Thom Svast, managing partner of new late-Saturday-night party After, doesn’t have the budget of his hotel-backed competitors. He also lacks their restrained tone and willingness to compromise.
Just a few nights before After’s February 1 launch at the TW Theater on the Strip, Svast—also a producer and DJ—brainstormed everything he found irksome about Vegas nightclubs and the so-called EDM movement. On social media, he posted his complaints as a glib but genuine set of “rules” (i.e. no pre-mixed sets, LMFAO songs or taking requests) and promised to hang them in After’s DJ booth—and watched the countless comments, reposts and media reports follow from there. It cost him nothing to generate the sort of publicity for which his competitors pay five and six figures.
“Those are artist rules, but artists really don’t have rules,” he says. “It’s a pun on what’s going on [in the clubs].”
After is a discernible shift from the megaclub spectacle. Once 3:30 a.m. rolls around, the event’s resident duo Black Boots subtly transitions from LGBT party Krave, which anchors TW’s prime-time nightlife schedule, with largely vocal-free house. After’s incoming throng joins the remaining gay revelers, and the mixed dancefloor looks like a scene from New York City or Miami. Lasers shoot across the club; visuals fill the screen above the DJs; and people are actually dancing, as opposed to reacting to the music. Later, LA’s Steve Prior—one of several underground house- and techno-leaning DJs Svast has lured for the promo—teams up with the other local resident pair, Spacebyrdz, and takes the music even deeper.
Come Sunday evening, Svast reports that revered DJ Sasha is retweeting his rules, and that he’s very happy with the kickoff, which bodes well for a Friday night expansion in mid-March. “It was a special night for Las Vegas and underground music,” he says. “The energy felt amazing in the room.”
Add the energy online, and After feels like an immediate, if unconventional, hit.
After Saturday, 3:30 a.m., $20 men, women & locals free. TW Theater, 3765 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 945-7500.