One of the key components of Nightlife in any society is nightclubs. For many nightcrawlers in Nigeria, a nighttime fun activity is never complete without a stopover at one of the numerous nightclubs that litter most of the major cities in Nigeria.
In the past, a typical nightclub was mainly a place to dance the night away while drinking alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. But in recent years, the evolution of nightclubs in Nigeria has entered a new phase.
The industry has evolved from having alcoholic drinks like wine and spirit drinks to fusion or flavours whether it be cocktails or food. In recent times nightclubs are equipped with modern technology like LED walls and stages as well as laser lights and even smoke and bubble machines.
Some clubs can transform the ambience to look like you’re in the middle of the forest or space. It’s becoming more of a real-life experience, with a luxurious interior, laden with lasers and undulating spotlights, and Dynacord sound system.
Some nightclubs are an extension of concert venues. Many concert venues offer bottle service, food, and now you have these hybrid concert venues/nightclubs doing the same with live music, dancing, DJs, food, and drink. Having a dance floor and some colorful lights is no longer enough nowadays.
These days DJs have also changed the club scene, gone are the days when DJs just play music, a lot of DJs nowadays have become celebrities in their own right, and many people flock to nightclubs to hear these artists play. Hiring a popular resident DJ has become one of the new trends in nightclubs in Nigeria.
Another trend that has swept the Nigerian club scene like wildfire is the “Casket culture”.
Around the turn of the 2010s, as the Nigerian entertainment industry became more lucrative and churned out young millionaires, these nouveau riche men would storm clubs with their entourage usually their friends and hangers-on. Preferably in convoy, accompanied by girls while they smoke shisha and order in ‘bottles,’ which is a codeword for – relatively – expensive bottles of liquor, liqueur, spirits, and wines.
‘Bottles’ get more expensive at clubs as against their normal market prices and most people can’t afford them.
When the bottles start rolling in and money starts to count, clubs would tickle the vanity of the ‘spenders’ with music, which later evolved into the ‘casket culture,’ which is a special treatment of carefully curated drinks. It is meant to separate the regular clubgoers from the high spenders.
These caskets would usually be brought out by specially-dressed undertakers and the size of the casket would depend on the class and even the location of the clubs. Some are standard size while some are smaller. Those caskets just stand for the drinks that are about to ‘die.’
The hypemen and music are a core part of the ‘casket culture’ process. Also a hypeman, the artist Slimcase made reference to ‘casket culture’ in his single, ‘Lamba Xtra.’
Over the last decade, when the bottles and caskets would start rolling in, songs became necessary to mark the occasion. First, it was songs like the Champions League Anthem and then Undertaker’s classic WWE theme song and now, it’s ‘Ameno,”.
While the Champions League anthem and Undertaker’s WWE Theme song were mainstays of the Nigerian club scene, none quite had the crossover relevance and popularity of ‘Ameno.’ When its run ends, it’s safe to say that another ‘dramatic’ song with classical elements will be installed.
The song is played alongside hypes from the club’s hype man when a person orders and purchases very expensive liquor. Hardly can you find a night in Lagos clubs without the lyrics of “Dorimee” heard and videos from the night posted across social media platforms. It is believed the song has a weird force that coerces people to spend excessively in nightclubs than is required; there are lots of online comedy skits that express this belief. While some others believe the song is harmless and has no influence on clubbers and their monies.
In areas of customer service, nightclubs now use a digital guest management system to keep track of customers and send them customized emails after they visit the nightclub, some clubs now hire adequate waiters to make it easier and faster for people to get drinks so they won’t have to wait for a long period.
Nightclubs must adapt to the wants of each new generation, and as long as they do, they will always be in business.
At the moment, the single idea of a nightclub strikes a sort of general social appeal as well as springs from the trajectory of socialization. This cuts across people of different races and their various individual social appeals which they freely express in so many ways one of which is through clubbing.
Also, one of the new trends in the club is the spraying of cash. It is seen as a means to flaunt wealth. At the moment, you don’t need to go to banks to get new notes. There are special “bureau de change” inside clubs. To get N5,000 you give them N7,000 or N8,000 and to change N10,000 you pay N15,000 and so on. It is also not uncommon to see most girls and celebrities displaying cash they make from clubs on their social media handles.
More so, one of the purveyors of youthful exuberance and liberated living are hypemen who are popular for yelling the raciest phrases with absolute abandon in a bid to get parties turned up to the rafters. Besides the hypemen who are nearly as infectious as the flu and are always handy to make people spend more in nightclubs, the DJs serve as bedrocks of Nigeria’s ever-expanding sound domination, party-loving Nigerians are gradually being immersed in a hypeman-led exploration of sound where some of the biggest tunes in recent times in the country, were crafted extemporaneously, on a heated up dancefloor, mic in hand, ‘lamba’ in check and artfully curated song mixes by the DJ on standby as a fluid hypeman spurs on the party-goers in his care to let go of all inhibitions and indulge themselves to the fullest.