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LAX sets itself apart by favoring live performers over EDM DJs

LAX opened at the Luxor seven years ago.
Jorge Labrador

It’s Saturday at LAX Nightclub and the line is a mélange of cowboys hanging around after NFR and the post-Jay Z concert crowd.

At one point in the evening, the DJ has the chutzpah to segue “The Imperial March” from Star Wars right into Baauer’s “Harlem Shake”—with Darth Vader and a bunch of stormtroopers rolling up to the DJ booth for the now-iconic dance. And since this was the Sexy Santa Holiday Party, there was definitely a twerking Mrs. Claus there. Yeah, it was that kind of night.

Compare that scene, say, to that of Light or Hakkasan—newer clubs that have made the EDM-plosion part of their identity—and the vibe difference is obvious. But that’s exactly what LAX is banking on. It has more or less eschewed the BPM-centric programming of other clubs, though it did dabble in it a few years ago.

Today, the club emphasizes open-format DJs and live hip-hop and R&B performances. In 2013, LAX featured the likes of Method Man, Jeremih, Too $hort, Miguel and Keri Hilson, the latter to return for the club’s New Year’s Eve fête. And such bookings match the gothic Hollywood mansion look of the club, which lacks the huge screens and intricate lighting systems of EDM-friendly venues.

Seven years sounds like a long time for a club, but age ain’t nothing but a number. If its quasi-counter-programming approach or (admit it) twerking elves sound like your kinda scene, LAX is definitely worth revisiting.

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