to be honest it really does live up to its reputation of worst club in western europe. it not even a proper club, doesnt have a proper sound system or lighting and the dance floor is a joke. your more likely to get suffocated than be able to dance properly. if your into clubbing and your going to durham you gotta be prepared to make the trip to newcastle basically. unless of course the DSU is any good... which i dunno yet. durham is good for bars/pubs but club-wise its a disgrace. lucky it more than makes up for it in other areas really.
The problem lies with city officials, councillors and magistrates etc. Commercially the city can support more nightlife, but licences are not forthcoming. DSU for example cannot stay open on a Saturday night beyond 11, because the Cathedral petitions against noise early on sunday mornings.
For any big name acts you are either looking to the colleges during their summer balls, or Newcastle. The problem is that no one room in the Uni holds more than say 700 people. When you work out that even a minor named act will charge say £5000 to play, plus accomodation, and travel expenses, plus the usual bar staff costs it becomes impossible to run. Colleges will cover the loss in the ticket price for a ball, but neither DSU, nor places in the City have the space to run these kind of things at a profit.
IMHO Northumbria's union puts on the best live acts for students in the North East. As they have a more open-plan union they can cram you all in at a profit. Durham unfortunately cannot.