High Voltage: In With The Out Crowd

author PP date 11/04/13

The first weekend of April saw the opening of a brand new rock club in central Copenhagen to fill the void left behind by the closing of Sin City, and ultimately, the vacuum that has existed within the Danish bar/club scene ever since The Rock experienced its tumultuous decline that eventually lead into its dramatic and sudden bankruptcy in November 2011. There have been various local efforts to revive a common rendezvous point for the out crowd since then, but none have been met with any measurable amounts of success.

In general, the popularity of rock and metal music in Denmark has been in a state of constant decline on the macro level for the last decade, where electronic music and hipsterism have replaced rock in mainstream culture. It has been among the key reasons why no aspiring entrepreneurs have been willing to undertake such a high-risk investment with no guarantees of return, but fortunately one of the driving forces behind both The Rock and Sin City, Martin "D'Amour" Jensen, has not been discouraged by any of his previous ill-fated undertakings, and when he was given an opportunity to open a new rock club in the old premises of Red Baron in Boltens Gård, near Gothersgade and smack down in the city center, the concept of High Voltage was born.

Yours truly and AP attended the opening night on April 5th to bring you this reportage of the club and what we thought about it.

Classy Decor With A Sleazy Twist

A lengthy line awaits outside of High Voltage upon our arrival just after 10pm, the official opening time of the venue, consisting mainly of the outsiders in mainstream culture. Metalheads with spikes, sleaze rockers with crazy hair dos, multiple hair colours and tattoo styles, punk rockers with mohawks, but even regular looking folk are all eager to check out what the fuzz is all about. Opening night tickets are priced at 150 DKK entry, which includes free cloakroom and a ticket for a free shot from the bar to kick off the festivities, which you are promptly handed upon entry.

A video speaks more than a thousand words, though, so before I go into detail, check out this 50 second walk-through/promo video for what to expect from the place:

Basically, it's pretty fucking awesome for a mid-sized venue, eh?

The interior decor feels more akin to a high-end club than to the trashy environment of Sin City, but with a dark, sleaze rock twist to it all, which gives the place a balanced image between polished and rowdy. More or less exactly what you want from a rock club. There are freaky paintings on the wall, but also posters of famous classic rock artists (I recall The Who, etc hanging on the walls).

There's a pool table in one corner, and a fussball table in the other. An elevated DJ stand above the 'dance floor', and a small stage opposite of it. A rectangular bar at the center of the venue ensures 360 degree access to drinks, which is awesome, because it helps relieve the queue problem to the bar enormously. But best of all, there's plenty and plenty of seating, both at the bar itself in the form of bar stools, but also in the form of small bar-style tables, and longer, beer-garten style tables in the designated seating corner of the venue.

The focus hasn't been in creating yet another live venue, but rather a bar/club type of setup. And with a spacious dance floor near the stage, High Voltage has achieved a combination of both, though with a strong leaning on the latter. With plenty of room to sit and nurse your selected alcoholic beverage, this virtually guarantees late night drunken sessions hanging out with your friends at the tables and spurting onto the dance floor for the occasional favorite, or taking a break with a game of pool or fussball for variation.

Everything about the venue from layout to design, even the toilets (which are remarkably shiny and modern in comparison to, for example, Sin City or even The Rock) screams instant classic. With the added promise that the DJ setlist will venture outside of the 70s-80s hard rock on repeat (Foo Fighters were mentioned as an example in the PR material), all signs are pointing into High Voltage becoming the go-to spot for all people interested in rock culture and drinking. And of course, with that said, here's what the reasonably priced bar has to offer:

The menu could be more versatile, but I'm sure they'll expand on that later. What matters most is bottled beers for 25,- DKK, and shots for just 15,- DKK a piece, not to mention a bottle of JD for 550,- DKK including the soda.

Atmosphere

It's totally packed given it is opening night, yet there's still enough room to move around freely, which is nice. The spirits are high, thanks to eclectic and authentic rock'n'roll performances by Franklin Zoo and Supercharger, and of course the double up on pints of beer offer that exists every night between 10pm and midnight. People have made an effort in terms of dressing up accordingly (check out this gallery from the evening) to show off their rock/metal image, and the whole evening emits a lingering sense of buzzing excitement as people are genuinely surprised about just how good this place is. After all, having experienced the toilet that is Sin City or the vampire cave known as Faust in the past, this is a major, major improvement to the extent that you can't really even mention those places in the same sentence with High Voltage.

We choose to spend the majority of our night by the long tables consuming alcoholic beverages - which I'm sure will be the preferred location of many a night in the future - but elsewhere, people are happily challenging each other in pool, knocking down shots at the bar, ordering more beer than the recommended health standards suggest, or watching the bands tear it up on the dance floor.

Overall Impression

High Voltage is a great mixture of classy club atmosphere vs sleazy rock'n'roll vibes. It's a place where you don't feel like you're at a garbage disposal unit, but at the same time it doesn't feel too posh like many of the other high-end clubs in Copenhagen. It's also intimate enough to carry a buzzing vibe, but at the same time spacious enough to not feel crowded.

Our unanimous thoughts on the place were that it is fuckin' awesome. Even for a critic's article such as this one, the only issue we found throughout the night was that the pints of beer tasted like they were watered down significantly. We conducted a quick taste test between a bottle and a pint, and although a bottle is always going to win a taste competition for the same beer, this time it wasn't even a contest. One tasted like beer, the other one like water. But with a variety of other drinks, shots, and bottles on the menu, this isn't such a big issue in the end.

The 360 degree bar access is a huge plus, the layout rocks, prices are reasonable, the music is good, and its location at city center is perfect. It has all the potential to succeed big time, which is a huge surprise after Sin City basically reset our expectations to zero before tonight.

Denmark hasn't had a rock club this good since, well, ever.

EVERY FRIDAY & SATURDAY // 22:00-05:00

Gothersgade 8H (Boltens Gård), 1123 Copenhagen C

www.facebook.com/highvoltagecph

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