A month ago, all rumors of a Williamsburg super club were confirmed when The Bunker posted an event on RA with Speedy J and Peter van Hoesen:

Output is open to anyone, but is not for everyone. Output welcomes individuals who value the communal experience of music over cameras and bottle service. […] The club will be the new North American showcase room for Funktion One, featuring some next generation equipment you wont find anywhere else.

I’ve missed PvH during his last few NYC appearances, so being introduced to him (as well as Speedy J) and Output at the same time seemed perfect. Here’s a rundown of the night:

First Impressions: From the outside, it’s easy to mistake Output’s nondescript facade for any other Williamsburg warehouse venue. Approaching the corner, the sidewalk rumbles beneath your feet. This is no normal club. I couldn’t get a good view of the rooftop, but hopefully the rumors of a rooftop restaurant during the summer are true. There was no line when my buddy and I arrived at 2AM, although I was told the line was quite long earlier in the night.

The Venue:  As we entered the door, I already had to put my earplugs in. The place is LOUD. Waiting to redeem my tickets, we received a very thorough pat down from security. I don’t really mind pat downs, although I know many club goers do. There is also a “no camera” policy, which a joked to a German friend about how it sounded a little like Berghain. “No, that’s just the way clubbing should be.” He’s right, it’s definitely nice being able to dance without phone screens in your face.

Output is dark and industrial, with much of the building’s inner structure exposed and the walls painted black. It is also big, with a multilevel dance floor and a second floor overlooking the main room. There was plenty of seating areas on both floors, which is quite nice because the bass and cushions offer a great ass massage (seriously). There are unisex bathrooms on the second floor and the line was never too bad. There are no mirrors, but ironically there is a bathroom attendant.

The lighting systems inside Output are done incredibly well. There’s a minimal display behind the DJ booth, which I thought was too boring –  until it went off strobing around 4:00. I guess they’re going for subtlety.

The DJ booth is raised behind what seems to be a huge Funktion One speaker or subwoofer that occasionally lights up (surprisingly enough, it isn’t too loud to dance directly in front of). I’m not sure why they chose to put the DJ so far away from the crowd.

Another gripe is the overwhelming amount of security staff. I don’t mind knowing I’m safe in a club, but I don’t enjoy having hulking bouncers walk through the crowded dance floor every few minutes.

The Bar:
Normally I wouldn’t even bother to make a section about the bar, but the fact that I paid 3 different prices for the same order (from 3 different bartenders) was pretty annoying. The first receipt, which I threw out, was $22. All 3 orders were poured with the same tequila, Herradura Silver. When I asked the 3rd bartender why I was paying $2 more for the same order, she proceeded to lecture me on why she was right and I was wrong. It may have been nearing 4AM, but I was far from drunk or belligerent. Since I wasn’t about to get in an argument over $2, I just walked away.

The Crowd: I’m not sure if it’s because Speedy J tends to draw out the muscle heads from the Jersey Shore, but I definitely couldn’t get the smell of Axe and freshly gelled scalps out of my nose. Output has no door policy, which I endorse, however too little crowd diversity is a sure-fire way to kill a club’s ambiance. I had to maneuver through fist pumpers to get to the main dance floor, but realized the main stage was just too crowded. Thankfully, there is plenty of other room to dance.

At 2:30, Output felt like more of a concert venue than a club. The main stage was too packed to dance, and many people sat around bobbing their heads to Speedy J’s predictably monotonous set. Though as he finished around 3:00, the crowd thinned out a bit and seemed to be loosening up as fist-pumping was replaced by actual dancing. Now the crowd seemed pretty balanced.

The Sound:  Let me say it again, Output is LOUD. It’s loud in a way that your whole body can absorb the music and not just hurt your ears (although I still recommend earplugs). The speaker stacks themselves are quite beautiful, and if you’re into “speaker porn” like myself, you’ll probably be staring for a bit at the beautiful Funktion One designs. A great thing about Output is that there are no dead zones: no matter where you’re dancing, standing, or sitting, you’ll be able to hear and feel the music perfectly.

While the music sounded great on the system, Speedy J’s lack of variety didn’t really test the system on many different frequencies. Peter’s set was definitely more to my tastes, but it felt overly aggressive with too little dynamic. However, there was one tune PvH played sometime between 4:00 and 5:00 where I experienced audio euphoria. As the track really pushed the mid-range frequencies, my roommate and I both dropped our jaws in awe at the enveloping sound. I will definitely need to go back on a housier night.

Overall, I had a great night at Ouput. Despite a few road bumps, Output felt like a positive change to the normal warehouse and multi-purpose concert venues hosting techno nights. I’m already looking forward to going back and would have very little complaints (assuming they get the bar sorted out) making this a home base for some of NYC’s house and techno nights.

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