While it's beginning to take over massive festivals and arenas like Madison Square Garden, dance music will always have its foundation in the club. It's one thing to be a part of an EDM festival, or catch Tïesto
play the largest single headlining DJ show in US history, but an intimate set with one headlining DJ really can't be beat. Their sets are much longer, giving them an opportunity to guide the audience through a musical journey, and truly experience what their signature style is all about. But the club and the music have to go hand in hand. There are slews of nightlife venues across the country that bring in prominent DJs, and seeing that dance music is on a massive upswing, don't expect the trend to change. 2011 has been a phenomenal year for dance music, so we've put together a short list of the venues that have really made an impact on the scene stateside:
#1 Marquee - Las Vegas
In only its first year in the Vegas nightlife scene, Marquee has not only managed to break into our Top 25 Clubs in the US
list, but earn the top spot on this one. Everyone's been waiting for a nightclub that was built specifically FOR the DJ, and now they have it. Enlisting the help of Kaskade
for a monthly residency was a smart move, but keeping up with a consistent roster of top-notch weekly talent has really put the club on the map. They celebrate their one-year anniversary with a special performance by Avicii
on January 2nd. We'll be in the house, so keep an eye out for a follow-up review.
#2 Beta - Denver
Many call it the best dance music venue in the nation, others just think it's a hell of a good time on any given night they're open. One thing's for sure, Beta in Denver is a special place. Another club that was made to complement the DJ, they are constantly evolving, and in a world where nightlife changes by the month, it's refreshing to see a dance club take this to heart. The Beatport Lounge gives their audience variety - a club within a club that boasts a separate FUNKTION-ONE sound system. This innovative dance club is the definition of what a dance music venue should be. If you haven't done so already, make sure it's in your bucket list.
#3 LIV - Miami
Considered by many to be the most popular nightclub
in North America, LIV is a force to be reckoned with. They've brought Vegas-style clubs to South Beach, and manage to outperform every club, bar, and lounge in one of the most popular nightlife markets on the planet. Each week they continue to amaze the local and visiting crowds by booking a world-renown DJ-producer. Simply put - it's a superhuman nightlife venue that has yet to run into its kryptonite.
#4 Cielo - NYC
Simply put - Cielo is legendary. It's not the name, the layout, or the fact that it's in one of the top nightlife markets in the world. It's the sound and groove that fills the air like thick fog once the DJ gets into the booth. The best of the best have played Cielo and continue to do so. If you haven't been a part of one of their infamous parties yet, get to it. Word of advice - try their Monday night weekly party, that's known as one of the best in the city. The one and only Francois K is always steering the music ship.
#5 Avalon - Los Angeles
Folks may say that LA is three hours behind on everything, but there's one club that keeps the dance music audience in the loop - Avalon. What resembles a rustic mansion on the outside that hosted the Beatles for their first ever West Coast performance, is actually a massive dance club within, hosting names like John Digweed
, Roger Sanchez
, and Hernan Cattaneo. There's no question that Avalon carries a lot of history, and they continue to build on their reputation by booking the best of the best. Places like this are like 90-year-old chain-smokers, they never give up.
#6 U Street Music Hall - Washington DC
A lot of folks like to throw around comparisons between U Street Music Hall and Circo Loco in Ibiza. While we're not here to agree with anyone, we will say that catching a prominent DJ-producer at this venue is great experience. There's no trickery with lights or fancy VIP sections. There's just a room with low ceilings and a booth set up at one end, symbolizing the purpose of the evening. The popularity of this space is only increasing, and DJs around the world will soon request a stop in DC to their agents.
#7 The Music Box - Los Angeles
The Music Box in Los Angeles doesn't limit itself to dance music, but when it's time for them to put on a big EDM show, it's one of the best venues to visit. They know how to provide an array of talent to their audience, bringing in guys like Loco Dice
, Victor Calderone, Borgore, and Nero. The visual focus of the venue is on the talent, and seeing as dance music is headed in a unique direction stateside, that's exactly what every prominent DJ on the scene is looking for.
#8 Club Space - Miami
We've said it before and we'll say it again - if you haven't done the Space Terrace at 5AM on a Sunday, then you haven't experienced Miami to its fullest. Club Space has easily reached "legendary" status in a nightlife market that boasts a 2-year anniversary as a success. Each week, either a big name in dance music takes over the booth or one of their fan-favorite resident DJs. If you're not big on natural daylight, stay in the main room for hours on end and you'll lose track of time. Bottle poppers beware - the Terrace is a space for lovers of dance music, not the boujie types wanting to be seen.
#9 Pacha - NYC
Unless you've been living under a rock, the name Pacha should definitely ring a bell. In New York City, if you're into dance music, chances are you've been to Pacha. If you live in bumble-f*&# Arkansas, and are a fan of dance music, you dream of one day going to Pacha. It's a staple in the dance music community and continues to deliver some of the best shows the city has seen, with elite talent like Oscar G.
, Fedde Le Grand
, and Laidback Luke
. A great dance music venue knows how to deliver the goods to their audience, bringing them back no matter who is in the booth. That's what Pacha's done, only the variety of talent they supply is incomparable in the city.
#10 The Electric Pickle - Miami
What would this list be without including a space that's known for producing some of the best after hours dance music events we've come across? Outsiders really understand the greatness that is The Electric Pickle during Winter Music Conference
, but locals know that when they're in the mood for a great event that's on the taste-maker side, they can expect it on a weekly basis here. From Soul Clap and Matthew Dear, to M.A.N.D.Y.
and Justin Martin, The Pickle brings a soulful groove to a city that's heavily influenced by cheesy dance music and bottle service. It may not carry the glitz and glam of some of these other venues, but catch any of these acts there and you'll become a fan.
Notable mentions: Amnesia
- Miami, LAVO
- NYC, Surrender
- Las Vegas, SET
- Miami, District 36
- NYC, Arkadia