Vinyl ready for opening acts

He scans the room, then distills the surroundings in but three words: grittiness and simplicity.

Paul Davis, vice president of entertainment at the Hard Rock Hotel, surveys the property’s new music spot, Vinyl, on a recent Friday morning, relishing the joint the way a school kid does a gold star on a pop quiz.

Half a dozen workers bustle about the place, putting the finishing touches on the venue, which opens Friday night.

The stage has yet to be erected, though the rest of the club is mostly in place, with a large bar near the entrance and an elevated area for booths being the most prominent features of an otherwise open room.

With a brick-and-mortar facade, wooden floors and dark walls, Vinyl feels like a mix of a Chicago blues joint, a family den and a rustic rock hang all compressed into one.

Vinyl, located adjacent to the Pink Taco restaurant, where a poker room used to be, has capacity of 600. But Davis says that the Hard Rock will shoot mostly for crowds of around 300 to keep the room easy to circulate through.

An eclectic range of acts already has been booked for the venue, from bigger rock acts performing two-night stands (Switchfoot), side projects featuring members of established bands (Blaq Audio, the dance music outlet of AFI’s Davey Havok and Jude Paget), rising up-and-comers (The Sheepdogs) and a slew of others.

The plan is to have shows five or six nights a week, including after-show gigs following concerts at The Joint and the Hard Rock pool.

The goal is also to use Vinyl as an incubator of sorts, building younger bands up while booking more established draws.

“We’re going to be able to work with developing acts,” says Max McAndrew, Vinyl’s booking manager, “bands that we’re going to hopefully grow into shows at the pool, grow them into The Joint.”

Before Vinyl, the Hard Rock housed a smaller music-centered club, Wasted Space, which occupied the area the sports book does now and closed in late summer 2010 after two years of operation.

A cozier room with a capacity around 300, Wasted Space differed from Vinyl in that it was run more like a nightclub, with bottle service and velvet ropes.

Vinyl, however, will be operated as a live performance venue without the club trappings.

“You won’t have Lynch Mob walking offstage and a DJ firing up Rihanna remixes,” Davis says.

Bad for Rihanna; good for us.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at
or 702-383-0476.


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