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The Independent Culture
The Aquarium, 40 Seel Street, Liverpool (0151-709 9905) Fridays, 8pm pounds NUS/pounds 5, Saturday pounds 5 members & NUS/pounds 6 others

Sexy Medicine, at Club 051, 1 Mount Pleasant, Liverpool (0151-709 9586) tonight, 10pm-4am pounds 10

Name a nightclub in Liverpool? Southerners like myself would all probably give the same reply - Cream. Yet a weekend tour of the region reveals so much more than one superclub and one super football team (definitely not the blue team).

With Manchester's clubs undergoing a change in direction and the recent demise of the club scene in Leeds, Liverpool is currently battling Birmingham for the undisputed title of clubbing capital north of London.

The Aquarium is a brand new venue that has set tongues wagging among the after-dark posse. This lavish and glam venue comfortably holds 800 revellers and boasts two floors for twice as much debauchery.

Moving away from the cavernous aesthetic of many 1980s nightclubs, the Aquarium offers a bright alternative dressed in drapes, soft furnishings and crisp colours. Downstairs is decked out in a glass-and-brick effect while upstairs sports a more underground vibe.

Friday and Saturday nights offer the best chance to see the club in full flow. Friday's gig, Toe 2 Toe, offers an attractive combination of drum'n'bass upstairs and hip-hop downstairs. For reasons unknown, few clubs have chosen to showcase this fusion. Instead, you usually get R'n'B mixed with one or the other.

Toe 2 Toe shows how it can be done and highlights the common ancestor of jungle and hip-hop: break beat samples. Quinzo and Cold DJ Reko keep the beats phat downstairs for an informal and relaxed crowd.

Saturday enters the wide world of house music at Liquid. DJs Robin Jackson, Rob Jay and Paul Kane play a combo of funky garage and house. The onus here is on quality house music with an underground vibe for smart clubbers. If you want to check out the new vibe here, iron a shirt and leave the trainers at home - it's worth it.

Club 051 isn't exactly a new venue but they still know how to put on a great party. Tonight, Sexy Medicine goes live on 96.7 City FM at midnight so the whole city can experience the weekend vibe. Previous live transmissions from the same venue have been memorable so get there early if you want to be on the right side of the transmitter. Lee Butler, Dave Graham, Pez Tellett and JFMC feature on the decks tonight.