Club review: Institut für Zukunft, Leipzig

Ever since I heard about the Institut für Zukunft, I was curious to check it out. It was supposed to be Leipzig’s best techno club and some people even called it the “Berghain of Leipzig”. This weekend I got to take a peak at the city’s nightlife and see what its underground scene has to offer. I was there right on time for the IO Season opening of IFZ.

Institut für Zukunft was opened in 2014 and is located a bit outside the city center in an abandoned industrial building. Therefor the perfect setting for a techno party. When we got there at peak time 3am, people were already lining up around the corner. It seemed like a good night to be partying at IFZ, since it had been on a summer’s break. Artists like Akme (About Blank), Alex.Do (Dystopian), Tiny Places (IO) and Wilhelm (IFZ) were booked for that night. Quite a few people got turned away actually, which reminded me of the clubs in Berlin, where you can never be 100% sure that you’ll get in. A careful selected crowd is very important for any party, but to me it appeared like they also wanted to create a certain thrill. Creating a save party environment for everyone is one of the Institut’s main concerns.

From the inside, IFZ reminded me a bit of “Salon zur Wilden Renate”, with its winding corridors and sheer endless rooms. Close to the entrance is the smaller floor, that was lit in bright neon lights and is reserved for house and other genres like dubstep. If you make your way through more corridors, you will finally reach the dark main floor. This is where the heavy techno is played. And like any good techno floor it has dingy, flickering lights, much space to move yourself to the music and stairs to look down on the crowd from. In the back you can find another, really small floor with loads of sofas, that seems to be for more chill and experimental music. On the top floor are even more rooms and hidden corners.

The main floor was already filled with dark, minimal techno, as we got there. I pushed my way to the front to melt with the crowd and get into the music, but something was off and as I looked around, some people seemed as bored as me. Don’t get me wrong, the music wasn’t bad at all, but something was missing. So I made my way back to the other floor, where some really good, fresh dubstep was played. I’ve never seen a set like this at a club before, it was quite unique and people were dancing and cheering. Still, I couldn’t help but feel like something was off. When I walked through the endless corridors and rooms, I could feel the coldness of the place and although the owners really care about your safety, I somehow did not feel that comfortable. I made my way back to the main floor, where another DJ was playing by now, that put on a bit more upbeat techno. I would overall describe the sound as pretty minimal and clean. No fuss, just plain techno. With time, I was getting more and more into it, but overall I just missed this energy, this electricity in the air. The magical moments, when everyone is cheering. The powerful energy that you get back from the music and the crowd, when you are dancing. The whole club was lacking energy and warmth to me. There was a shallowness to it all. A techno club doesn’t have to be arrogant or cold to be a valid techno club. Maybe IFZ tried a bit too hard, to set itself apart from the often colourful and glittery Berlin. But it’s that kind of atmosphere, that I really missed – the feeling of unity and belonging. Maybe it wasn’t the best night, maybe not the best time or not the best crowd. A good party depends on a lot of things.

In general, the whole layout of the club is great, but I was disappointed with the harsh atmosphere of the club.  The quality of the music seems to be quite good and it might be a place to experience some rather unfamiliar sounds. However, from what I’ve seen and heard, there are still even better places to check out in Leipzig.


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