Holy Clubland / Hg2 OPENING OF THE WEEK

Hg2 Cape Town author, Keith Bain, attended the preview of Cape Town’s new superclub, Trinity, last night.
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It wasn’t your typical glittery glam opening event. You know the shit: air-kissing; name-dropping; back-patting; high-pitched laughter; a ridiculous queue for the washrooms. Usually there are so many distractions, you end up missing the point of the outing. This wasn’t a club opening at all, in fact, but a sneak peak into the industrial-chic interior of Cape Town’s first no-expenses-spared “super-club”. Our job was to ogle and explore, grab free glasses of bubbly and snack on oysters and sushi served by roving waiters.

And there was plenty to look at.

At the door: Two barrel-chested black gentlemen—familiar, cheerful bouncers (recognisable from the early days at The Fez)—manning the entrance at the end of a windblown red carpet. Waiting within: A mixed crowd. Vivacious; very easy-on-the-eye. There was old money, and new money. There were some of the city’s finest DJs and their adoring posses. There were rockstars disguised as ordinary people, and ordinary people disguised as supermodels. There were the astonishingly attractive women in skimpy chiffon dresses stilt-walking on their heels up and down the stairs. That in itself was pretty impressive. And hordes of gymmed-and-coiffed blokes doing their most convincing hunk impressions.

But even with all of that walking eye-candy and cheerful sociability, the space itself took centre stage.

Just a few steps beyond the front door, it’s clear that this isn’t going to be your typical Cape Town club packed with tony model-types squeezed into a cramped, unsympathetic space. Sure, the lookers, groovers and shakers will be there—but there’s loads of room to navigate in here, and there’s been a sizable spend on making the place look as good as the clientele. Thirty-five million rand, in fact, has gone into reconfiguring a massive old warehouse space, and fitting it with state-of-the-art technology, as well as many great-looking artefacts and visual references to the club’s name: Trinity. Yup, there’s some kind of religious subplot in the décor—metallic angels peer down from above a fountain on the dancefloor, and a huge antique church organ has been installed as pure eye-candy. Even the exposed brick walls and wrought iron balustrades contribute to a vaguely cathedral-like atmosphere.

But the only thing likely to be worshipped here on opening night—tonight—will be UK DJ sensation, James Zabiela. His live arrangements—computer-assisted mixing, scratching, knob-adjusting, whatever—are almost as celebrated for their performance value as they are for the cutting edge sounds he churns out. I just hope Cape Town is ready for him.

With just over 24 hours before the big opening, there was still some work to be done, and the much-anticipated Funktion One sound system was not yet installed. It’s waiting at airport customs and ready to be inaugurated when Zabiela steps into the raised, altar-like DJ booth later tonight and proceeds to unleash his particular brand of mania on a willing crowd. Mercifully, Thursday is a South African public holiday.

On exiting Trinity, a small, boisterous crowd is hunched over the reception pleading with a smiling hostess.
“You guys haven’t even opened and things are already getting pretty crazy at the door,” I joke with her, in sympathy.
“They wouldn’t leave until I promised to put their names on the James Zabiela guest list.”
“And…?”
“They claim they know someone who knows someone who knows someone who manages the guest list.”
“Do they?”
“Not likely. I manage the guest list!”
“Shame. See you tomorrow night, then.”

In Clubland, some things never change.

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