Five years ago Fiction opened its doors during a particularly bleak time for Cape Town nightlife. The demise of many of the older underground electronic music venues had left a gap and the establishment clubs with their outsourced dj lineups all seemed cynically designed to move quantities of liquor rather than their patrons. Stepping into this void, young entrepreneurs Jonathan Cline and Adam Klein changed the rules and constructed a club around a music policy. Handing over the programming of their nights to the djs who played there was virtually unheard of and Fiction took off almost immediately as performers and educated listeners alike got wind of a new venue dedicated to the sounds of the inner city.
In the last five years the list of artists, local and international that have graced its modest dj booth has been truly staggering. Markus Wormstorm and Spoek Mathambo’s Sweat X project as well as Gazelle, all household names now, played their first gigs on a makeshift stage at Fiction. The regular club nights quickly became legendary, from the frenetic expression of Untamed Youth, to the moody, glittering soundscapes of Killer Robot, the rolling kinetic energy of It Came From the Jungle and the bass rollercoaster ride of StepUp to the neon synth wonderland of Peroxide, each night provided something unique and launched names like Niskerone, Killer Robot, Tommy Gun, Dank, Hyphen, SFR and Funafuji onto the national circuit whilst nursing genres like dubstep from infancy to full maturity.
The international artist alumni could rival any small club in the northern hemisphere and the long list of worthy mentions is indicative of Fiction, and their collaborative network of promoters' prescient ability to spot trends before they happen. The list is as panoramic as it is influential: names like Seth Troxler, Pendulum, Ryan Crosson, Mala, Danny Wheeler, Ali B, Butane, Konrad Black, Bodycode, Jeremy Caulfield and Alex Smoke amongst many, many more, all bear testimony to the contribution Fiction has made to the Cape Town music scene.
In a clubbing landscape where venues have largely become extensions of corporate branding strategies or soulless showrooms for jaded egos, Fiction fought well over its weight class and confounded its critics with its unshakable belief that music comes first. As Adam and Jon hand the torch over to a new generation of owners, they can do so with no small degree of pride in their unique achievement, for having provided an incubation space for an entire foundation of underground talent, a warm hearth for music lovers of all persuasions and proof that reputations can be built on staying true to an ideal.
We should all offer applause for this contribution to the cultural fabric of the city as we offer our congratulations to the new owners who are set to carry on the unique legacy of Fiction. Raise a glass: Fiction, forever!
- From the awesome mind of Bruno Morphet.