Drai's managing director on Nightlife Trends
HOW HAVE THE DRAI’S LIVE CONCERTS BEEN GOING?
It’s gone incredibly well for us. Our gamble was to see if the live events worked. If everyone’s focused on one thing in the club, it was a risk. For the artists and entertainers that we’ve booked, it’s been a success every time. So we’re going to stick with that formula.
Usually with the Drai’s Live performances it’s a 45-minute concert, not just one guy but a full band, with production, lighting. The performances on Sundays are specifically related to hip hop, and steadily every night our numbers are growing. We’ve had Nas, Busta Rhymes, J Cole, Too-Short. [The artists] get there early, sing five or six hits, hang out. It’s a different vibe that’s unique to Sundays. I’d put it up head to head against any other club’s industry night.
Along with that we’ll still have DJs. We want to be the venue that takes the DJ and makes his reputation, rather than [bringing in someone who’s] already a headlining DJ.
HOW DOES WHAT YOU’RE DOING REFLECT LARGER TRENDS IN NIGHTLIFE?
I feel like 2015-16 is going towards those live performances rather than a focus on the DJ. The DJ will still be relevant, but I really see [the draw] being an actual concert or something to see rather than the guy pushing the buttons.
I also see the music format pretty aggressively changing. Since house music is already mixed, live acts are generally pop, hip hop and R&B. I see that music being played more in every club—Omnia building a hip hop room, Hakkasan using their hip hop room, Surrender booking Ice Cube and Ludacris. I feel like we started this new trend in Vegas, and I see it getting bigger and bigger, similar to where house music was a few years ago. Then it went all house and barely any hip hop, and now it’s trap and a bunch of different variations of hip hop.
I see that as more radio-friendly. When house started out it was very commercial, and then it transitioned to every DJ wanting to play that one banger song at 12:30, 1:00 a.m. that every other DJ was playing. Nobody’s creating any amazing original music now.