Likened to Berlin for its slightly un-Italian austere atmosphere and penchant for underground techno, Milan's fashion industry scene ensures that it has no shortage of club-goers. Rap, trap and hip-hop are also big deals on the Milan scene, perhaps a reflection of Greater Milan's huge urban sprawl. We take a trip and investigate some of the places that demonstrate the unique city's counterculture.
Milan's longest running club, established in 1980, Plastic was described by Andy Warhol as 'one of the best clubs in the world'. Complete with neon lettering and glitter balls, as you might expect from a club that dates back to the days of 80s disco in a city that has associations with the fashion industry, it's a club where people dress to impress, not to conform.
As the name may suggest, Tunnel makes use of that staple nightclub location, disused railway architecture. Built below Milano Centrale station’s rails, the club set out in the 1990s as Milan's home for underground experimental drum and bass and trip-hop, becoming a hub for live music and DJs. Having weathered the financial and cultural ups and downs of the period, Tunnel is currently enjoying its status as a clubbing hotspot and venue for touring international live bands.
Representing the glamorous larger than life side of clubbing in Milan, Tocqueville 13 is a 2,500 capacity club for enjoying rap, trap, Cîroc and champagne. Tocqueville 13 was also the location for Fred Perry's recent SubcultureLive event in Milan, with a line up of DJs headlined by Peggy Gou.
Volt's website states: "Classic and formal dress unwelcome. The only ‘rule‘ to dressing well at the Volt Club is that you must make it look good". Fans of Volt defend its picky policies on the door, pointing out that it manages to sit in the underground scene and fashion scene simultaneously as a result. It's often suggested that those who want a more casual night out with underground sounds should check out Dude instead.
Another underground stronghold of Milan's electronic/techno music scene, Dude club is currently housed by two rooms, its larger louder main room, and its quieter and grandly titled partner the Astronomical Observatory.
Founded in the mid-'90s in a turn of the century railside warehouse, Magazzini Genarali was the site of many a warehouse party. By 2005 The venue had picked up MTV Clubbing's award for best club. The 1000 capacity club has hosted the like of Chemical Brothers to Skrillex over the decades.
Since its beginnings as an illegal occupation of an unused pace in 1975, Leoncavallo has remained a fiercely social, left-wing enterprise. It's motto "Here I am and here I remain" adorns the walls and website of the creative space, that said, Leoncavallo has been evicted and forced to move more than once in its history, each time taking up a new residency in an abandoned space. The not just a venue and club, Leoncavallo also serves as an exhibition space, workshop, refugee centre and anything else it seems that its passionate community can turn its hands to.