“What kind of music are you looking for?” “Electro?” My Austrian friend Irina gives the doorman one of her coquettishly broad smiles. “It’s techno tonight.” Um, alright. So this is how I got to know Hamburg’s famous nightclub Uebel & Gefaehrlich.
“Do we really want to do this?” we ask ourselves for a moment, then we decide to walk in. After all, we have an agenda to party that night – and no strange music style will stop us. 10 Euros are taken, a razorblade-shaped stamp is placed and we are greeted by an elevator packed with excited people from wherever. There is a group of four tall, handsome guys right next to us and I can’t quite make out whether the alpha male is a drunk German speaking English or a drunk Englishman speaking German. After a few very confused seconds I understand he’s Dutch (sorry!).
Walking into the headquarters of a scene that is suspected to be on drugs all the time, it should be mentioned at this point that the only thing my friend and I were on that night was Maultauschen. Yes, we walked into a techno club completely sober. And it was awesome!
We started our night at Uebel & Gefaehrlich’s beautiful roof terrace with a view over Karoviertel and Schanze. There were two highlights up there: The palm trees and the people who walked in and actually said hello. To everyone. Have you ever witnessed something like that in any other club? For me, club nights have always been sweaty, anonymous wrestling sessions. At Uebel & Gefaehrlich, we had an amazingly calm start. And it would stay that way for the whole night. No one would walk into me, step on my feet or stick their elbow in my face. And if they did, they would actually turn around and apologize. First insight: Techno people are nice people!
Still, I am the kind of person who has to observe a situation from the corners before leaping into it. Some call that shyness, I just call it careful research. So when we go to check out the dance floor, that basically means we’re standing there, sipping our non-alcoholic drinks next to a wall, shuffling our feet awkwardly. People around us are going crazy. Techno dancing cannot be compared to anything I know. It. is. just. mad. We’re laughing our heads off. I don’t know if those people are on drugs or if this is just an expression of the way they are. Anyway, they’re awesome. And after a while, we throw all caution to the winds and go crazy, too.
We’re dancing in the middle of the crowd. Arms, knees, crazy moves in a speed that is not as easy to manage as it looks. But it is SO MUCH FUN! Although the music is nothing I would play on Spotify. It’s just cool to go with it. Later we’re at the bar to take a few breaths, talking about the sense of community we got at our first techno party. “You know what’s really weird here?” “The men!” Yes. In our usual club experience, whenever a guy comes over, he’ll have something in mind. When he gives you something, he’ll want something in return – which is annoying once it gets pushy. That’s why we’re reluctant at first when a tall, blonde one comes up and shares his luminous bracelets with us. That’s why I inwardly flinch when a short, slender one suddenly appears dancing right next to me. But it’s fine. One guy even keeps protecting me from elbows and tall shoulders when the dance floor gets really crowded after 3 am. Apparently – no strings attached.
I don’t know if it’s the techno scene, the location or just an extremely unlikely coincidence. But it’s not going to be my last techno party at Uebel & Gefaehrlich.
Uebel & Gefährlich