Las Vegas nightlife is predictable—but not that predictable. Who saw Hakkasan Group buying the much bigger Light Group conglomerate? Or Victor Drai opening a gay club inside Bally’s? We can’t envision any similarly left-field phenomena yet, but we can forecast some possible trends and transitions for 2015.
Fewer EDM superstar residency bookings. While the commercial-dance-music bubble has yet to burst, it’s slowly deflating, and has been for the better part of the past year. The majority of DJs booked at Surrender now are known for playing both EDM and some form of hip-hop. Hell, even Tiësto has stuck his toe into the trap waters. Expect more Diplo clones and less of the strictly dance-oriented DJs to surface when the 2015 residency rosters begin rolling out. Speaking of which …
Less emphasis on exclusives and residents. Some nightlife groups didn’t even release a resident-DJ roster early last year, and others couldn’t keep some of their higher-profile signees exclusive to their club(s). Certain talent has been flitting back and forth between competitors for the past six months, especially as the bidding wars remain fierce for the hottest names, and newer clubs like Life and Drai’s seem less hung up on restricting their headliners to just their DJ booths.
More warehouse parties. The last three months of 2014 saw a wave of successful warehouse parties from house/techno promoters like After and Epyk. But these weren’t fly-by-night operations—these were professional, insured and well-produced events that drew younger househeads and more mature clubbers alike, both demographics undoubtedly fatigued with big-room DJ sets and, well, big rooms in general. Specifically, the Artistic Armory, a garage-like art studio/gallery in the southwest, might just be the most promising—if least conventional—nightlife newcomer.
More deep house. While the Strip remains the only major American clubbing hub still skittish about noncommercial house and techno—Life has all but given up on Underground Sundays, at least as a weekly promotion—multiple spaces off the Boulevard have devoted at least one night a week to deep, minimal, classic progressive, soulful and tech house, partially sustained by the sheer number of local DJs playing it.
More attention on Vegas’ beat creators. Sin City is known for the producer/DJs it attracts, not the ones it breeds. But some local names are on the brink of international recognition, including Madonna collaborators Shelco Garcia and Teenwolf (see our 15 to Watch cover story), and J Diesel, whose house tunes are being played by DJs who don’t even play here. And then there are road warriors like EDM rising star Justin “3LAU” Blau, trap act Caked Up and versatile duo Black Boots, the latter having just landed a spot on this year’s Warped Tour.
The Arts District will see more bars. Because Vegas. Actually, one has already opened: Hop Nuts Brewing welcomed customers on December 31.
Gipsy will reopen with a pool—or die trying. It remains to be seen if the market can bear another LGBT nightclub. However, don’t discount Vegas’ pioneering gay discotheque, Gipsy, as it continues to slowly transition from Bar Rescue disaster to a new nightclub with a dayclub pool—that is, unless it fails to open by early summer.
Steve Aoki will open a business here. Henderson only has so many organic/healthy dining options. Its newest superstar resident may just take it upon himself to add one to the area. He’s already done it in his hometown of LA, and restaurant entrepreneurialism is in his blood.
VIPs will soon be able to DJ—for a price. With clubs constantly trying to outdo one another with ultra-expensive bottle packages, expect one to finally allow big ballers—with the help of a deferential DJ—to play songs of their choosing. This may or may not coincide with the first million-dollar bottle-service package. If there’s one prediction I can be totally wrong about, please let it be this one.