Club Cheval at Bang Bang

Walker Chuppe/The USD Vista –
Club Cheval kicks off its live DJ set at Bang Bang in Downtown San Diego.

Club Cheval is an electronic dance music group from Lille, France, who falls into the house music genre. Their musical style is a bit difficult to pinpoint but features elements of deep house, future bass, and, occasionally, R&B. They released their debut full-length album “Discipline” in Mar. 2016 and have been touring during a large part of late 2016 and early 2017.

Before releasing “Discipline,” Club Cheval gained notoriety through singles like “Now u Realize” and through remixes of popular songs by Rihanna, Two Door Cinema Club, and Underworld. Though the group does produce and write its own music, the group also performs DJ sets, in which they live mix a combination of their own music and other tracks.

Club Cheval arrived in San Diego and played a DJ set at Bang Bang, a sushi bar and nightclub on Market Street in Downtown San Diego. A rather interesting combination of food and dance, Bang Bang serves high-quality sushi at the bar area and is fairly well-known for it around San Diego. It also features many popular groove-based electronic and dance music artists in its nightclub section.

The ambiance at Bang Bang is unique as well, especially compared to the many other nightclubs in Gaslamp and around Downtown. The club is a medley of Japanese culture and fluorescent nightlife and is dimly lit by paper lanterns decorated with patterns and outlines of butterflies. The lighting changes from hues of orange to purple, and it gives the venue a tropical ambiance that adds to the club’s overall relaxed charm. Compared to the loud, in-your-face vibe at clubs like Omnia and Fluxx, Bang Bang’s atmosphere is like a warm sea breeze.

Around San Diego, Bang Bang is gaining notoriety for its unique music selection, but also for its small quirks that make the experience there feel special. Drinks are served in a myriad of creative ways—the most memorable being in a white porcelain cat mug, with a straw poking out the top of its head. Bang Bang’s bathrooms also have themed stalls, one that famously has pictures of Ryan Gosling plastered all over it and another that is entirely Hello Kitty.

Besides its cute bonuses, the club has also hosted many high-profile names in the dance music world, including Louis the Child, Purity Ring, Bondax, Pete Tong, and Nosaj Thing. Many of the artists that play CRSSD music festival in San Diego also go on to play sets at Bang Bang as well, so if you are into that style of music at all, the club is definitely worth a look.

Club Cheval played an extended DJ set at Bang Bang on Friday night that kicked off at 10 p.m., and most of the crowd was still in the lounge area, ordering sushi and relaxing. This left the dance floor essentially empty, and if you wanted to walk up to the DJs and just say hello, you could easily give them a thumbs up, as many people did. However, by 10:30 or so, the crowd had trickled in enough to the point where there was lively atmosphere out on the dance floor.

The members of Club Cheval took turns DJing, and each member had their own style. It was an interesting experience seeing DJs essentially pass the baton to one another. The music varied more in style and genre than the tracks on their album, ranging from groovy beats to high-energy French house. Some “dance” music is actually quite difficult to dance to, especially if it’s too fast-paced, but that wasn’t the case with Club Cheval. Their tracks had good rhythm, and a highlight of the night was a remix of the popular Mac Miller song “Dang!”

Although not all concert-goers incredibly familiar with electronic music, going to Club Cheval’s DJ set was definitely a fun experience. It wasn’t incredibly packed—the crowd actually seemed a bit thin for a popular club on a Friday night. Nonetheless, everyone on the dance floor appeared to be having a great time.

Bang Bang is a new favorite place to see live shows in San Diego, and the ambiance of the venue is relaxed and welcoming, especially compared to most of the other clubs in Downtown. If you like electronic music, perhaps give Club Cheval a listen. If you’re looking for a new trendy spot to check out in San Diego, Bang Bang is definitely worth a shot.

Written by Walker Chuppe, Arts & Culture Editor