"It's hotter than a half-fucked fox in a forest fire!" That's how Alien Ant Farm singer Dryden Mitchell described the state of Wasted Space last Sunday night. In reality, the venue was a comfortable temperature and barely half-full, quite the contrast to the scene of its grand opening some two years ago.
In July 2008, Carey Hart's Wasted Space launched inside the Hard Rock Hotel, branding itself an "anti-club." A Vegas nightlife who's who packed the party, clamoring to catch a glimpse of Hart and his celeb pals, while tattooed and pierced staff kept the drinks flowing. That night, it was nearly impossible to move past the main bar, VIP areas and stage to the unisex restroom.
Flash forward to Sunday. My opening-night refuge, the side bar area, long had been re-absorbed into the Hard Rock casino, shrinking Wasted Space's, well, space. And though its curtains were repositioned Sunday for the final night, the area was unstaffed and empty, save for one couple's hardcore makeout session.
During its day, Wasted Space struggled to forge an identity, never quite figuring out whether to be a nightclub or music venue. It settled on a hybrid, which apparently didn't work. And so the club some locals took to calling Waste of Space is now slated to become part of a new Hard Rock race and sports book.
"I think it's sad and upsetting that the smaller rock venues don't last in this town," said Vegas resident Jessica Hock. "I don't understand why, except they tried to make this too clubby with bottle service and mark up the liquor 400 percent."
Another local, John Nevarez, added: "I came for the soft opening and had a wonderful time. I never stopped coming here, and I'm sad to see it go."
A few rock-world celebrities, including Box Car Racer's Anthony Celestino and Pantera's Vinnie Paul, stopped by. Noticeably absent, however, was Carey Hart himself.
I was hoping Alien Ant Farm would start smashing shit since the place is set to be torn apart anyway, but Mitchell seemed too busy making cocaine references and blowing snot rockets onto the stage. Guitarist Terry Corso threw in an "RIP Wasted Space" toward the end, but for a venue that opened with a bang, it went out with a quiet and confusing whimper.