On deck at the pool at Palms Place

A “backyard” pool party at the Palms, wine-tasting and rock music at the Red Rock pool and DJ Armand Van Helden

On deck at the Pool at Palms Place

“Picture a backyard pool party with all your friends.” That’s how Jon Gray—assistant to Palms president George Maloof—sees his new Tuesday-evening pool party panning out. Driving around this sweltering dust bowl of a valley one night around 8 p.m., Gray thought, “What else could I be doing this time of night?!” Other than going to restaurants, the answer is really not much—the clubs and lounges don’t open for hours, and the daytime pool parties have packed up for the night. That’s how Gray and a keen Maloof came up with the idea for the hip soiree. The evening begins in the lounge at Simon restaurant at Palms Place with happy hour cocktails from 6-8 p.m., then moves outside to the pool deck from 8 p.m.-midnight. Swimming is encouraged, as is enjoying the sounds of resident DJ 88 and a healthy rotation of guest DJs such as Adam 12 (She Wants Revenge) on opening night (July 1), Samantha Ronson on July 8 and Chris Clouse performing live on July 15. And what of the typical Vegas nightclub snobbery? Out the window, says Gray of his no-cover shindig. Plus, if you noticed that the ad for the event looks a little … homemade, that’s because it’s George Maloof’s own handwriting on a scrap of paper. “We’re not taking ourselves too seriously,” says Gray of the cutesy campaign. Oh, good. Cannonball, anyone?!

You say Rocket, and I say Rock It

Is it possible that we’ve finally hit max capacity on new party names? We know we shouldn’t judge a fête by its cover, or in this case, by its name … but do we really have three Relapse parties to choose from? (Yes, our shot glass runneth over with Relapse Monday pool party at the Flamingo, RElapse Tuesday happy hour at R.E. Tapas and—coming in July—Wasted Space’s Relapse Sunday Rehab afterparty at the Hard Rock.)

And then there’s the space race. When it launches on July 5, Bottle Rock It, an “eco-charity benefit concert series” at Red Rock Casino’s main pool, will pair live rock headliners with all-you-can-drink wine tasting every Saturday night. For $30, you can catch live performances by Slash and guests (7/5) and Perry Farrell (7/12). For another $15 you can upgrade to partake in the “wine pit.” All proceeds from the tasting benefit the Springs Preserve. Bottle Rock It is not to be confused with Rocket, the tasty new Wednesday industry night at Revolution Lounge, though Rocket does feature a contemporary rock format, or, as one rep put it, “Not so much ‘Jesse’s Girl’ as it is Coldplay … ” Rock on.

3.5 questions with DJ Armand Van Helden

The press and music world have multiple perceptions of you, from over-the-top to humble and focused. What is a fair assessment?

I’m a regular kind of dude. I do “dude” kind of things. I’ve had many different perceptions in the media, and some of it’s been strategically planned, kind of in my own head, just for fun. But really, I’m just a dude who pretty much chills in the studio and makes beats, and then I might hang out with friends. That’s about my life.

How would you describe the current state of electronic music?

I remember the time where I would literally buy hip-hop records just because they were hip-hop. That’s how small an amount of rap used to come out. No different than when the first house-music records started to come out—you just bought anything that looked like a house record. But now, it’s complete overkill. Everybody is making music. Every other person is a DJ. Every other person’s got a laptop with Logic on it, or whatever. So, it’s a really crazy time, but I think it’s exciting. The only problem I have with the dance-music scene? I’m a little worried about the disposability of everything. I’m hoping that the strong songs are remembered 20 years from now at a wedding.

What is the most unexpected element of your studio rig?

People come up and they see my studio and they’re like, “My little brother has this studio! Where’s everything else?” I’m like, “Everything else? This is it.” What surprises most people is I don’t have anything. I just mainly work on the computer, and that’s about it. I don’t have a bunch of vintage synths lying around and a big mixing board. It’s no different than a kid on a blog—that’s basically what I look like.

As a New Yorker, what is your impression of Vegas?

I’m so used to walking down the street … The first time I was in Vegas, I was like, “How do you get outside?” Everybody’s like, “You don’t want to go outside. It’s a hundred degrees.” I don’t understand what I’m supposed to do inside all the time! I wanna go outside and see stuff! Security was even like, “You don’t want to go outside.” It was the weirdest thing.

Armand Van Helden at Tao Beach on June 29 after a set at Electric Daisy Carnival in LA on June 28.


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