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By Justin Charles
In between my cab driver’s random musings about the current state of Las Vegas, "When people get here, they treat their money like Monopoly money – can you believe that some people spend $1,000 on a bottle of vodka?", he mentioned one casual but noticeable detail, "You're lucky, you're getting in when most people are leaving! You'll have the place to yourself!" I had just pulled up to The Cosmopolitan Hotel – my safe haven for the next 24 hours of straight raging – as I attempted to cram in an entire weekend’s worth of Vegas partying into one single day. Labor Day is traditionally one of Las Vegas' biggest holidays; hearing that the place would be empty was not what I had in mind. Fortunately, the day would prove the cab driver's predictions wrong, at least for my purposes.
While it may have been easier to get a restaurant reservation or tickets to a show on Monday, anywhere there was dance music to be heard, it was packed with people. As early as 10:00am, girls wandered down hotel lobbies still wearing Deadmau5 styled mouse ears from the night before – parties that ended mere hours earlier. While families waited in line to check out from their holiday vacation, the bars were open and people began to prepare for the day's first event: Above and Beyond. They were to hit the decks at the Marquee Day Club.
During the day, Marquee sets up some of the world's best DJs at the edge of a monstrous pool. Directly across the pond is the nightclub (which remains shuttered while the sun is up) surrounded by various bars and gambling tables. Big screens project images of the artists at work while beautiful people pop bottles at VIP cabanas and dance all along the sides of the pool. The water is not off limits, and on this beautiful Labor Day, the bikinis came out and partiers flocked to the pool, dancing and splashing along to the music.
While many fans familiar with Above and Beyond's Group Therapy sessions would be expecting the group's signature trance stylings, the UK-based superstars surely knew how to read the crowd. For a beach themed pool party, the beats were kept light, poppy, and danceable in the beginning before getting heavier with some of Above and Beyond's signature songs.
The pool party atmosphere is different from an average festival or nightclub set. People aren't fixated on the DJs or the visuals; there aren't multiple floors to get lost in, and isn't dark and it’s easy to mingle. This is a huge, bright, pool party and there's a lot going on. The music acts as a backdrop to the party, and the DJ acts accordingly. It is actually a really nice feeling that brings you back to a time when the DJ didn't have a face, but he had a sound, and you would go to a club to dance to a DJ, not just to see one.
As the party winded down, it was easy to get a good lay-of-the-land. There was something awesome about being able to hop in the pool, grab a drink, and play a hand of blackjack all while dancing to one of your favorite DJs. It's a surreal feeling seeing five people bobbing their heads at a gaming table, or twenty people splashing in the water for every big drop. The VIP cabanas were gorgeous and ample enough to provide options both close to the party and away from it depending on the listener’s preference. While it was definitely a full on raging party, it was still possible to chill out and get some sun which is always nice. Getting in and out was relatively easy, and nothing seemed overly crowded. Marquee is definitely a welcome addition to the Las Vegas 'day club' scene.
This is Las Vegas, of course, and Above and Beyond weren't the only superstars in town. Over at Marquee's sister club, Tao Beach, Benny Benassi was spinning with special guests all day. Deadmau5 was doing a daytime 'unhooked' set over at the Encore Hotel, as well. With Above and Beyond off the decks, it was time to cool down, change clothes, and eat some food – there was a full night of partying still ahead.
With the sun down, it was hard to recognize the outside of Marquee Night Club as the place full of scantily clad co-eds splashing around earlier that morning. The whole place had been flipped; the nightclub, previously closed for the day, was open and pumping music out the doors, while the pool was generally desolate. Inside, the club felt like a Roman Coliseum of electronic dance music. The club is laid out in a huge oval, with tables surrounding an enormous, packed dance floor. Behind the tables, there was enough room to navigate all the way around the dance floor, getting an almost 360 degree views. The real party is in the middle; however, where it is still easy to get your way into the masses and really feel the music. Hardwell, fresh off a variety of festival gigs, provided a perfect club set. Hardwell is one of those DJs that is able to shine in the club setting. A one-hour festival set somewhat holds him back, while the club setting allows him to extend mixes and show off some of his top-notch bootlegs. Mixing heavy hitting electro house with a slew of popular songs, Hardwell kept the crowd bumping into the early hours of the morning as confetti fell from the sky.
While Las Vegas is known for its options – there are too many top quality hotels, restaurants, clubs, and shows to count – The Cosmopolitan's Marquee has somewhat cornered the market on EDM music. While other hotels have some top-notch resident DJs, Marquee is the ultimate one stop shop for partying. Spend your day splashing at the pool, catch a quick nap, and then head right back up for a more traditional club night. For those who crave a change in atmosphere, their transformation from day club to nightclub leaves the place nearly unrecognizable. It is two completely different experiences. Marquee's commitment to excellence in both service and talent booking is just the icing on the cake.
If you're heading to Las Vegas, consider including Marquee in your travel plans. In a place chock-full of club possibilities, experiencing the metamorphosis of Marquee from day to night should be a Vegas rite of passage.
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