This Vauxhall club can boast an innovative sound and light show, although the atmosphere is marred by heavy-handed security measures.
Lightbox is one of a growing number of late-night clubs under the arches of the Vauxhall train lines – it can be found on South Lambeth Place, a tunnel just off Vauxhall bus station, so transport is fairly straightforward even in the early hours of the morning. A narrow brick entrance leads on to a forecourt, box office hut and almost airport-standard levels of security, before leading into a large beer garden - perfect for catching one's breath between DJ sets. Once inside the labyrinthine club, made up of vaulted ceilings and dark brick walls, there is a choice of two main rooms, each with a distinct soundtrack and visual theme. The larger of the two is the Lightbox itself, featuring an impressive installation of LED lights covering every conceivable surface around a darkened DJ booth and stage, and pulsing in time with the beat. A large, colourfully lit bar with high tables and stools is on hand nearby, too. The secondary room is smaller but no less visually arresting, with a dazzling array of lights and auxiliary bar.
While the customers filling up Lightbox are well meaning on the whole, it's difficult to ignore the rather oppressive security measures implemented throughout the building, from the initial full-body search to the threatening anti-drug posters on every wall. The dance floor is as good a place as any to put it out of your mind, though, and it’s quite easy to get lost in the music and lights.
A weekly line-up of top DJs and experimental live acts are consistently rewarding. Dub, house and trance are frequently represented at nights which cost around £5 per person, rising to £10 on the door.
Although there is no draught beer at Lightbox, cans of Carlsberg and Red Stripe are available at £4.80, and spirits and mixers weigh in at around £6. Throughout the night, selected beers and shots are priced at £2.60, so it's worth keeping an eye out for deals. Elsewhere it's business as usual, with the traditional club fare supplemented by rather passable wine, £4.30 a glass.
The Last Word
Lightbox is a synaesthetes dream, with a spectacular light show offsetting an impressive pool of DJ talent. It's just a shame that over-zealous security measures can make it something of a no-fun zone.