Thursday, March 03, 2005

Gotta Let You Go - Farewell Metropoliton

To call a nightclub an institution might sound like an exaggeration. But in the case of the Metropolitan we're talking about a real institution. Ok, I concede it requires a massive stretch of judgement to call a nightclub that was barely in operation for two years an institution, but what else do you call a nightclub that has become a seminal part of the city's electronic scene in that short space of time.

Last week the Metropolitan closed its doors to Dublin's clubbers, its brief tenure brought to an end by management who want to transform it into, as a friend so aptly put it, a "cuntin' Irish bar". Maybe Ireland's archaic authorities influenced their decision. Like the legendary Kitchen, the Metropolitan will one day be one of those you-should-have-been-there places, spoken of reverentially.

For me, the Metropolitan was the most underground place imaginable. Underground, not because it was a basement, but because it was left alive until this by dedicated enthusiasts: diehard vinyl junkies who still prop up the counters of record storesand people in dark recording studios who have day jobs and don't believe in major labels and huge advancements.

It was a large living room with a big ass bar and seats at the side, capable of holding only a few hundred. Sure, the sound wasn't always audible, the lighting was shit and the layout was appalling. And sometimes it might have seemed too iconic, too cool, too cliquish- but you could always find people with a passion for music, whether it be in Electric City or Refuge, who liked DJs you liked. Making friends there was easy, and it didn't always require gurning. You'd just sit at the side and invariably someone would come sit next to you and start chatting. The atmosphere was always affable and vibrant.

If you liked techno, Electric City on a Thursday night was your club. No frivolous shit. Unaffected by the rise and fall of dance culture and its overpaid DJs and gimmicky records, techno has remained a constant heartbeat in the real underground. And the techno scene revolved around Eden Quay. All the DJs I liked had played in the Metropolitan at some point: Decal, Francois K, Dave Clarke, Ben Sims, Speedy J, Alter Ego, The Hacker. Some of these guys wouldn't send you an e-mail for less than 2,000 quid, but the entry fee would always be something like 10 euros. Refuge, hosted by the Bassbin crew on Saturday nights, featured the finest exponents of drum'n'bass and jungle in Ireland. It was always a chaotic affair, thronged with fervent clubbers wrestling for space on the floor.

Despite last orders at the Metropolitan, Electric City and Refuge live on. Electric City will continue their techno terror at the swanky Traffic. Regardless of EC's assurances of a "suitably relaxed door policy", whatever that means, I'd still envisage problems from the pricks at the door unless you're a regular or wearing designer gear. Refuge meanwhile have events forthcoming in the Shelter, one of Dublin's top venues, though how frequent they will be allowed to grace the venue with their presence remains uncertain. In spite of this, and other setbacks over the year, the true music underground experience survives and endures. Support it.


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Soundtracksforthem specialises in iconoclastic takes on culture, politics, and more shite from the underbelly of your keyboard. A still-born group blog with a recent surge of different contributers but mainly maintained by James R. Big up all the contributers and posse regardless of churn out rate: Kyle Browne, Reeuq, Cogsy, Chief, X-ie phader/Krossie, Howard Devoto, Dara, Ronan and Mark Furlong. Send your wishes and aspirations to

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