Marquee had been one of New York City’s most elegant nightclubs since opening shop in 2003, but 9 years later, the cerebral forces behind Tao, Lavo, and Avenue found that it was time for change. After closing its doors, word leaked that the Chelsea mainstay was under renovations that would acclimate around the rapidly growing demand for dance music talent. The calendar flipped to 2013 and Marquee was ready to go, and after a celebration for family and friends, Dubfire headlined the club’s public re-opening last Friday.
So, maybe Fridays would be the new night out for tech house admirers, but it was no secret that Wednesdays would be the new marquee (pun intended) night for club-goers and dance fanatics with Chuckie slated for the club’s inaugural hump-day affair.
The scene outside of Marquee this Wednesday night was out of a movie, or better yet, the old stories your parents told you about Studio 54 that left you with scarring images of a time when your old folks were good-looking, sexually active, and yes, fun. We arrived promptly at 12:30am when doors opened, and the crowd of 50 plus waited patiently in the bitter 10-degree cold for the chance to see the DJ named on the sign above — Chuckie. Marquee had certainly brought out their big guns as infamous NYC doorman Wass Stevens guarded the velvet ropes.
Inside, the 6,200-square-foot space was already jam-packed and could’ve been easily mistaken for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show afterparty. With owners Jason Strauss and Noah Tepperberg in attendance — along with their army of hospitality geniuses known collectively as Tao Group — it was clear that this would be one very important Wednesday night, and who better than previous-Lavo resident, DJ Chuckie, to provide the accompanying sounds.
Decked in brand new sneakers from New York’s Flight Club and sporting his signature flat-brimmed cap, Chuckie took the decks of Marquee’s week-old booth. DJ Chuckie in the house! DJ Chuckie in the house! Having seen Chuckie spin countless times, this opening chant had become anchored to my party-mode emotions, so I instantly knew the packed house was about to be treated to one of those special outings. Getting started, the Dirty Dutch head honcho refused to play any recognizable tracks, which by the end of the night could’ve been counted on one hand.
Without his usual abundance of hip-hop drops, Chuckie weaved an eclectic house set loaded with hidden gems of which even the best Shazam users could account. It was as if he was daring the room’s dance devotees to keep up — I myself was up for the challenge. Moments into his set, a pair of Prok & Fitch remixes caught my ear; Salome De Bahia’s “Outro Lugar” and Richard Grey & Sebastien Drums’ “It’s Time To Party Now.” We didn’t need that last track, however, to inform us that it was in fact time to party — we already took that hint from the costumed, fire eating females that danced on the platforms above the crowd.
The mood was set immediately, and Chuckie continued to weave deep, funky house tracks with tech-inspired remixes. Which would explain his next go-to move of “Who Is Ready To Jump.” Of the countless remixes stuffed into his USB, ranging from Dada Life to Dillon Francis, Chuckie called upon a darker twist from Nico Hamuy & Ortzy. Moments later, he went to one of his signature weapons, Promise Land’s remix of “Move It 2 The Drum,” and prolonged the instilled tribal vibes with Dannic’s “Tombo.” Chuckie was finally ready to shift gears and dropped his first commercially-inclined selection of the night, “Don’t You Worry Child,” just as an onslaught of champagne bottles with hefty price tags (garnished with sparklers, of course) flooded the VIP area in front of the booth.
Once we had thought we had seen it all from a stage view, we set to explore the Brooklyn-chic venue from the upper decks to fully digest the visual spectaculars. The balcony perched atop the club’s furthest section was the spot for the sight-seers rather than the dancers. With a view of almost every inch of the club, the massive LED screen and myriad of lasers appeared to be a product of misorder. Maybe Strauss and Tepperberg accidentally ordered the production equipment suited for Electric Zoo? Maybe not. It took a while for my eyes to behold all that Marquee had to offer, but my ears were still tuned in to the sound system of similar proportions. Chuckie next moved into original material; the recent Junxterjack collaboration “Make Some Noise” and Bartosz Brenes & Tony Romera’s remix of “Breaking Up.” The Dutchman had some time on the clock before he would wrap up the night, but for me, the case was closed.
Harvard Business School prepared two case studies on Marquee during its first reign of New York City, but the ivy-leaguers may have to revisit the nightlife pillar and place their microscope above the dance music aspect this time around. Dubfire established a techno presence for Friday nights last weekend, but on this night Chuckie set the tone for Wednesdays in New York City. With the big dogs in the house to pull all the strings and Mr. Dirty Dutch himself to deliver the music, the night had been one of the best you could ask for. With David Guetta already scheduled for February 6th, it appears that Marquee will outshine the rest of New York’s nightlife and music scene on a weekly basis, and Wednesdays will dwarf the coveted Thursdays, Saturdays, and every other night for that matter.