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Long-closed Dayton club re-emerging for a night this weekend

“It is kind of like ‘Hot Tub Time Machine.’ You feel like you are back in ‘98. There are not a lot of cell phones out. People are talking (to each other),” organizer says.

The DJ boat booth, heavy duty shark cage used for dancing and nude mannequins were moved out long ago.

The building it once inhabited now provides shelter for homeless teenagers, but the spirit of that Asylum Nightclub lives on, Matt Freeman says.

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Freeman, a longtime DJ at the alternative music dance club, will host the 2018 installment of the annual  Asylum Reunion from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday, Nov. 23, at Therapy Cafe, 452 E. Third St. in downtown Dayton. 

The Asylum Nightclub reunion is planned for Friday, Nov. 23. 2018. (Matt Freeman)

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Eric Heilman, also an Asylum DJ, will also spin ‘80s and ‘90s dance and industrial electronic music at the reunion from artists like Crystal Waters; Daft Punk; Massive AttackGorillaz; BlurFatboy Slim; PortisheadThe Cure KMFDM; Prince; Lord of AcidBjörk and The Chemical Brothers.

The Asylum Nightclub reunion is planned for Friday, Nov. 23. 2018. (Matt Freeman)


“You have the same music, the same DJ and the same atmosphere for the night,” Freeman said. “It is kind of like ‘Hot Tub Time Machine.  You feel like you are back in ‘98. There are not a lot of cell phones out. People are talking (to each other).”

The shark cage will even be there. Freeman left it at Therapy Cafe after the last reunion. 

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The cover is $5 to for the 18 and older event. 

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Dayton property owner Scott Edsall opened the Asylum, which morphed into Club Fusion and Parallax, in 1993 and closed in 2005. Freeman said it was inspired by a popular New York dance club. 

Its former building, 605 S. Patterson Blvd., now houses Daybreak. 

Freeman started DJ at the Asylum in 1994. He has hosted about eight reunions for the dance club since 2014. In the early years, two reunions were held a year. Now just one is held a year.  

The Asylum Nightclub reunion is planned for Friday, Nov. 23. 2018. (Matt Freeman)

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Asylum drew as many as 1,500 people on a typical Friday or Saturday night, many willing to wait in long lines to get in. 

“Back then, you had to go because everyone was talking about it,” said Freeman, a graphic artist.

More than 250 people are expected to attend, Freeman said. The crowd includes old Asylum fans now mostly in their late 30s and 40s and a new generation in their 20s. 

“People still want to go out,” Freeman said.  “I don’t think anything speaks to them like that did.”

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“I still have the music from then. It can be anything from Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails, Blur, Depeche Mode,” he said. We try to keep all that same energy that was there then.” 

The Asylum Nightclub reunion is planned for Friday, Nov. 23. 2018. (Matt Freeman)

WANT TO GO?

What: Asylum Reunion  

When: 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., Friday, Nov. 23

Where: Therapy Cafe, 452 E. Third St., in downtown Dayton. 

Cost: $5 at the door

Online: Facebook event page link

The nomination period in Dayton.com's Best of 2018 contest has started! Click the button below to start teling us your favorites.

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