superclub strapline. Richard Jackson and his team have done a fantastic job in creating the setting for dance music nirvana and with a packed crowd, there for their love of electronic music as opposed to merely posturing it could rival nearly anywhere in the world. Here's to the future, keep that bass turned up loud!