Scotland, Europe, the world


bub E: as

It’s the gambling capital of the world. Now Vegas is bidding for the clubbing title. Words: Ryan Seagrist

lvis impersonators prancing about in

sequinned leather jump-suits. has-beens

such as the Village People working the crowd and lines ol’ hopel'ul pensioners with buckets of optimism. staring blankly at the slots. All are images suggested by the mere mention of the desert oasis ol l .as Vegas.

It has been called Sin (‘ity and the Biggest l.ittle (‘ity in the World. but whatever these names mean. Vegas is the tnost bizarre and elaborate tourist trap that the world has ever

It is an acid trip intermingled with daytime children’s television, like a city-wide amusement park.

conjured up. It is an acid trip intermingled with daytitne children‘s television. like a city-wide amusement park that only hyperactive entrepreneurs high on capitalism could imagine. It was tny lirst glimpse into the city. and. trust me. it is deserving of a thorough inspection.

l arrived on a liriday anticipating all this and more. the lights and the shows. clubbing and. yes. even a little gatnbling. It was. after all. tny honeymoon. And why Vegas'.’ Well. variety is the key. l-lotels have emerged in a number of different forms. You have Paris. New York New

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York. Venice. and (‘ircus Circus. all replete with extras such as roller coasters whining around the perimeter.

Me'.’ I found myself staying in an enormous black pyramid called the Luxor. And it was here that I realised I had been followed. Yes. it’s true. It seems that the son of a big—time hotel mogul has a prel‘erence for the British dance ethic. His name is Billy Richardson Jr. and he wants to make Vegas the centre of the clubbing universe. like a more drastic and bastardised lbi/a.

And. like everything else in the city. competition has allowed the idea to spread like a virus. In addition to the l.ttxot"s Ra. there are a number of clubs gaining the recognition ol‘ die-hard dance connoisseurs around the world. Big-name British l)Js have been invited to the Neon (‘ity in droves with Paul ()akenl‘old. John l)igweed. Sasha. and Judge Jules leading the pack. There are even plans to hold an enormous (‘reaml’ields event in the Nevada desert. After all. Las Vegas is all about excess and extremes. and Richardson has his linger on an unprecedented experiment.

Alter settling into the city. I was lucky enough to get a glimpse into Ra. the biggest nightclub in [as Vegas. It is located inside the pyramid of the Luxor hotel with a capacity of well over a thousand. The motif is overwhelmingly ligyptian

within the l.uxor itsell'. complete with a lull—scale model of King 'l‘ut‘s tomb exactly as it was lound in [923. Ra is no dil'l‘ercnt. Two enormoUs ligyptian ligures sit across l'rom each other as though presiding over the liestivities. and l)Js Warren Peace and Mr Bob mixed a blend of new school hip hop and l‘unky beats between the cages.

lmpressive in stature down to the last detail (including the cobra-shaped sinks spitting water in the ladies and gents). Ra does have a few rules that dil‘l‘er li‘om its kindred in the Spanish clttb scene. There is a strict dress code and ladies always seem to get in cheaper. In addition. guests of the l.uxor usually receive complementary admission (or two. which leads to an oil-centre clientele: not only your typical clubbers. but your middle-aged business people who seem more like tourists than dance l'olk. The reputation of Ra's special events (that have included l)Js Pete Tong and ()akenl'old) had led me to expect more in terms of music. but Warren Peace and Mr Bob gave the eclectic crowd what they wanted.

The next morning. it took longer (or me to wake tip (remember: no measures in American mixed drinks). I certainly knew that there were more clubs in town to challenge Ra. but it was the biggest in the city. Perhaps MGM’s Studio 54 or Venice's (‘ZK next‘.’ The choices were too many and the next big event wasn‘t until Paul ()akenl'old catne back at the end of the month. For now. I was

just happy to be leaving ahead on blackjack.