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[The Incidental Tourist]

Live music and innovative entertainment in nightclubs? More, please

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Ariana Savalas (center) of Postmodern Jukebox
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Postmodern Jukebox is a perfect fit for the Las Vegas Strip. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a musical collective and a successful touring show created by musician Scott Bradlee in 2011. It’s explained with the taglines “New music, old style,” or “Pop music in a time machine.” It has amassed more than 1 billion YouTube views thanks to stylized covers of Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” and Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” performed via throwback genres: swing, Motown, ragtime, doo-wop and more. (You might want to check out the 1930s jazz version of “Careless Whisper” with Dave Koz on sax. Maybe.) It’s fun and feels easy. Widespread appeal doesn’t get much wider.

PMJ played eight shows at the Mirage’s Terry Fator Theatre in November and then returned in April for something different, the resident show Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox Hideaway in the resort’s nightclub, 1 OAK. Considering crooner Matt Goss has been doing his cabaret-meets-lounge thing at the club since December 2017, putting another live-music production in this 16,000-square-foot, open-format nightclub isn’t a huge surprise, but it could be a significant development in a burgeoning trend.

Hideaway is booked Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. into August, but if it performs well—and since the band and singers are crazy-talented and the song selection and arrangements are bright, funny and sexy, it deserves a longer run—it could continue at 1 OAK while the club keeps clubbing at 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Wouldn’t it be great if other forms of entertainment could permeate the Strip’s many fantastic nightclub spaces? Most of them only come to life for private events outside of those late-night weekend operations. Wynn closed the glamorous Intrigue Nightclub just this week in order to use it as a private event space, no surprise considering XS Nightclub and Encore Beach Club—two of the most dominant party places in the country—are essentially on the same property. Imagine the beautifully wild potential of a company like Spiegelworld creating a show for the Intrigue space.

We’re not necessarily talking about live performance instead of DJs at Vegas nightclubs, something that’s already happening at Drai’s and KAOS and several other spots. Contrary to posts from club haters and Vegas Twitter trolls, DJs and dance music in nightclubs and dayclubs aren’t going anywhere. But if these venues could fortify their offerings with more diverse programming, it’s a win-win. And it’s probably going to happen next at Bellagio, which, like the Mirage, is run by MGM Resorts International.

Hyde, a hybrid of lounge and nightclub overlooking the Bellagio’s fountains, will close on July 6 to transform into a new concept this winter. Before it became Hyde in 2011, this was the Fontana, a classic casino refuge for live entertainment. Over by the sportsbook sits the empty, unused nightspace formerly known as the Bank, and before that, the original Light. It shuttered on June 3, 2018. And Bellagio is already in the process of revamping its two signature lounges: The Baccarat Bar closed last week and will reopen in early fall, and the Petrossian Lounge will close on August 26 and reopen in early December.

That’s quite a bit of space for an entertainment-oriented company to reimagine what a Vegas nightclub can, or should, be.

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Brock is an award-winning writer who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for 20 years. He currently leads entertainment ...

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