Catalyst began its life in 2000 as an underground dance club called Move in the former home of J.B.C. Move was forced to change its name to Motion towards the end of that year, as it emerged there was another bar in operation elsewhere in NZ under the same name. The club was the only of its sort in Hamilton, as it specialised in electronica that wasn't happy house or euro-techno. There was also no liquor license. Move and Motion provided a backdrop for punters at a time that Ecstasy use appeared to be peaking in Hamilton.
Motion eventually disintegrated amidst drug scandals and legal charges against two of the owners. The club was purchased by new owners who renamed it Catalyst in late 2001.
Catalyst enjoyed some popularity during this period, and hosted a large number of national and international dance acts. It continued to exist in spite of in-fighting amongst DJs and promoters, and hosted occasional specialty nights as well as showcasing local and touring DJs and groups. In mid-2006 the bar opened its doors to bands, but was overall unsuccessful. The venue closed down sometime in 2007, and re-opened as rock bar Sabbath in August that year.