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How EDM Changed Vegas Nightlife (Part 1)
How EDM Changed Vegas Nightlife (Part 1)

When I first hit the Las Vegas nightlife scene and began exploring all its bars, clubs, and ultra-lounges, I gravitated toward the same club. Because, you see,  my absolute number one favorite genre of music is and always will be house music.
Now, speaking of house music, those who have spent the same amount of time in Las Vegas as I have must remember the number one spot to go sometimes on a Friday but ALWAYS on a Saturday:  ICE. The sound system in the main room was so intense that it left you questioning whether you’d wake up deaf the next morning. I was at Ice every weekend, from their residency with Donald Glaude on Thank Glaude, It’s Friday to when they just started booking names and talent for Saturday nights.
And do not get me going about what happened to Las Vegas nightlife when EMPIRE BALLROOM came onto the scene. As far as I’m concerned (and I KNOW anyone else will agree), some of the memories of a lifetime happened at Empire Ballroom.
Here’s what I’m getting at:  The two clubs I just mentioned (ICE and Empire Ballroom) were, without a doubt, lightyears ahead of their time. Don’t believe me? Ask any one of us veterans what the main dance floor would look like on Saturday night/Sunday morning at 3:30 am when you can barely catch your breath because Derrick Carter is dropping a house set so absolutely out of line and funky you almost want to tell him to scrub that record before he plays it again.
The bigwigs and executives that make the decisions were, thankfully, paying attention because shortly after the period of Empire Ballroom’s reign, casino clubs started booking talent and making changes that were indicative of the rise of house music. It was a big change to the sweaty, pop-fueled, meat market that was the harsh but undeniable reality of what you’d encounter on a Saturday night if you decided that Rum Jungle, Studio 54, or Pure were all ideal places for you to “get turned up” with your crew.
At these clubs, the only thing that got turned up was how much you were in debt for paying upwards of $15 for a WELL drink. Thankfully the shot-callers agreed, and thus began the metamorphosis of Vegas nightlife.
At this point in our story, I would be remiss if I were to leave out other clubs that had a huge impact on the electronic music revolution that took over the Strip. Some of the other venues that some readers might remember are Utopia, RA, C2K, and Baby’s. This wasn’t rave music you were dancing to in a basement; this was mainstream.
In 2008 Paul Oakenfold introduced his residency at Rain with the production “Perfecto.”  After that, it was like moths to a flame. I remember going to Rain just about every Saturday night because of the talent. Off the top of my head, to name a few, I saw:  Kaskade, Sandra Collins, Donald Glaude, DJ Dan, Rabbit in the Moon, and Armin Van Buuren.
Keeping that list in mind is the key to understanding why this new EDM takeover was so successful. Everyone recognized that, yes, the name of a DJ in and of itself was enough for excitement among clubgoers.
And that brings us to a pause in the story.
Mikey 🙂

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