On Friday, the space above the Florida Theater will be almost unrecognizable to fans of electronic music who frequented the former Gallery Ultralounge since opening in January 2016. The club, which received a significant face-lift since classes ended in Spring, is now called Realm.
The opening weekend celebration formally begins Friday with headliner Middath of Claude VonStroke’s successful Dirtybird record label. The event will also feature performances from various Over Easy Creative residents and Realm owner Douglas Palmieri under his new alias, Black Cloud.
Partygoers who frequented Gallery can remember that the lounge had white walls, boarded up windows and limited space for DJs to play.
Now, the windows will go uncovered, the once-painted brick will be exposed and performers will take advantage of a large, “DJ friendly” space adorned by four audio subwoofers.
The newly-painted black walls will reflect and enhance the lighting perfected by Palmieri himself, who owns Gator Sound and Lighting, and has enough equipment “to hold an entire concert,” said Palmieri.
When guests enter, they will come face to face with a life-sized mural of a tree, courtesy of Jenna Horner of the 352 Walls Project. This will be the club's first indication that Realm has set the tone for a more down-to-earth atmosphere.
Lanterns, green lights and vines lining the bar will emphasize the new direction Palmieri intended for the club, which will put a heavy emphasis on an “incomparable sound,” Palmieri said.
At an electronic show, sound is the most important element, according to Palmieri. He feels that many clubs don’t invest the time and money to create the best sound possible for the atmosphere.
“The lights … you walk into the room and the manager just flicks on the lights and then goes and disappears. Most places in this town, if you come in at the beginning of the night, that’s what the lights are going to look like the rest of the night, and that’s all.
“Club owners don’t know how to control lighting, and they don’t care to hire someone to do it. That’s a big issue for me, because I want it to look good. Quality is very important to me,” Palmieri said.
Palmieri first opened Gallery when he saw a demand in the Gainesville market for a place electronic music fans could go to feel at home, a need previously fulfilled by Gainesville favorite Motor Room. When he made the change to Realm, he wanted to “give people a little something extra,” Palmieri said.
Les Voss felt the same need to create a space for electronic music fans that would not be restricted to playing the familiar and overplayed. His company, Over Easy Creative, fulfills the artistic side of the electronic world Palmieri created with Gallery while also providing creative feedback that helped create Realm.
“When Doug (Palmieri) opened Gallery, it was what everyone needed. And the fact that it turned into Realm just shows that Doug put his best foot forward with it but he knew he could do better in its second rendition.
“What we do, it’s our craft … It’s not so much just playing music and being the head of a party, it’s really taking the people that are in the room on a journey with the music,” Voss said.
Starting Summer B, Realm will hold college nights on Thursdays and theme nights on Saturdays. Friday’s show begins at 10 p.m., and the opening weekend special gives a group of five women or more a free bottle of champagne. Cover charge will be $5 before 11 p.m. for those on the guest list, $7 for those who are not. If the event gets particularly packed, cover charge will rise to $10.