Las Vegas is arguably the epicenter of club culture in America, and we have the billion-dollar revenue and exclusive DJ residencies to prove it. But we still manage to come up short. Let us whine, er, count the ways.
Live shows: This week, producer/DJ Porter Robinson launches his much-anticipated Worlds Tour, performing songs “live” via synthesizers, samples and multi-tracking, as opposed to just mixing them in a DJ set. But its 40-date routing doesn’t include Las Vegas. Robinson has an exclusive contract with Marquee, but Vegas nightclubs rarely, if ever, allow their talent to perform live, and it looks like the Cosmo club is one of the only places to see his “classic style of DJ set.” We’ve had enough of experiencing Robinson the DJ—how about Robinson the artist?
And ditto for other producer/DJs like Skrillex, whose Mothership Tour didn’t reach Vegas (though some of its production may be included in his Life is Beautiful set). Flume’s live set earlier this month was a welcome exception. But it wasn’t held at a nightclub—it was at Brooklyn Bowl.
Arena shows: Vegas regulars such as Armin van Buuren, Kaskade and Eric Prydz have or will headline major American arenas. But despite the large draw those DJs have here, they won’t be bringing those bigger events to our own indoor stadiums. For the most part, it’s the exclusive contracts getting in the way. And why should, say, Avicii play for 15,000 at a local arena with expensive production, when his XS gig might turn over the same number of attendees during a fuss-free holiday weekend night?
Tiësto managed an exception during the pre-exclusivity years when he rang in 2006 with a six-hour New Year’s set at Orleans Arena. But other subsequent arena-staged DJ sets have been part of larger, multi-artist parties like last October’s Sensation. And even those events are sometimes relegated to the conventional party spots. Diplo’s Mad Decent Block Party is touring large outdoor venues in America, but played Encore Beach Club in Las Vegas.
No peak-time house or techno: The Strip’s VIPs apparently won’t tolerate anything less than melodic vocal house, big-room dance anthems and trap/hip-hop. As such, the various underground house genres and techno are relegated to afterhours or Downtown. Sadly, what’s good for Marquee New York City isn’t good for Marquee Las Vegas—at ideal partying hours, anyway.