Saturday nights in OC have become a lot more friendly to the local hip-hop fans as the part industrial, part hipster quarter of Costa Mesa (Randolph, Baker, Bristol area) has continued nurturing this hybrid stead of contemporary and retro Urban music. Last Saturday we swung by Mansion, the new club formerly known as Shark Club, which had its grand opening late last month. The night featured special guests French Montana and Power 106’s Justin Credible.
While other Costa Mesa hip-hop spots like Memphis, cater to the older, A Tribe Called Quest-loving crowd and The Commissary, offer a Young Thug/IAMSU fix, Mansion looks to both realize the potential of the area and up the ante a bit with a fancier dress code requiring button-ups. It seems like a bit much for a club inside a small industrial area a stones throw away from The Camp. But upon entry, it becomes clearer there’s a reason for their sartorial standards.
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Looking from the outside, the former Shark Club looks more like a defunct used car dealership that doubled as a front but inside, a grand lighting fixture, something like a LED chandelier that changes colors with the mood, catches your eye as floating rays drift around to the more traditional vintage style lighting fixtures. Black leather seats donned with plush white furs surrounded the dance floor which lead to a wide stage legitimized by a huge graphics screen, that might outdo something you’d find at the Observatory. The new spot is heavily inspired by Vegas. Waiters looked dapper in short-sleeve collared white shirts under suspenders with waitresses in sexy, black leotards and high heels.
As the night got underway, the early comers, a more sophisticated, Commissary (predominantly Asian) crowd filled the building before the club was made up what had to be all the black people in OC history and other types such as Latina moms who’d left Junior with grandma and a RedBox rental for the night.The music largely fit the latter crowd who danced to music from Dr. Dre’s 2001 and even older West Coast radio hits. The music would progress to the era of Tyga and “Toot It and Boot It” but didn’t manage to reach Young Thug and Migos, sounds of the current zeitgeist, until well into the midnight hour. At one point a “Cat Daddy” to “Teach Me How To Jerk” back-to-back took the mood from questioning whether I should leave to wishing I had a handful of tomatoes to throw at DJ Such & Such.
With a night full of “All I Do Is Win”s and “Beat the Pussy Up”s, it’s hard to make the claim of that Mansion is anywhere near becoming OC’s newest hip-hop club since all they played was old-ass music. Even Soulja Boy’s “Turn My Swag On” got a play?! You fucking kidding?!
Apart from a lackluster French Montana appearance (he rapped three verses and smoked hookah the entire time), a fight the rapper attempted to break up (“all theses bad bitches in here, y’all need to be trying to talk to them,” he said), and a dude looking like he was part of New Orleans’ Second line with Bojangles dance moves, there wasn’t much to talk about after a night in Mansion. Maybe the club will eventually be a nice fit into the rotation of hip-hop spots in the growing Costa Mesa enclave. However, it needs a bit more cultural nurturing and slightly cheaper cocktails ( with their $13 Hennessey) before living up to its full potential.