The LED wall at coming-soon Palladium nightclub inside Castle. (Castle )
Love it or hate it, Excalibur has been a fixture of River North's club scene since it opened in 1989. Twenty-four years is an eternity in nightlife time, and the club's owners decided this winter that it was time for a reboot.
Come March 1, Excalibur and the adjacent club Vision will be retired, and night owls can shake it at a new hangout, Castle. After a six-month renovation, Castle will debut as an expansive club with five separate "environments," from a first-floor pub to a fifth-floor dance club with new audio-visual installations.
"[We're] creating a sound, lighting, video and entertainment experience to rival a festival such as Lollapalooza," said Tim Borden, a consultant and developer behind Castle.
Most of the audio and visual innovations are located inside Palladium, the top-floor dance club that will host international DJs and has a capacity of approximately 1,300.
A Void sound system, custom programmable LED lighting and, yes, a 3-D video projector have been installed on walls, stages and DJ booths throughout Palladium, according to entertainment director Jeff Newing.
"Remember Carrie Underwood's dress from The Grammys?" Newing said, citing an example of 3-D projection technology. "The surface of the DJ booth and the actual speakers that are hanging next to the stage are mapped with videos. It doesn’t look like you’re watching a video screen; you’re watching a set design that’s moving."
In addition to Palladium, Castle will also include a first-floor pub called Castle Craft Pub & Eatery, serving pizzas, sandwiches and draft beers. Also on the first floor, Cabaret will host live dance and interactive stage shows. The third floor is home to Sanctuary, an LGBTQ-focused dance club, while basement Lair Lounge is a more intimate space to retreat after some time on the dance floor.
Castle gave an advanced peek at the space during a New Year's Eve party, but it will officially open March 1 with a lineup that includes Grammy-winning producer and house music DJ Roger Sanchez as well as dance DJ Chris Lake on March 2. Ticket information will be released soon on Palladium's Facebook page.
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