Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tomorrowland 2013 from a Rager's Perspective


So the Tomorrowland Aftermovie was officially released today. I remembered the last two years exactly on this day I was sitting in front of my PC at work thinking "Damn! I need to be there and show them how to rage!" Well this year I actually went, and was part of all the madness. I figured after watching the video, it would be a good opportunity for me to share a few pointers and thoughts for those of you looking to lose your Tomorrowland virginity as well.

If you haven't seen the official 2013 After Movie, click on the link below. It's moving shit just like every year:


My top 15 Recommendations for a Tomorrowland Newb


One: Do Dreamville camping instead of any other accommodation option.  You can setup wherever you want and make new friends!  Hotel people pretty much missed half the fun of the TL experience. How do you guys think I made a train car full of new friends from different countries after losing ALL of the friends I came with?

Came with no friends, left with hook ups in 5 countries
Two: Plan to go for FOUR days of festival. The Dreamville pre party is a rage-a-thon which lasts an entire day. Pretty much come here as soon as you setup your tent.

Three: While are you are at the Dreamville party, grab yourself a drink and keep the plastic cup. You will never get a chance to get another one. Also keep your daily newspapers as memorabilia.  Two of my three copies got destroyed in the rain unfortunately.

Four: BBQ'in or any type of cooking is almost impossible, especially if you are traveling by air. Also who wants to cook when you are hung over. I kept my meals simple, or just bought them at the many dining options available in Dreamville. They actually had pretty good Mexican food believe it or not. Our go to drunk munchies was of course Belgian fries (fries with soaked in ketchup and mayo). 

Five: Rep your country, and rep it hard. Except if you are from Cali, then the Republic of California is your actual country.

Rep your country each and everyday 

Six: When europeans yell "hey.." respond by saying "ho!" It means you are really raging hard to a set with the crowd. Infact, I started a few of my own without even knowing the significance of it.

Seven: They didn't show much of the thunderstorm which pretty much took over day two of the festival. Rain boots and ponchos could be essential since it rains a lot in Boom. Spend a little extra and get yourself a tent that doesn't flood. Also be mindful of where you setup your tent. Some areas at camp are prone to flooding.

Eight: Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, the home town boys ruled the entire weekend. I m not sure where that closing set came from, or if they got outside help on putting it together. It was an epic set that you would expect a Tiesto or Guetta of 2011 to close with. From the Dreamville party to the festival, they made it known that they were the hometown favorites.

Nine: Most of the focus was on the main stage in the video, but there is more to it! Just remember that the main stage 1/15th of the fun you could be having somewhere else. The best rage honestly was discovering a random stage hidden underneath a bridge or just simply following the music with a few friends. (Yes there is a stage underneath a bridge and another one in between a food stand).

Ten: Samsung Galaxy Secret forest was a great place to meet your friends. It's located almost in the direct center of the festival, and also away from the crowded areas.

Eleven: Guys on guy's shoulders. It's perfectly common in Europe. Call it a bro bonding experience.
So many places to get drinks from, theres no reason not to (Elise Loeb)

Twelve: Don't expect to bring a random ratchet with you to The Church of Love. That is what your tent is for. Besides you don't want to catch an STD while you are in Europe.

Thirteen: Since tokens are used throughout the festival and Dreamville, I found it easier to get wasted on that high quality European beer such as Desperados (6% + tequilla) or double fisting Maes Pils which are 3-4 tokens max. While mixed drinks start at 6 tokens, they aren't very strong and run out fast.

Fourteen: Buy a booze bag! It comes with a collectible bag, and a Tomorrowland phone book. Also tokens to get your schwaste started.

Fifteen: Lastly if you are thinking about going, your only realistic shot of getting a ticket is through the Global Journey travel package which gets released before all the other tiers of tickets. General public tickets sell out in 1-2 seconds, so your odds of getting one are slim to none.

Final Thoughts


It's hard to compare Tomorrowland to any of the other fests I have been to in the US, simply because there is nothing like it. I would say hands down it's the best organized festival out there strictly for EDM. Only Coachella can go head to head as far as size and organization, but still it's not an EDM only festival. Tomorrowland's venue is almost twice the size of Coachella. EDC Vegas still is the best EDM festival in the US, but it is about 1/8 the size of Tomorrowland.

We will have to see how TomorrowWorld turns out, but one thing for sure is that you can not duplicate the international rage like you can at TL. Imagine everyone there feeling like they have won the lottery (because it's impossible to get tickets) then raging balls to the walls daily. Also at the sametime people respect one another's cultures and also do their part in taking care of one another. I m glad I embarked on this journey and can't wait to do so again in 2015. To do this right, you do have to plan a year ahead. So I will start my planning again next year. If you guys have any questions feel free to send me a message or email. Those going next year, rage extra hard for me at the 10th Anniversary!

There are more countries then the olympics here! (Elise Loeb)



Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Light: Modern Day Ibiza Nightclub in Vegas

Vegas, please welcome Ibiza into the building. For the first time, Vegas has built a mega club that compares to the best in the world such as Pacha, Amnesia and maybe even Space Ibiza (nobody can really touch Privilege quite yet). I got in at a decent time with my friend Elise, and we lost some causalities to the pool during the day. Or else we would've had another epic ratio day. Fortunately our friend, and VP of customer development at the Light, Norman knows that scenario all too well.

Unlike the scene the night before at the MGM, the Light does in fact have a moving line and at the same time it is kept spread out and organized. It was very clear as to where the ticket holders, guest-list and table service clients should line up. We walked up to the very first person at the ropes, and he was able to quickly point us to Norman right away.  Within minutes we found him, and exchanged a few pleasantries along with a token of appreciation and IN we go.

As soon as we walked in, we heard the loud bass thumping from the dance floor. We already knew the sound system was on point in comparison to Hakkasan. There was only one room, so they didn't need to noise proof the main room with worries of sound leaks into other places. As we turned the corner and finally saw the dance floor, we saw an arena full of madness. There were Cirque the Soleil performers dangling from the ceilings, and rage all around. Surprisingly it was spread out rage, so there was plenty of empty room for us to cruise all the way to the front of the stage. DJ Stellar started the night out with some epic tech house to get the dance floor moving in the right direction.

DJ Stellar throwing down the tech house

We decided to cruise around, and this place is absolutely huge. The best way to describe the stage, is a club with a built in rave sized HD stage. HD as in being wider then your normal stage. This allows room for a wider dance floor, thus way more room to rage and dance. The best part is that this place comes with a second level balcony just as spacious as walkways of the first level. The bathrooms for both male and females are on both floors!  These bathrooms were in the perfect location, the corners of the club, where one with common sense would think to put them. The bars were built along the entire back wall, and there are plenty of waiters and waitresses ready to serve you with minimum wait and maximum service.

Bottle popping time, and with tons of Light

As the night progressed from the opening DJ to the next, the production value went up by a notch progressively until the ultimate build up. Following Stellar, Sebastian Drums threw together a high energy progressive house set which got the liquor flowing. My connect Kirk whos in with the security got us into the VIP section for a better of the stage, and more room to rage without bumping into anyone. I would say, I m surprised by the amount of Dom Perignon Magnums ordered at a consistent rate at these center aisle tables. I had a chance to go over the price list for the tables at the Light beforehand, and it is along the lines of XS and other clubs in Vegas. Unlike Hakkasan where there is a clear inflation of prices, and unfilled tables. 

The Light - Way too much going on at any given time

Every few minutes the dance floor was flooded by confetti, with an act behind stage, a gymnast doing tricks from the ceiling and even a go go would pop up out of no where start dancing. It was a complete sensory overload. The last time I had a feeling like this within a night club was most definitely in Ibiza. By the time Thomas Gold the main DJ came on, the entire club turned into a set for main stage DJ at EDC.  After the night was over, I believe I found my new favorite club in Ibiza, wait Vegas. Which fortunately is only a few hours away. I will most definitely be coming back for years to come.  For all of your Light Nightclub reservations inquiries, please contact Norman Ly at 702.688.9115 and tell him I sent you.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Hakkasan: Does 100 Million Turn into Vegas Rage?

One of the most hyped clubs since last year has been the Hakkasan. When I was at WMC this year in Miami, I saw cab after cab advertising for this place. After a month goes by, I heard many reviews both positive and negative and I thought the only way to find out is to go see it for myself. On this particular trip, I will be doing a preview and comparison between two of the newest mega nightclubs that Vegas has built to cater to the EDM crowd.  My other review will be on the Light at Mandalay Bay.

Located at the MGM Grand, the prime real estate serves as a convenient spot for the South end strip dwellers. Most of the younger crowd ends up staying at hotels around this area to be close to all the clubs without spending a fortune on cabs.  I didn't get checked into my hotel at the Platinum (by Ballys) until 9:30 and somehow I had enough to get changed in my Vegas bests (tie, vest and the whole 9 yards) and still make it to the club by 10:45.  I had a fairly good ratio of females with me and I had already texted my long time host which worked at Wet Republic, Thomas to get me us in.

Ratios. Don't leave home without them in Vegas. RK and Anatasia from EDME
As I approached the club, it was a zoo surrounding the place. Also the guestlist line wrapped around the building and into the hallway where the stores are. Finding Thomas was almost impossible, especially when he caters to mostly the higher end clientele and was probably busy seating one of his 25K min tables that he sold on that particular night. Thomas directed me to someone else that worked the ropes at the front, and he was able to get our group of ladies in smoothly. The process after getting past the ropes didn't last more then 5 mins after the bouncers checked your credentials for entry.

I physically set foot in the club at about 11:15 PM, and the dance floor was still not crowded. I managed to get a quick tour of the entire place and found a few sweet spots where the bass hit very well. Surprisingly the sound on the dance floor itself is not as loud as the second level. Another thing I notice is that the crowd tends to flow from the right side of the dance floor. If you are entering the dance floor, you would probably have an easier time staying on the left without being bumped into.  By midnight, all bets are off for free movement on the dancefloor.

11:15 is about the only time when there is room on the floor

One of the gripes I read a lot on the other reviews was that there are too many stairs. I did not find this to be an issue at all. If you are comparing the stairs that are at Marquee, these are just baby steps. There is also an elevator that takes you to two places, the exit or the downstairs hip hop room. The guys working the elevator specifically tell you where they are going, so make sure you take the right one.

So finally I decided I had enough with getting bumped into with the sub-standard opening EDM acts, and I went to the hip hop room with Chris, a promoter from Light that I met that night. We took the elevator down and I heard nothing but ratchet music and tons of smoke. People were definitely getting their party on. In the hip hop room there is actual dance space, and it seemed the crowd was able to have more fun. I spent a good 45 minutes down here before it was almost time for main act to come on at the main stage.

Dada Life as the main DJs at Hakkasan
When Dada Life finally came on, it seems like the lighting and volume increased and the production value went up. By production, I mean more confetti then ever before. Dada played a very expected set. It wasn't one I haven't heard before from other festivals and clubs. I think the problem with signing resident DJs that play every other week is that they tend to lose interest in changing it up for the crowd. It's probably more of a problem in Vegas now days then anywhere else.

Dada Life - Ending the Night by Kicking out the Epic
The night came and went. I can't say that it was let down. I also can't say it was mind blowing.  I think the owners really focused on keeping the restaurant element of Hakkasan and left out a few essentials that can probably help put this place over the top. The over crowding issue tends to occur at clubs converted from restaurants. I.e. Tao nightclub is almost unbearable on most nights with a full house. Hakkasan does have a few places for you to take a breather, only if you know where to look. I would definitely come back.


PS. I met my favorite dayclub hostess, Danny at Wet Republic. That, on its own made my night. For all your Hakkasan needs, contact Thomas Gorman at 702.340.6498. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend (MDW) 2013 Las Vegas VIP Reservation Prices

Just like every year, I went ahead and contacted my veteran direct hosts and put together a collection of information for VIP reservations in Vegas. The recommended hosts are proven and tested in the industry, and most of them have been at their respective venues since their inception. Also, they are direct hosts, not third party hosts. Meaning they work at the actual venues, not for a third party service. Hopefully I will see some of you guys at these epic parties filled with nothing but the best of the best festival headliners.

Note: prices may change, and advisable to contact and confirm with a host for up to date pricing. Prices are based on availability. Also prices do not include taxes, gratuity and host tip. Please see my previous article on What VIP is in Vegas for further breakdown on table minimum pricing in Vegas and how to tip properly in Vegas.


Daylight, Eclipse and Light

Contact: Brian Sweet
Phone: (702) 806-3942
Email: bsweet@daylightvegas.com






Daylight 


Friday: daybeds 500.  cabanas 1000-1500. lilypad 500-1000 (1000 for the ones right by dj) bungalow 5000
Saturday: daybeds 3500 (opened at 2500 but we are selling quickly on those so they are now 3500). cabanas 7500 (opened at 5k but we sold some so pricing has increased.  will increase again as we start to run out of cabans). lilypads - 3500 as well.  bungalow 50000 (already have one reserved for that price, only have two total)
Sunday:  daybed 2500.  cabana 5000. lilypad 3000.  these prices may increase as we start to run out of spots as well.  bungalow 25000

*bungalows admit up to 20 people in, cabanas up to 15, daybeds are for 6-8, depending on group dynamic.  

Eclipse 


Sunday Night:  party w skrillex - daybeds 2000.  cabanas 3500-4500.  bungalow 10000

Light


Dancefloor: Friday is 5k, Sat is 10k, Sun is 7500
First Tier Prime: fri is 4-6k, sat is 6-8k, sun is 5-7k.  non prime is 2k fri, 3500 sat, 3k sun
Second Tier Prime: fri is 3-4k, sat is 5-7500, sun 4-5k.  non prime is 1-2k fri, 2500-3000 sat, 1500-2500 sun
Mezzanine: is from 500-2000 fri, 1000-3500 sat, and 500-3000 sun



Hakkasan and Wet Republic

Contact: Thomas Gorman
Phone: (702) 340-6498
Email: 702vip.gorman@gmail.com




















Marquee Dayclub

Contact: Robert Montero
Phone: (702) 612-2789
Email: robert.montero@marqueelasvegas.com



Daybeds: starting at 2K
Cabanas: starting at 7.5K
*individual table prices to come

Encore Beach Club

Contact: Bryce Giorgio
Phone: (702) 528-5209
Email: brycegiorgio@gmail.com




Andrea's Patio- up to 2k
Gaming- up to 3k
Beach Couch- up to 3.5k
DJ Table- up to 6k
Lily Pad- up to 5k
Water Couch- up to 5k
Day Bed- up to  5k 
Cabana (Top)- up to 6.5k
Cabana (Bottom)- up to 10k
Bungalow (Top)- up to 10k
Bungalow (Bottom)- up to 30k 

*note all prices are not posted because they are constantly changing on demand

Tao Beach and Tao

Contact: Chris Traer
Phone: (702) 510-5286
Email: chris.traer@taogroup.com



*prices to come

Drai's Afterhours

Contact: Zane Weber
Phone: (702) 622-1515
Email: zane.weber@drais.net








Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hyde Beach - Over the top Prices, but Still Keeping Things Classy


For every WMC, I try to plan a venue with that’s considered the latest and greatest hotspot. Last year it was the Arkadia pool, this year it had to be Hyde Beach at the SLS Hotel which had its very first year of WMC pool parties.

The Afrojack "Kings of Ace" pool party brought a slew of dutch electro artists to the lineup including a few tech house acts as well. Knowing that drink prices are expensive in Miami at the top notch places, we came prepared with flasked sunscreen bottles of vodka to sneak in. The only problem was that all of us were wearing string bags, which for some god awful reason this particular place does not allow. In fact my whole time here, it felt like SLS just wanted to find ridiculous ways to make their patrons less welcomed and up their douche factor by making up rules on the fly.

The crew at Hyde Beach, special thanks Baha Hallaby

So after scrambling around, Mike, myself, Gio, Chirag and our lovely rager Canadia lady friends were on our way in. I manage to get at least one screen bottle snuck in through the single pocket of my board shorts. Michelle, one of our Canadia friends brought some of her north of the border magic and managed to sneak in a bag of chips in a full sized grocery bags. If we knew better, we would've had her help us start a picnic in there.

Mike wasn't able to sneak much in, so he ends up ordering the very first drink at the bar. Needless to say, his reaction to the bill was all I needed to hear. $52 for two Vodka redbulls. Wow! I thought LIV Nightclub was outrageous, but these guys take it to the top for a day party.

The weather was highly unstable, so there was the occasional rain that would come and go. Michelle, Liv (our other lovely Candia friend) and I found some comfortable refuge in the euro style salted and heated side pool. This isn't the main pool facing the stage, but one off the side for relaxation and fun in the sun. Even though the drink prices were outrageous, Hyde Beach was the only close to Vegas pool experience I got during my entire WMC. I never got in the water again the rest of my trip at any other pool parties.


As the day wore on, the DJs came after one another. The ones left over to rage in the rain were the true WMC enthusiasts that came to support their artists. I was there during R3hab's set, and I believe I missed Afrojack by an hour. This is a typical dilemma that happens during a week of pool and night club raging. I just had to leave at a decent time so I can get to my next party. Maybe next year I will plan an entire day around Hyde Beach because this venue delivers, with ridiculous prices and all.


Mekka Miami - The Red Headed Stepchild Club

After finding out at 9am that the cover was $80 at Space, we were looking for a budget party since were coming off an epic show from Ferry vs Markus at Mansion and we might only have an hour or two of rage left in us. We walked by the parking lot of Mekka and saw a ton of Orange Mekka wristbands on the floor. I randomly decided to pick up one up and used the sticky side to keep it together. All of my friends did the same, infact one of them had a generic Orange wristband which had no logo what so ever. So we walk up to the dark entrance which wasn't even a door, it was just a ripped black sheet they used as a curtain. The security points us in the direction to get our wristbands checked. The guy glances at it and just tells us all to walk in. Boom we just saved cover. 

So the dance floor is dark, almost like a crypt. I noticed they pump fog on there to make it even darker so you would have trouble seeing the girl's faces. There were about 12 girls and 3-4 guys to the sides like sharks trying to swoop up on them. I couldn't see the girl's faces to confirm that they weren't trannies, but they were all wearing tight pants so atleast I can be sure they are post-op. 
The bar serves drinks in small plastic cups. Like the ones you use as a rinse cup at Motel 6. The first one I bought I set it on a box. When the bass dropped the cup flew off and I lost a full drink. Turns out that box where people pass out on was a subwoofer. 

There was a couch which apparently is the "gay zone". There were 6 guys sitting very close to each other. I walked by and one of the random ones there offered me a cigarette to start a conversation. "No thank you."

Mike B said from last year that he never found the bathroom. So I put myself on this quest to find this secret bathroom. There are 6 doors labeled as 'Exits' in this club. 1 is the first entrance you walked in which you will lose clearly since the lay out is like a haunted Halloween maze. Then there are 4 more which apparently they use some ply wood to jam it so you won't be able to open it. Then there was this last entrance next to back bar where I see a security guy in a red Mekka shirt passed out on the chair. This door leads to the bathroom. 

So I walk into the guys bathroom, and the first thing I see is an attendant sitting on a chair, but his head is actually in one of the sink and hes passed out sleeping or throwing up, who knows. I guess I won't be getting my hands dry if I decide to wash my hands. Then one of the stall doors open, and 5 guys rush in. They spend a good 10 minutes in there sniffing around, so I finally gave up and decided to pour my flask out in the open next to the urinals. I got my drink made and walked out of there. Weirdest bathroom experience ever. 

The night continued with countless randoms coming in. Some getting scared immediately and leaving, others staying there to continue their rage well into the afternoon of the next day. I spent a total of 2 hours there just watching the DJ drop some epic minimal techno and tech house tracks. Then I look back at the crowd and their reaction never changes. Just standing around like zombies and doing the same moves over and over again. I finally decided to call it a night.. or day at about 11:30. I ended up taking the bus across the block because cabs don't stop infront of Mekka. All in all it was a surreal experience, and I see myself coming back here again next WMC.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Completing the Quadfecta with Electric Zoo 2012


In a year where I did the quadfecta including EDC LV, UMF and Coachella, I would say Electric Zoo definitely is a fest that fits the bill of one of the top 3 EDM festivals in the US. The reason why I was convinced to attend Electric Zoo came down to the super stacked line up that Made Events was able to bring in, and not to mention it's an excuse to visit NYC for the first time. 

Everyone from all 50 states including Canadia came to rage at the Zoo
Even though it seems like you have to go through lots of hoops and mounds of patience to get over to Randall's from the city, it honestly is not as bad as that wretched 2 hour trek in the Vegas desert traffic from the strip to the speedway.  The public transit system in NYC as everyone knows is one of the best so driving is probably your least most favorable option. We bought our passes which included Ferry access from the East 35th Ferry landing was ideal when our hotel was located close to Times Square on 35th. So it was a 10 min trek with a drink in hand towards the water.

All three days we were surrounded by nothing but great vibes, as all dance music fans came to enjoy an event where we shared the love of music. Out of all three days, I would say my first day was by far my favorite. It seems like many of the attendees don't show up until Sat/Sunday because of work/school/ other reasons. On Friday there was plenty of dancing room, fresh grass all around and plenty of options if you wanted to get close to the front of the stage at all 4 stages.

Tiesto at Main Stage
 My favorite stage ended up being the Sunday School Grove stage. As much as everyone loves the main stage acts, Sunday school which featured techno and tech house all weekend was THE dance party in NYC. Also club provocateur provided VIP tables for a comfortable view of the action. My daily routine pretty much started and ended there.

The things Ezoo can improve can start with the two middle stages (Hilltop/Riverside). They placed many of the dub acts there, as much as I love the dub; nothing annoys me more than noise bleeding from one stage to another. Saturday/ Sunday were days I believe tickets were beyond sold out. There was literally just standing room only since the moment you walk into the fest all the way to the far end of the main stage. I believe this problem can be fixed by eliminating one of the middle stages or moving the middle stage to another part of the park.
Its going to take 20 Champagne cans to get schwasted

One last improvement can be because I'm bias on favoring 21+ events, but they should serve hard alcohol instead of just beer and champagne at the bars.  It seems like a reason for them to force people to buy VIP wristbands, but most of my friends ended up sneaking in all our hard alcohol anyway.  On the other hand I loved the laxed security that Ezoo had vs. EDC and Ultra. One of the highlights of my last day included chugging a can 4loko in the middle of the rave, and security didn't even bother to stop any of us. 

Electric Zoo is probably going to NYC's signature EDM festival for a while. As much as Insomniac is trying to break into this market, Made Events still has the leg up on them as far as line up and venue.  I am looking forward to attending this event again in the near future since the dance scene as popular than ever.

Laxed security was even down to exchange kandi and flash PLUR signs