On Saturday June 21, 2008, a tearful Francois K was joined behind the turntables by Laurent Garnier, Theo Parrish and Danny Krivit for a final set at Club Yellow that went on into the late hours of Sunday. The formidable lineup of DJs and sell-out crowd were there for one reason, to say goodbye to a club that had dominated Tokyo’s dance-music scene for more than 15 years.
Most clubbers agree that things haven’t been the same in Tokyo since Yellow closed its doors. Last month, however, one of the most surprising twists in the history of the nightlife of this city occurred — the staff and DJs of Club Yellow were back in the same location with the same decor (only a little cleaner than before), and under a different name, Eleven.
Eleven’s representative Yuko Ichikawa admits the situation is a little difficult to explain: “Yellow had to move out because the former building owner sold the building to a real-estate company or someone. Rumors are that there was a regional development project. However, the economic situation got worse after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and it seems like the development plan was called off. Then, someone bought the land and the building” and allowed the club to reopen there.
In the years since Yellow closed, Ichikawa notes that there has been a change in the Tokyo scene. “It seems like there was a generational change. Or Yellow was the only place where people in their 30s feel comfortable.”
That could be because of the club’s committment to the music that made it. Whereas places such as Womb have tended to follow trends such as minimal techno and electro, Yellow has kept U.S. house as its staple over the years bringing enormous loyalty from fans and DJs alike, and after its closure, no club has managed to fully replace either its lineup or overall atmosphere.
So the club’s reopening as Eleven may be a winning formula. Expect sets from local favorites Fumiya Tanaka, Ken Ishii and Ko Kimura alongside international stars such as Derrick Carter and The Idjut Boys. But as Ichikawa notes when it comes to the future of Tokyo’s dance-music scene, “It’s all up to the customers now.”
Eleven is at Thesaurus Nishiazabu, B1-B2F, 1-10-11, Nishiazabu, Minato Ward, Tokyo. Its initial lineup includes Fumiya Tanaka (Feb. 19), Timmy Regisford (Feb. 20), David Morales (Feb. 26) and Los Hermanos/ICAN (Feb. 27). www.go-to-eleven.com