Location: Hasselt, Belgium
Boasting a labyrinth of rooms, Versuz is more of an entertainment complex than a club. Located in Hasselt, Belgium, it features a main dancefloor, a 1,200-capacity multi-purpose event room, an R&B-focused floor, a VIP area, a patio and a secret after-party venue. But that’s not all, as the Belgian superclub also offers an Italian restaurant, a whiskey and cigar lounge and a summer pool party area.
The club is famous for its flagship Saturday night event, Nightlife, which champions a wide spectrum of house, soulful and electronic sounds. On Fridays, Versuz puts trap, ragga, hip-hop and R&B in the spotlight as part of its Vibestr event series. The club also hosts an affordable party, called House of Students, on Thursdays, whereas the Monday slot is reserved for the Monnight concept.
Having booked global dance music heroes like Fedde Le Grand, Oliver Heldens, Joris Voorn, and Purple Disco Machine over the last year, the club has further cemented its reputation as one of Belgium’s dance music hotspots. Versuz has also hosted the Hasselt events of Ibiza institutions Elrow and Pacha, while this year will see disco extravaganza Glitterbox make its debut at the club.
Location: Paris, France
If you want to create a landmark club, what better way to do it than sticking the dancefloors on a boat and securing a 24-hour license? Probably none, as Parisian institution Concrete clearly proves.
The floating address, moored on the banks of the River Seine, has welcomed some of the most respected names in techno, house, drum & bass and experimental dance music since first setting sail, with recent months providing plenty of cases in point: Ancient Methods, Ron Morelli, the Lobster Theremin crew, DVS1 and Freddy K, Lone b2b Special Request, Henrik Schwarz live, Raresh and French legend I:Cube have all already jumped aboard in 2019.
Arguably the biggest sells, though, are the residents, many growing in tandem with the club’s reputation. This is the place François X, Shlømo, Leo Pol and Cabanne feel most at home, with 2018 welcoming DJ Mag one-to-watch Deena Abdelwahed to the fold, confirming those in charge know how to ensure this place remains as musically on-point as ever. Those looking to experience the waterborne mayhem in full swing should check the festival-like Samedimanche, when beats roll for 28-hours, giving ample opportunity to explore the decks and couch-strewn chill-out area.
Location: Mykonos, Greece
Cavo Paradiso is a place to go and soak up a blissful Mediterranean view, warm sunny days and balmy, starry nights. Located on top of a 30-meter cliff face washed by the Aegean Sea, it has one room and a terrace with a Funktion-One soundsystem, but what’s so majestic about it is how it manages to incorporate the island's natural beauty into its design.
As such it has a lush feel, with a big pool surrounded by bars, cool blue lighting and thousands of music-loving party people who get to dance in the natural elements. They are treated to a wide mix of artists and get to party late enough to see the sun rise from the horizon, which always makes for special moments and makes it an essential place to visit for any discerning clubber. Ricardo Villalobos, Marco Carola and Sven Väth have brought techno in the last year, while DJ Snake, The Chainsmokers and Steve Aoki have brought more big room sounds.
The last year has also seen the VIP area redesigned, while a continued focus on regional acts has also been important for the club’s Stathis Lazarides. “We have always supported our local and national DJs and give them new opportunities,” he explains. “We believe they play a vital role to the success of our shows.”
Location: Napels, Italy
In the 14 years it’s been around, Naples club Duel Beat has become a standard bearer for Italian clubbing. Thursdays last year were dedicated to live music and DJs playing indie rock from the likes of Kruder & Dorfmeister, while Fridays took a slightly different direction, looking to the world of TV for parties that twisted the virtual and the real with commercial music for something altogether surreal.
However, Saturdays is where the club really shines, with parties like Dogma, Mutate, Woo! and Deependence. Spinning at those events in 2018 were names like Moodymann, Moscoman, Pangaea, Palms Trax, Levon Vincent, and Larry Heard playing live as Mr. Fingers. The club even hosted a festival: the 12-hour Mutate, featuring I Hate Models, a live set from Detroit duo Octave One, and The Hacker.
Last year also saw plenty of improvements to the club, with the installation of a new video-lighting design, a Loud Professional audio system — the same as DC-10 Ibiza — and a new Italian-made soundsystem in Room 1, designed specifically for its characteristics. It’s that kind of attention to detail, along with its immaculate programming and verve for the avant-garde, that makes Duel Beat such a Neapolitan powerhouse.
Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Launched at the end of 2010, just when the American electronic music boom began to explode, Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub is the first nightclub in Las Vegas designed specifically with the EDM genre in mind. Just look at its flashy 40-foot LED DJ booth and projection stage for proof. Much like its opulent home, The Cosmopolitan, Marquee oozes Las Vegas excess: 60,000 square-feet of glitz and glamour, complete with seven bars and three lavish rooms, plus two dancefloors in the main room. The club is decked out with an advanced laser system — up to 200 laser beams for a single show — and a fat Funktion-One soundsystem.
Its sister component, the Dayclub is an outdoor facility built for endless summer vibes: eight cabanas, each with its own individual infinity pool, 10 three-storey bungalow lofts and an open-air party deck.
Marquee has beefed up its technological and design setups over the past 12 months via improved lighting, video, SFX and laser systems, in addition to a new floor and fresh décor. That all pairs nicely with the venue’s headlining talent and DJ residents, which vary from trance (Andrew Rayel), big room (Cedric Gervais, R3HAB) and house (Chris Lake).
Location: Tokyo, Japan
When WOMB first opened its doors 19 years ago, it was a fresh concept for Japan. According to the club, there was no nightclub “offering the world’s latest electronic music to Japanese fans”. Dedicated to their mission of bringing the crème de la crème of dance music to Shibuya, Tokyo, WOMB has grown to become one of the most important institutions in Japanese clubbing. By collaborating with the likes of London’s Fabric, Space Ibiza and Brazil’s D-Edge, WOMB introduced a generation of Japanese dance music fans to the world’s best talent and has been a regular feature in the Top 100 Clubs poll.
In the last year alone, they’ve hosted the likes of Marco Carola, Diplo, Danny Tenaglia, Pendulum, Mark Knight, Sven Väth, High Contrast and Solomun, and with residents like d&b expert DJ Aki, techno and house fusion party SESSION and bass music party N_U_O — a rising genre among Japan’s youth — WOMB continues to offer a vibrant mix of electronic music’s finest.
Boasting Asia’s largest disco ball over their main dancefloor, they’ve also recently opened a VVIP lounge section overlooking the dancefloor, and have upgraded their impressive soundsystem and installed new lighting systems and LED screens.
Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Reasons to visit Sofia, one of the oldest capital cities in Europe: ancient history, contemporary art and culture, and a food scene that spans the Balkans and the Mediterranean. The main reason to visit Bulgaria’s capital, however? That would be Club Yalta. Not only does has it been the beating heartbeat of the city’s club scene since 1991 — making it the oldest club in Sofia — it’s progressively moved with the times and currently books the biggest and best names in the house and techno scene, including Solardo, Richy Ahmed, Hot Since 82 and Eats Everything, as well as more alternative names like Nightmares on Wax.
Once you step inside, you’re greeted with a perfectly tuned Meyer M'elodie soundsystem and a beautiful minimal grey and black interior, perfectly offsetting the stunning views back across Sofia, which, come sunrise, flood the room in glorious rays of light as hedonistic hands usher in the new day. The real night owls will be downstairs at this point, however, lost in music in Room 2, a 500-capacity space with no WiFi or mobile reception or LED screens — making it the perfect after-hours rave space.
Location: London, UK
XOYO’s innovative resident series has continued to prove hugely popular in the last year. Offering extended 13-week runs that allow DJs to pick who they play before, during or after, the series welcomed Ben UFO this time last year, before Flava D, Hunee and finally Andy C's second sold-out residency all brought the masses to East London each and every weekend.
The two-room setup (and four-point sound in each) allows different musical vibes every night, while both spaces have also been renovated recently. Downstairs, this has seen the DJ booth move to a new location at one end of the room, while the upstairs room has also been “completely redesigned” so that now the walls and ceiling are covered in green and plant-based foliage.
A new weekly Saturday night, Pleasurehood, has also started recently, “with our incredible troupe of dancers and a music policy of pumping house and disco” adding yet another dimension to the club, explains Gregory Mostyn from club owners, The Columbo Group.
Next to the celebrated temporary residents — the latest of which to be announced is jazz-connoisseur and tastemaker Bradley Zero — XOYO has Saturday night resident and club “stalwart” Joshua James, who has just released an EP on Erol Alkan's Phantasy label. All bases covered, then.
Location: Barcelona, Spain
With five rooms featuring everything from pop to indie rock and disco, Barcelona’s Razzmatazz is about more than just seeing DJs. Over the years, the club has invited David Byrne, Coldplay, Orbital, Pulp, The Strokes, Kanye West, Blur, Belle and Sebastian, and Kraftwerk — some before they were famous. But Barcelona’s club scene is world-renowned, and this El Poblenou club — founded in 2000 — is one of the city’s best.
For techno and house, there’s the upstairs The Loft and Lolita, and last year’s bookings saw the likes of Anthony Parasole, Bjarki, Laurel Halo, Dr. Rubinstein, Paula Temple, Kornél Kovács, Interstellar Funk, Tama Sumo, Mall Grab, Oscar Mulero, rRoxymore, and Hodge. Normal stuff for this club. But in Barcelona of course, there’s June’s Off Week, which saw This Is Hardcore invite some of the best artists in the world for a week of madness.
For Razzmatazz, it’s all about balance; which is why the smaller spaces like Fuego and Razz Club bring under-the-radar acts and obscure sounds from Barcelona and beyond. With such a well-rounded vibe, and keen ear for what works, Razzmatazz surely has another 20 years of brilliance up its sleeve.
Location: Bogota, Colombia
Open since 2013, Bogota's Baum club has continued to thrive in 2018, with a raft of world-class bookings for its intimate, 900-capacity club space (many reckon it to be one of the best-equipped club spaces in South America). Anja Schneider, Lee Foss, Cassius, Adriatique, Mind Against, Robert Hood, Ben Klock, Guy Gerber, Amelie Lens, Modeselektor and The Martinez Brothers are just a handful of those who have passed through to join stalwart residents Hernan Cayetano, Mao Loading, Niklas Stadler and Stav.
Baum just celebrated its sixth birthday too, with sets from Italian producer and Drumcode regular Joseph Capriati and Zurich pairing Animal Trainer. 2018 saw the venue once again hooking up with Lyon's venerable Nuits Sonores festival too, welcoming in The Hacker and veteran French techno don Zadig. Meanwhile, the Baum festival will once again be happening in May this year, hoping to top last year's 12,000 turnout. The line-up is a blinder, featuring a host of blazing international artists like The Black Madonna, Matias Aguayo, Rødhåd, Steffi, Moscoman and Jeff Mills jetting in for the blowout.