Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saturday Night Fever in Timişoara

From Ukraine and Romania
When I travel alone, I find it hard to motivate myself to visit clubs despite my long-running obsession with European pop and dance music. Well, on Saturday night I ditched the introverted me and had myself a proper night out.

Things did not begin promisingly. I walked to the center of town in order to check out a club called Vanilla, but the fancy clothes of the patrons outside discouraged me from attempting entry. I have a general aversion to clubs where the patrons appear to be more concerned about fashion than about the music.

I wasn't really feeling it right then, and very nearly returned to my pensiune. But since the student campus area was on the way back "home" anyway, I decided to swing by the many bars and clubs there to see if anything looked promising.

At about 11:30 PM I climbed the stairs to Q Club. Q Club, located on the top floor of a two-floor (three floors by American measurements) building, was a modest-sized venue with a medium-sized dancefloor. I suspect that in a former life it was used as office space. During this early part of the night the DJs primarily focused on Romanian house songs. Although there was a decent-sized crowd there, most patrons at that point were apparently not drunk enough to brave the dancefloor, so they chilled out on the lounge furniture instead. This allowed one to enjoy the psychedelic laser lights crawling all over the floor.

When the DJ dropped Jay Ko's catchy hit "One," many clubbers stood up and danced by their chairs. Then, a swing-dancing couple took the dancefloor proper. The floodgates were opened. Half an hour later I counted about 40 people on the dancefloor, which is a good-sized crowd for an intimate venue like this one. The DJs shook things up with a multitude of Romanian house hits, including Nick Kamarera's "Reason for Love" (incidentally, Kamarera got his start in Timişoara) and Tom Boxer's "Morena (My Love)" (which got the patrons singing along). Non-Romanian tracks followed, including a mashup of Lady Gaga's "LoveGame" (uh, there was lots of "love" that night) with Madonna's "Celebration." Sander Van Doorn's "Close My Eyes," which features the vocals of Robbie Williams, tore the place to shreds.

Dress was casual, though some girls trashed it up a bit, and there were quite a few young women in stiletto boots. I never considered myself a fetishist, but I like the stiletto boots. I think I'll buy a pair for my girlfriend.

I enjoyed myself immensely, but I decided to move on to the Happy Beer and Steak House. An exclamation of "WTF?" is acceptable. One walks through the small restaurant area, descends some stairs, opens a door, and strolls into an enormous room packed wall-to-wall with people and smoke. The lights are all on; there's no darkness to hide in. It's an unlikely place to find a good dance party, but there it was. The DJs there (photo above) played a ton of good tracks, focusing it seemed on Romanian pop, including Puya's "Change," and Guess Who's "Locul Potrivit."* Coat check consisted of an enormous mountain of jackets piled in front of the DJ equipment.

A guy walked up to me saying he had made a bet with a friend; the friend bet I was from the UK. I'm from America, so the friend lost. I joined that group's table and became engrossed in good, drunken conversation. I took many photos there and emailed the best to my new friends today.

I don't remember when I got back to the pensiune, or even how, which is one measure of a successful night out (the other measure being sleeping in until 2 PM, to the annoyance of the pensiune manager who had made breakfast for me at 9). Oh, regarding blacking out while wandering around a foreign country—this is an incredibly stupid thing to do. If you are as recklessly idiotic as I was in this regard, remember to carry only cash with you when you go out—leave the credit cards and passport back at the pensiune!

Anyway, good times!

* "Locul Potrivit" is a real work of genius, and the video is worth viewing on YouTube even if you don't know any Romanian. The song quirkily addresses the history of Romania since the 1989 revolution, and was released in time for the 20th anniversary of that revolution.

From Ukraine and Romania

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