First published on 15 Jun 2012. Updated on 28 Jan 2013.
Back we go, then, to another club attempting to unite two opposing halves of the room. Like Boom, which opened and shuttered earlier this year, Ibiza sets out to make concessions to both Western and the traditionally less dance-dedicated Chinese crowds. And, if only judged in terms of capacity, it succeeds. On the face of it at least, there’s room for both to co-exist happily.
There’s certainly enough here to persuade us that this isn’t, as it first seems, Just Another Chinese Club aiming for a lowest common denominator crowd of, say, No. 88 (which Ibiza also owns coincidentally) or anything on Hengshan Lu.
A large, roomy dancefloor makes it clear that this will be very much a music-focused concern. An elevated stage has enough space for even the most bloated of DJ egos. Visuals, too, are really something Boozehoundand, at times, look like they could have been lifted from a Chemical Brothers show. Around the edges, there’s smart, low-set table seating, with more upstairs and two for-hire private rooms which have their own terrace views of the club (price tba, but guaranteed to be expensive).
Of course, the difficulty is using all this hardware to create a good night out with a balanced crowd. ‘We want a kind of M1NT-Bar Rouge set,’ said one Ibiza rep we spoke to on a recent visit. ‘High end, but more dance-driven’. Having seen Ibiza, that’s every bit as ambitious as it sounds.
Storming house music is unlikely to make a steal on clubs that don’t always prioritise the playlist. And it sounds a bit off-key with what Ibiza seems to be about: a setting for big-room DJs and proper, hands-in-the air rave-ups.
MAO Livehouse’s brow should be sweating the most – there’s the capacity here to finally usurp it as the go-to venue for major-name DJ gigs. Programming will naturally be key, though. STD’s Thursday OK, Play! series looks promising but even with that there are signs Ibiza is struggling with a raison d’etre. It’s now free but it started as 50RMB which they said was intended to ‘filter’ the crowd.
Either way, although Ibiza won’t convert any non-fans of mainstream clubs, it is a solid opening and certainly breaks ground in attempting to bridge the Chinese-Western clubbing divide. Put another way, if we had to choose between M2 and Ibiza to see Carl Cox (who plays the former on August 3) – we know which one we’d pick.