The old soap factory in a once-forgotten corner of England’s former-industrial capital must be lauded for its longevity, charting the rise, fall, and resurgence of Manchester’s club culture since 1994. Spanning 22 years of parties, with closures, re-openings, and a few redesigns thrown in to the mix, over the last 12 months Sankeys has retained its reputation as a powerful weekly magnet for anyone who enjoys dark rooms, loud speakers, and grade-A bookings.
Which is no mean feat. Its hometown is currently in rude health when it comes to all-night options, from small basement sessions to newly opened, purpose-built venues. Nevertheless, there’s not a local resident who doesn’t have a story to tell about this particular spot, with more added every Friday and Saturday.
A refreshingly simple layout involves a low-ceilinged, brick clad main room neither too big nor too small, usually reserved for tougher rhythms, and a lighter upstairs typified by less muscular tones, albeit there are no hard and fast rules here. Other than the quality of guests; Surgeon, Todd Terry, MJ Cole, Soul Clap, Wolf + Lamb, Kerri Chandler, Nina Kraviz, Derrick May, and Huxley were amongst 2015’s highlights.
Montreal natives know how to party, and how to appreciate the fleeting months of warmth they experience every calendar year by taking advantage of their lakefront beaches. That’s where Beach Club Montreal comes in, a sprawling 5000 person outdoor venue that knows what les habitants want and need — and provides it, from May to September. Situated on the sandy shores of Pointe-Calumet, it possesses a distinctly Balearic vibe with its cabanas and casual, bikini-clad attendees. Fittingly, Beach Club’s Ibiza festival is a popular attraction.
The club’s 2016 season kicks off on May 22nd with trance man Andrew Rayel and Marlo at the helm, while the following weekend sees David Guetta’s Beach Club debut. DJ Mag’s 2015 Top 100 winners Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike hit the sand in June, and the following months will see the likes of Erick Morillo, Carnage and Armin Van Buuren. It seems there’s something for everyone’s ears at Beach Club; and if even if there isn’t, who can say no to a bottle of champagne on a sparkling Canadian beach?
With Asia fast becoming an international powerhouse for EDM, it is no surprise to see The Palace — made up of multiple clubs — making its way steadily up our Top 100 poll.
Built specifically in 2014 as a nightlife and entertainment hub of The Philippines, it was the plush EDM nightclub beating at the heart of it all — where we found Dutch DJ Quintino holding fort with an international residency — that first caught the eyes and ears of us here at DJ Mag.
2015 alone has seen pretty much everyone in the commercial dance-sphere grace the decks, from Steve Aoki and Alesso to Martin Garrix and Kaskade all rocking out alongside body-popping robots and CO2 explosions in true Vegas style.
Around it lies two restaurants and a chic-red cocktail bar for more groomed ears, where you'll hear the tantalising tones of deep disco house and techno. There's also a separate daytime pool club where VIPs can catch rays in designer bikinis and sip on juicy umbrella drinks in cabanas, recreating the sexy vibes of a South Beach Miami pool party.
If you need proof that China is an ever-rising force in the global dance market, look no further than the ever-higher climbing Myst (which stands for Moving You, Stunning Trip). Located in Shanghai, the club is mindful of the world’s perception of the city, which tends to be nostalgic and rose-tinted, smoky and opulent.
As such the club is resplendent with the sort of features you just don't get at clubs over in The West: chief amongst these are a vast, back-lit water curtain that flows endlessly off to one side of the main room. As well as that, VIPs are catered for with no fewer than seven private party rooms and there are also lots of 3D mirror walls throughout the place.
The music is just as showy, and often relies on trance and EDM mega-stars for its kicks, whilst a glut of state-of-the-art technological features, lights and lasers, as well as tons and tons of confetti, often add drama to each party occasion. The last year has seen Tiesto pack the place out, Fedde Le Grand get people’s hands up and Steve Aoki doing whatever it is he does these days.
Unlike a number of other clubs in this poll, which rely on the larger than life sights and sounds of EDM to fill their cavernous confines, the Subbie is a different kettle of fish altogether. A steely, compact basement with a Bodysonic dancefloor on Jamaica Street in the heart of the Glasgow city centre, what this little club lacks in capacity (500), it makes up for with atmosphere.
Virtually a religious haven for any clubber in Scotland worth their salt, the family vibe is instated by long-standing resident nights like Sensu and Harri & Domenic's 21-year-old weekly, Subculture, while the intense energy levels are raised by the regular appearance of heavyweight underground guests such as Dixon, Motor City Drum Ensemble and Kerri Chandler.
First opened in the late '80s before temporary closing due to fire damage in '99, it's not afraid of branching out, launching Sub Hub pop-up parties across the party in April 2015 and its own mini-festival called Sub Club Soundsystem in May alongside a brand-new record label Nautilus Rising too.
In every sense of the word, Lux is a big club — it’s big with the locals, big with international celebrities from music and film and big in that it holds 3000 ravers at any one time. With one vast main room as well as a separate bar and roof space, the design is sleek and futurist with multi-coloured neons bathing shiny floors, a raised stage and tall pillars in light. Disco balls hang down from the high ceilings, plush curtains help absorb sound and lend a, well, lux feel to each party and a well stocked cocktail bar allows people to treat themselves up on the roof.
The last 12 months have been arguably the club’s finest to date, with a cool selection of underground events featuring the likes of Seth Troxler and Rodhad, Dekmantel and Karenn, Robert Hood and Gerd Jansen. As such, this might look like a palatial palace inside and out, but the musical offerings are as clued up and esoteric as they come. Their Green Ray party series is also noteworthy, and finds stars like Four Tet and
The story behind Lost Beach Club in Ecuador is nearly as convoluted as the tale of the cult TV series Lost, after which it is named. The shortened version is that owner Kami came to Ecuador just after the Millennium — after putting on parties in Guatemala and El Salvador — and fell in love with the tiny resort of Montanita on the west coast of South America.
He started throwing raves, built Lost Beach from the ground up, and also built the palatial Dharma Beach hotel — named after the fictional research project in Lost — to house visiting international DJs. These initiatives helped Montanita grow as a resort, and it’s now a destination holiday-spot for young Ecuadorians and adventurous international travellers.
The club itself is amazing — there’s loads of bamboo everywhere, and the inside space — The Cave — is a great place to rave into the morning hours, and possibly experience ‘weird disruptions in the normal flow of time’ — as in the TV series Lost. The club operates a ‘no EDM’ policy, so the roll-call of recent visiting DJs reads like a who’s who of the underground — Damian Lazarus, Soul Clap, DJ T, Steve Bug, Art Department, Jackmaster, Ben UFO, Miguel Campbell, Hunter/Game and Andhim are just a few who have lined up recently alongside talented resident DJs such as Slurm, George Levi, Melissa Santa Maria, Pancho Piedra and owner Kami himself.
In a party scene still dominated by samba, Brazilian country and pop music, the emergence of mainstream EDM, while insurgent, still only makes up a relatively small proportion of the largest South American nation's musical landscape. So it's impressive just how stoic and consistent this slick jet-black, laser-strewn box of iniquity has stayed throughout its 15-year lifetime.
Forming almost a decade before EDM was even a twinkle in David Guetta's eye, D-Edge has always been about one thing; top-class house and techno. Opting for an on-point, trend-setting booking policy to match its three sweaty state-of-the-art rooms, the club's head honcho and resident DJ Renato Ratier has made his name as a pioneer of underground values; a representative of subcultural Brazil inspired and revered by heads in the US and across Europe too.
With a decent label and regular nights such as Moving, Freak Chic and Mothership — the likes of which have welcomed Mar-T, Mind Against and Nicole Moudaber in recent months — D-Edge is not only the jewel of Sao Paulo's crown, it's a hi-tech stack of hedonism admired by switched on clubbers all over the world.
2016 saw this four-floor club celebrate 15 years in action by focusing even more on local talent. Located in Shibuya, it is usually known for offering up both cool and credible talents such as Nina Kraviz, DJ Tennis and Ben Klock, as well as bigger house names like Nic Fanciulli and drum & bass stars like DJ Marky.
As EDM continues to spread east, this club has reacted and now offers a fair smattering of EDM parties. The sleek and futuristic club, with its typically avant garde lights, lasers and massive disco ball, also hosts various festivals and special showcases with the likes of 2manyDJs and excellent local label Mule Electronic.
The start of 2016 saw it closed for a month for renovations but it is now back even better than ever with Andrew Weatherall, Henrick Schwarz and DJ Zinc all booked to play the coming months. Add into all this a notoriously friendly crowd and well-tuned soundsystem and you can see why it is the club that every decent DJ is desperate to play at.a
Like its namesake, Egg LDN is a blank canvas of possibility and its one constant, since opening 13 years ago, has been to constantly evolve. Case in point: in the last year the Garden was enclosed, turning it into to a another main room to join the Basement, the Terrace, the Loft and The Apothecary, multiplying the club's creative possibilities
These are fully exploited by parties such as Sabajaq and Berlin Berlin, which mix underground music, from the likes of Kate Simko, Mark Henning and ZDS, with a host of talented performers drawn from the ranks of the capital.
It's not just an eye for production that sets Egg apart though. Powered by a custom-built Flipside system, its sound is second to none. This makes it the perfect platform for our own DJ Mag Sessions, where we've hosted the likes of Pan-Pot, Omar S and ItaloJohnson over the last 12 months, many of these acts set to return to the club after their experiences.
It's a similar level of quality across the other roster of nights. The monthly Familia recently welcomed the Matthias Tanzmann, the Moon Harbour boss immediately posting the six-hour set he played on his SoundCloud, while in-house promotion Egg Presents continues to attract big names from the Adana Twins to Todd Terry. It was the final marathon Trade that will go down as one of the parties of 2015, though. Nina Kraviz, Nicole Moudaber and Christian Smith amongst those joining a procession of past guests and residents.