There’s a scene at the end of Moneyball in which the owner of the Boston Red Sox is commending Brad Pitt’s Billy Beane for using advanced statistics and undervalued players to build a playoff baseball team.
“The first guy through the wall, he always gets bloody,” the owner tells Beane.
It’s that line that resonates when playing tracks from the new stars of Wynn Nightlife’s 2018 talent roster.
Black Coffee. Jamie Jones. Solomun. These are house DJs, big names who are all Ibiza veterans but fairly new to the Strip scene, signed to what Wynn dubs its first “underground” residencies.
It’s a different sound than we’re used to hearing out of XS, Intrigue and Encore Beach Club. It’s a progressive move, presumably one of the last ones made during former Wynn exec Sean Christie’s tenure, and one that, if successful, could inspire competitors to follow suit.
Don’t get the wrong impression—Wynn Nightlife still has megastars Diplo, The Chainsmokers and Marshmello (among others) to draw international audiences to the north end of the resort corridor.
But this is a Moneyball move: a team seeing an undervalued asset in the marketplace–in this case, house music—and seizing on it to gain a competitive edge.
And Wynn’s not sending a bunch of rookies up to bat.
Jamie Jones is a huge get. The all-star DJ/producer and one-half of the duo Hot Natured is famous for his “Paradise Parties” (he even staged one at Wynn last year), and bringing that vibe could potentially turn every Jones appearance into a FOMO-crazy event.
Solomun has been making music since the late ’90s, drawing inspiration from soul, funk and disco beats. For a time he owned a club in Hamburg, Germany, called Ego, which would be a great name for a Las Vegas club.
Like Jones and Solomun, South Africa native Nkosinathi Innocent Maphumulo, a.k.a. Black Coffee, is a two-time award winner for Best Deep House DJ, having taken the title in 2016 and 2017. Coffee is coming off his first Ibiza residency and was just announced, alongside Jones, on Coachella’s 2018 roster.
Las Vegas is seeing more moves like this–nightclubs testing different formats or experimenting with rising stars who can be signed for fewer dollars and turned into household names.
TAO Group had the latter happen with DJ Khaled. Drai’s and Light moved away from EDM to become hip-hop destinations, with huge residency rosters. Even Hakkasan Group’s 1 OAK hosts Matt Goss’ show, a Rat Pack throwback staged before the club transforms into a dance venue.
There’s room for house to grow in Las Vegas, even if there are some growing pains.