The dust has finally settled. The Wynn, Hakkasan and Light Group have officially announced which global DJ stars have signed contracts to perform exclusively at their clubs in 2015.
I’ll give you those lists in a minute. But consider this: Since Hakkasan just bought Light Group, that recent acquisition means Steve Wynn’s clubs in the Wynn and Encore are the only rivals to Hakkasan that feature a real lineup of pop-DJs on contract.
In short: The Wynn is the final David going up against the Goliath of Hakkasan’s runaway buy-everything mega-saurus.
You’re probably wondering: Wait, what happened to Marquee nightclub in the Cosmopolitan?
It’s still there. It’s still making money. But Marquee’s most visible DJ, Kaskade, has switched back to the Wynn, and Marquee says it’s not releasing a DJ list. Silence speaks volumes. (Marquee does still have a few known names on its upcoming schedule, from Benny Benassi to Cedric Gervais.)
What about Tao and other older clubs? They gave up on big EDM names long ago, because of the fight between clubs to pay sometimes $500,000 a night for a DJ. To hell with that.
And Drai’s has locally familiar DJ names, like 3Lau and Chromeo, and the SLS’s Life club dabbles in acclaimed but not super famous DJs, such as Tony Arzadon and Michael Woods.
The Strip’s super-DJ flame-out could be coming quicker than it should have for a several reasons.
1) DJs (like most clubs) are insular and have not befriended Vegas or Strip communities, outside of their lucrative walls. I’m pretty sure Afrojack is the only DJ who ever does anything publicly, such as charity work, off the Strip. And clubs seem to make clique-y decisions choosing favorites among butt-kissers, causing clubs to gain even more haters than ever. I can’t remember the last time a local told me something pleasant about Vegas clubs.
2) How many times can locals, plus Californians and other nearby regular club tourists, see Calvin Harris press the same songs? Go read Yelp reviews of all the clubs on the Strip, and you get a decent picture of where discontent resides.
3) Nationally, electronic dance music is fading from the go-to music to just-another-genre, similar to how grunge lulled out in the late 1990s, and, I guess, just like Gloria Gaynor did in 1980.
Are these the last days of disco?
In 2015, look for more clubs to return to hip hop and pop/hip hop. Some clubs are already doing this, I’m not going on much of a prediction limb here, I mean, Marquee stages Wyclef Jean this Saturday.
I also expect the mass resumption of celebrity red carpets by summer or fall. That celebrity machinery is already building steam. Mirage’s 1 Oak, for instance, will bring in Joanna Krupa for a carpet on Feb. 6. The Joanna Krupas of the world are staging a celebrity comeback in Vegas this year.
Before you know it, people will say, “Calvin who?”
But for 2015, here are the DJs who snuggled another contract out of these clubs. Who knows how these DJs will be able to haggle for money next year, once Hakkasan will have the utility-esque power to tell them to take it or leave it.
MGM’s Hakkasan nightclub and Wet Republic dayclub: Steve Aoki, Above & Beyond, Botnek, Burns, Calvin Harris, The Chainsmokers, DVBBS, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Don Diablo, Fergie (DJ), Hardwell, Dada Life, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, Moti, Bingo Players, Eva Shaw, Tiesto, Tchami, Dzeko & Torres, Ummet Ozcan, and W&W.
Hakkasan’s club Omnia (formerly Pure) in Caesars Palace: Afrojack, Armin Van Buuren, Chuckie, Martin Garrix, Oliver Heldens, Krewella, Nervo, Nicky Romero and Showtek.
Wynn clubs XS, Surrender, Encore Beach Club, and Tryst: Alec Monopoly, Arty, Avicii, Cazzette, David Guetta, Diplo, Dillon Francis, DJ Snake, Flosstradamus, Grandtheft, Jermaine Dupri, Kaskade, Laidback Luke, Lil Jon, Major Lazer, Martin Solveig, Manufactured Superstars, Miss Nine, RL Grime, Skrillex, Slander, Tommy Trash, Will Sparks, Wolfgang Gartner, Yellow Claw, TJR, Zedd.
Hakkasan’s Light Group’s Light nightclub: Alesso, A-Trak, Axwell, Baauer, Bassjackers, Carl Cox, Clockwork, Disclosure, DJ Mustard, Fatboy Slim, GTA, Henrix, Ingrosso, Macklemore + Ryan Lewis, Morgan Page, Norman Doray, Stellar, Steve Powers, Sultan + Shepard, Tony Arzadon, will.i.am.
Contact Doug Elfman at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.