Time for a new breed of clubbing, and CHAKRA is just that club. Words: Stef MacBeth
nce upon a time there was a kingdotn rttled
by evil giants called Superclubs. They tnade
ey'eryone pay lots of money to dance to nasty music called trance played by men nastier people known as Superstar l).ls. The giants becatne greedier and greedier and more and more disconnected with the people on tlte dancefloor. until one day. the people rey'olted and stopped going to the Superclubs and stayed in to watch Big Brother instead. Suddenly. out of nowhere. a new species of clttb sprang tip to replace these fallen giants. They were called simply ‘the Underground'. This new species of club embodied all that was good and morally praiseworthy. (lone were the Superstar DJs and the trance music. all banished to a faraway land. The new ruler was ‘the Underground'.
This fairytale seems to be the premise behind Radio l's recent documentary. Dunee: Return In the Underground. lt picked out a handful ofclubs across the [K to illustrate it. But the documentary underestimates the clttbs it profiles. ThCSC clubs don't simply l‘CjL‘L‘l the Values of the Superclubs. they reject the dogmas of ‘the Underground'. Nowhere is this more apparent than at Chakra, the first club they Visited. The club. we are told. 'has grown from nothing to become one of the most talked about club nights in Scotland. ('hakra is about creatiy'ity. it is about passion. about energy. It's about giving talented young people a chance to do their thing.’ enthuses promoter. (‘arol [)ickson.
‘It is a space where people are free to express themselves.‘ she continues. ()ne of the striking things about hearing Dickson talk is that she seems to be using an entirely different language to that of ‘the Underground'. She doesn't talk about belonging or
102 THE LIST ‘21 Aug—.2 Set? 2002.4
Chakra is about creativity, it is about passion, about energy
Enter the rabbit warren
aspiring to belong to arty particular scene. She doesn't talk about l).ls. genres or record labels. The mainstream isn‘t some kind of enctny that might put her out of business. she just thinks that what she is doing is more interesting. ‘('hakra is about a lot more than milsic. I want to stimulate all the senses. not just one sense.' It is a principle that resonates throughout the club. It's the reason for the pyrotechnics. the otiti'ageous costumes. the human mirror balls. the dancers that look like they‘ye just dropped down frotn space. the intricate handmade decorations and the lc‘ltai. ('al‘ol continues: 'Yotl sec people walking in that hay c neyer been before and the look on their faces is pt‘icclcss.‘
()ne regular. (iayin Brown. describes his first (‘hakra e\perience: ‘I remember chatting to an tinusually smiley man with pero\ide hair (.lasottl who I now know as one of the nicest people on earth. The conyersation was a butterfly inducing rctrospectiyc journey though our respectiye musical histories. I remember thinking. "Holy shit this guy is l).ling in ten minutes and he has eyery single tune that spawned my loye affair with dance musicf” Welcottte lo the small room. “all to wall timeless classics and more oned up than the Mardi (iras.
(‘ontinue along the yellow brick road to the tnain room. .lackin' (‘hicago house. deep soulful. se\y .\'\'(' grooy es and then ('harlie l’rouse takes control. ('htmky. tribal. hypnotic beats with huge basslines. peaks and flashes of energy: insane drumming. lasers. lire-dancing. stranger-hugging. and ottt of the darkness: bubbles?
\Valking into (‘hakra is the clttbbing equiyalent of going down the rabbit hole. .v\t ('hakra myths and fairy tales are subyerted and giy en new life and new meanings. .-\nd the White Rabbit and the (‘aterpillarﬂ’ They .I'C jllsl Ll couple of lltc‘ t‘c‘gtlltu's.
Chakra, the Soundhaus, Glasgow, Sat 30 Aug.
Haptic . .
Disco Badger s'
Traxx and Spati