Verboten is German for "forbidden." This is in part a reference to the Brooklyn club's emphasis on booking underground DJ talent. Putting the club's underground tastes aside for a minute, though, Verboten cultivates a vibe that is the opposite of forbidden. When I attended a few weeks back to see Tiga commandeer the decks, I found that Verboten has one of the most accessible yet thrilling dancefloors and crowds that the NYC electronic music scene has to offer.
When I arrived at the club, Till Von Sein was on the decks in the main room, setting the tone with a predominantly deep house vibe and a touch of tech. Unfortunately, my friend and +1 on the press list for the night had to cancel on me last minute, so I actually had to make a solo entrance. At first, I stayed at the fringe of the sweeping wood finishes of the club interior, hanging over the industrial-plated bar for another Jameson on the rocks. But I couldn't simply ignore the killer bass emanating from Verboten's sound system. The saturation of sound, coupled with the subtle colored glowing orbs hanging from the ceiling, drew me to the dancefloor, which was teeming with clubgoers determined to get their groove on.
Till Von Sein masterfully weaved loops and builds to create and release the crowd's tension, whetting our appetite for what was to come. I found myself at the front of the dancefloor, immersed in rich electronic sound, and dancing almost in step with my fellow clubgoers, yet still having room to breathe unlike many NYC music clubs that I've frequented in the past.
Somewhere between Von Sein and Tiga, I found myself immersed in a groove that led me to bump into another group of revelers, and we quickly bonded over our mutual appreciation of the infectious vibe at Verboten. That's when I realized the beautiful irony of the club's name. We were experiencing an open, welcoming vibe while listening to the sound of the forbidden. Before I knew what was happening, the lights went black and I could hear remixed cues from Tiga's killer track "Bugatti," which his current tour is named for.
Taking the reins, Tiga proceeded to take the crowd's acceptance of Sein's deep house vibe and inject it with a tech house, dance-till-dawn, clap-ya-hands, whistle-at-the-top-of-your-lungs giddiness. With jumpy percussive beats, Tiga calmly watched over the crowd and seemingly admired the complete control he had exerted over us, while trippy visuals filled the projection screens spanning the walls of the club and strobes flashed at peak musical moments. Feeling almost like a blur, me and my new compadres stumbled out of the club to take a breather and only then realized it was 5AM. Tiga's set was over, and I knew that night was going down as one of the most memorable dance club experiences of my life.
Two years ago if you asked me where to go dancing in New York City, I would have shrugged my shoulders and lamented about the demise of nightlife at the hands of bottle-service Meatpacking clubs. Now ask me and I'll say one word: Verboten.
Check out Verboten's calendar to buy tickets to upcoming shows, including Lee Burridge and Gaiser this Halloween weekend.
Verboten is located at 54 N. 11th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211.