It’s 3am on a Saturday night (Sunday morning). I am just popping out of CATCLUB for a moment to get the camera from my car. The queue is still long outside… people patiently waiting to get inside, while drinking cans of beer so that they can be ‘ready to party’ immediately once they are inside.
I had been at the party since 1am and people have been arriving non-stop since then. By around 4am, there are around 1000 persons inside. And this, despite the fact that the party takes place at the Wild Gallery, which is not the most central location…The venue is huge. Around 800 square metres, post-industrial space with very high ceilings and a blunt whiteness. But the space is always made interesting by the CATCLUB team, with split levels, carpets and a huge dance floor. Varying lighting and imposing art installations provide an interactive experience…something more than music and dance. Technology, art, Persian carpets, plants all fitting strangely but perfectly together. The walls however, remain naked… endless square metres of bricked walls covered in pure white paint, which makes everyone and everything going on much more visible.
The music is always electronic and ranges from Deep House, to Detroit Techo. It is provided by the very best DJs from around Europe and occasionally even from the US. The sound systems are top quality and offer a purity of sound that intensifies the experience while helping people not getting tired during the long party hours.
All these provide a very underground environment, which inevitably attract a certain type of people. Which type of people is difficult to define as the usual crowd consists of people who are very different and very similar at the same time. There are straight men and women and gay men and women. Usually bisexual or bi-curious. There are people in their twenties, in their thirties, in their forties. I even saw some people in their fifties. So, what unites them? I think what unites them is that they are all interesting. Most of them are artists, photographers, writers, architects…all of them interested in fashion, disheveled boys with beards, tiny women with short hair in sneakers and backpacks... all of them with trendy haircuts and trendy clothes.
The main dress code is black and jeans, while printed shirts and dresses are also present. All of the people seem liberal, politically, socially, sexually. All of them united by a love and a need of release, of letting go, of getting lost in rhythm and bass. All of them united by an addiction to pleasure, beauty, art, and aesthetics, as a conscious decision that not much else in life ultimately has much meaning. I guess they are all people who somehow do not fit into the mainstream, capitalist society. But all of them fitting together in these beautiful parties that offer a safe heaven for them.
The intensely liberal environment leads to people kissing, touching, making out in every corner or right in the middle of the dance floor. But while the atmosphere is buzzing with sexual tones, there is no nudity, no bimbos, no harassment, no twerking, no poll dancing, no violence, no shouting. On the contrary, the people are nice. They are tolerant. They are kind to one another. And this makes the atmosphere very relaxed, easy going, live and let live.
CATCLUB is an institution in Brussels. For all the right reasons. It has been going strong, getting more and more popular for almost 10 years and is the most successful underground electro party in Brussels. Part of its success is the always perfect organization. Everything always runs smoothly…there are no technical problems, no delays, no accidents.
Another part of its success is the almost nerd-like care in choosing the best DJs from around Europe. This provides an attraction to the parties in themselves. At the same time, the parties only take place around 8 times per year, which make them hotly anticipated…so hotly anticipated that people tend to organize their life schedules around them, in order not to miss the monthly parties.
But the biggest part of what makes it successful is the organizer Lady Jane. Jane is one the most pioneering DJs in Belgium and is part of the contemporary art scene in Brussels. Her personality, art connections and style tend to attract the most interesting crowds to her parties. At the same time, it is her who choses the DJs, it is her who choses the art, it is her who makes sure that everything runs to perfection. My only wish is that she would DJ at her CATCLUB parties more often. Her soulful and sensual sound is usually the perfect compliment to the artistic environment.
I guess what I am trying to say with all the above is that I love the CATCLUB parties. I love them. I love everything about them. I go there even if I am alone. I go there to drink, dance, Iook at people, look at art. And while I am not personally part of the art world and do not have much in common with the usual world, I always feel welcome there. I always feel comfortable there. And I always leave feeling elevated. Problems of the week, of work, of mandate tasks, of boredom, fade away.
Good techno music indeed has this effect. It stimulates the mind in a way that it either enhances thinking or blocks certain thought processes. And this effect, together with the pleasure-filled environment provide the perfect combination. I couldn’t recommend it more strongly.
To stay updated on the CATCLUB parties, the best thing to do is to like the facebook page .