With a seemingly never-ending stream of new or newly renovated nightclubs, ultra lounges and pool parties, competition in the Las Vegas club scene is fierce. From massive nightclubs to daylife pools, everyone is battling for their piece of the party pie. Within the past three months alone, three stunning new venues have been added to the city’s nightscape: Haze at Aria, featuring cutting-edge sound and lighting; Eve at Crystals, complete with Swarovsky dripping chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling windows; and Vanity at the Hard Rock Hotel, covered in pearls, hand-cut crystals and a million-dollar chandelier of its own.
Is there is a recession going on? It’s hard to tell amid the lavish décor and equally shiny crowds.
“What’s happening in Las Vegas isn’t happening anywhere else,” says Tao and Lavo entertainment marketing machine Mike Snedegar.
Venues need to be more than impressive-looking to make it in this town. In addition to look and feel, sound can make or break a Las Vegas nightclub.
XS and Tryst program director Dave Fogg is seeing a shift toward electronic music, which is already the rage in European nightclubs.
“There are clubs that are being progressive, pushing an increasingly popular electronic music format,” he says.
Fogg, who spins at XS and Tryst under the name DJ Creative, points to Rain resident Paul Oakenfold and recent Perfecto guest headliner, Markus Schulz,
as examples of DJs who are changing the scene here and abroad.
Snedegar agrees. “Every big nightclub will eventually have a headlining DJ with their own residency and themed party built around him or her,” he predicts.
Haze generated considerable buzz when it burst onto the scene in late December—and continues to draw attention—thanks to guest DJs such as Tiësto, David Guetta, Kaskade, Sharam (Deep Dish) and Faarsheed.
This is a departure from depending on celebrities to double as DJs, who Fogg says tend to rely on generic-sounding mash-ups and remain musically static. Still, we have yet to see the end of the actor-turned-amateur-DJ phenomenon. “There are some clubs still stuck on the celebrity host and DJ factor,” he says.
Like it or not, hordes of clubgoers can’t get enough of their TV personalities. From former That ’70s Show actor Danny Masterson (a.k.a. DJ Mom Jeans) to Jersey Shore personality Paul Delvecchio (a.k.a. Pauly D, who recently signed a residency deal with N9NE Group to play at the Palms pool this summer), people turn out in the thousands to see small-screen stars take to the booth—regardless of musical talent (or lack there of).
It is not uncommon for nightclubs to pay megabucks—$10,000 is generally the baseline, depending on the “talent”—to get stars in the door. Celeb-hosts are often socialites with reality TV shows such as Paris Hilton (who signed a lucrative deal with the Hard Rock that requires her to host a certain number of parties on-property each year), the Kardashians (Rob, Kim, and Kourtney all hosted parties within the last month, at Vanity, Tao/Lavo and Jet, respectively), and the couple everyone loves to hate, Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt (who were at Pure on Feb. 13).
While Hollywood still plays a significant part in making Las Vegas’ nightlife sparkle, Snedegar says the outlook is even more bright. “The world’s best talent will continue to come here and people will continue to build jaw-dropping venues,” he says.
Fogg agrees—and looks forward to the day when reality TV personalities are just part of the bigger, better picture. “The future of Vegas nightlife,” he says, “is big-room venues, boutique nightclubs and nighttime pool parties.”