Dark, raw, sophisticated and sexy, The Sayers Club in Las Vegas captures the essence of the original Hollywood location perfectly without presenting itself as just a carbon copy. Part intimate live music venue, part high-end nightclub, The Sayers Club (located inside SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino) uses its space well to showcase both established and emerging musicians. It’s their music that grabbed our attention.
We’ve approached the subject of looking for and hiring entertainment more than once this year and it has been a hot topic at past Nightclub & Bar Shows. The subject of music and volume came up not too long ago. While we haven’t yet really written about it, part of the pushback from bar and club owners when it comes to paying top dollar for DJs is the prevalence of prerecorded sets. This criticism isn’t limited to just operators, either. Plenty of ticketholders, VIPs and even DJs themselves have a problem with high-priced acts (which usually lead to inflated cover, table and ticket prices) showing up with a laptop or memory stick, plugging in, and essentially pantomiming a party before collecting a hefty paycheck. The question many owners, guests and other DJs seem to be asking is, “What are they being paid for?” Is just showing up to the venue a live performance? Is actually mixing songs together in the moment a live performance? They are even those who ask, “If the crowd doesn’t care, does it matter?”
The Sayers Club in Las Vegas has come up with an answer to these questions with their White Label Thursdays concept. Intended as an “homage to the true heritage of DJ culture,” White Label Thursdays features DJs in their purest form: spinning live. Each week, a roster of guest DJs with true turntable talent is curated by Oakland Faders co-founder DJ Spair. These DJs spin side-by-side and are the given the option of using analog or digital turntable technology, showing off their mixing and scratching skills while creating a nightly soundtrack made up of breaks, classic hip hop, funk, soul and reggae (and very likely pop, electro, house, techno, drum and bass, and dubstep). Actual vinyl is played and manipulated by actual hands by live, actual people.
Not only is an evening dedicated to live DJ sets unique in today’s laptop-driven EDM world, it offers owners, operators, managers and promoters a way to stand out from other venues. Such a concept can also save dollars, attracting up-and-coming local turntablists looking for exposure. Venues can ensure entertainers aren’t cheating the guests out of a live experience by limiting and controlling the equipment available, generating credibility and a healthy dose of authenticity. This type of promotion can also reinvigorate slow nights and even reenergize an often too easily bored and unimpressed Millennial population. In this case, the old is definitely once again new.