Inside Berlin #3
So many things and events going on in Berlin right now and all of them would make a good story to write about. But this time I have decided to introduce a location to you. For more than 15 years, the Icon Club has served finest events and line-ups for Berlin’s underground electronic music scene. Icon’s trendsetting music agenda and ambitious bookings policy have established the club’s reputation well beyond the borders of the German capital. The location itself has been very charming – a little comfortable basement with a small dance floor where everyone gathered. Erol Alkan called it once “the hottest club he visited in years” because there was almost no air conditioning. Consequently, it was very common that you left the club with completely wet clothes.
However, the club was closed at the beginning of the year. The reason is called gentrification and is a very big problem in Berlin. Gentrification is the phenomena that wealthier people buy and reconstruct buildings in low income and working class quarters. The first part of the process is the installation of bars, restaurants or new clubs – just like the Icon. But when the gentrification is nearly finished, even more wealthy inhabitants (often with children) move in and they might be annoyed by the clubs and their guests. The closing of clubs due to the will of very few people is the consequence. This is happening everywhere in Berlin and this leads to there being less central clubs in the heart city.
With the Icon, Berlin lost a very special underground club and its bigger sister – the Gretchen Club that opened in 2011 cannot fill the gap because it is too big. It is a great location (my favourite one) with a very nice architecture and sound but it is not possible to fill the complete floor with the same bookings that were done in the Icon.