London electronic music trio Above & Beyond might not appear to be the most likely Vegas club act, but Jono Grant, Paavo Silijamäki and Tony McGuinness have been having quite the time popping into our desert dance music oasis for years now. They recently became one of the first announced residencies at new Palms venue KAOS, which is pretty much as Vegas as it gets.
“For us, Vegas is a really interesting town,” McGuinness says. “We were at Hakkasan and before that at Marquee and the Hard Rock [Hotel], but we did a birthday party for the wife of one of the owners [of the Palms] a couple years back and met them and really enjoyed their company. That relationship helps when there’s a new venture like this, because there’s risk involved for both parties. But we went to see the club before the opening and had been impressed with the plans to renovate the Palms. They mean business. This is not a half-assed thing.”
For A&B, which also owns English record labels Anjunabeats and Anjunadeep and recently released a companion EP to last year’s Common Ground album, playing at KAOS means maintaining a home in the global club capital while also experimenting with a somewhat unorthodox venue, something the group has done consistently throughout its touring career.
“It’s definitely a Vegas club, and it reminds me a little of a cross between Hakkasan and [XS] at Wynn because of the nature of the pool space,” McGuinness says. “It’s got that vibe of a uniquely Vegas club, but I don’t know anywhere else in the world that does those things with the same commitment. And we do make our sets a bit more punchy because of the destination. There’s a lot of people there who are not so familiar with us, but at the same time we are growing into the place and feel very much at home in Vegas. The Above & Beyond show we do everywhere else does work in Las Vegas.”
Coming from such a musically refined act, that’s a compliment for Las Vegas. A&B has been twice nominated for Grammy awards and is well-known for its wildly successful acoustic tours. Beyond festival and Vegas dates, next up is a return to the 27,500-seat Gorge Amphitheatre near in Washington state for the Group Therapy Weekender in late July.
“We’re very much looking forward to going back,” McGuinness says. “I remember [last time at the Gorge], going onstage with Paavo for his yoga set and being rather overcome, even having a bit of a teary moment. It’s one thing to see and hear a large audience in a dark club, but when it’s in broad daylight and you can see people kind of wandering with their cups of coffee and rucksacks, really see how many people there are and the expressions on their faces, it’s quite an overwhelming experience for me, to realize how far we’ve come and what we’ve built as a fan base. So to go back and do that again is exciting.”
ABOVE & BEYOND May 24, 11 a.m., $20-$25. KAOS, 702-953-7665.