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FREE February 16–22, 2017
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DANCE: Looking for an EDM alternative? Enter Dee Jay Silver, who has mastered the art of infusing open-format sets with a whole lot of country-western rock. The cowboyed-up beat slinger plays the House of Blues’ Foundation Room tonight. 10 p.m., $40, $20 with RSVP, inside Mandalay Bay, houseofblues.com/lasvegas
SUNDAY 19 HEAR: It’s been more than four years since cult favorite Ween
has hit the road to bring their psychedelic, punk-infused noise to the masses. While the Saturday show is sold out, you have one last chance tonight to catch them in town at Brooklyn Bowl. 6 p.m., $54–$60, at the Linq Promenade, brooklynbowl.com/las-vegas
DANCE: There are around four months to go until kandi-crusted
EDM heads storm the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Electric Daisy Carnival. But if you’re dying to dust off your neon tutu or furry leg warmers, head to Marquee’s Halfway to EDC bash. On the decks: W&W and Sander Van Doorn. 10:30 p.m., $23-$41, inside The Cosmopolitan, marqueelasvegas.com
MONDAY 20 HEAR: Las Vegas is bursting with local talent, exhibited nightly
at music venues across the Valley. But what about the city’s undiscovered voices? Give ’em a shot during Live Music Open Mic night at Artifice. 9 p.m., 1025 First St., artificebar.com
DANCE: Creative director and music producer Virgil Abloh, known for collaborating with hip-hop titans Kanye West and Jay Z, returns to XS tonight. Oh, and did we mention Major Lazer beatmeister Diplo is also joining the party? 10 p.m., $20–$30, inside Encore, xslasvegas.com
TUESDAY 21 HEAR: With three of the beloved band’s members, Dead & Com-
pany is keeping the legacy of rock ’n’ roll icons The Grateful Dead alive. But if you can’t wait for them to touch down in Las Vegas, tribute act Dark Star Orchestra might just be a close second. Catch them at House of Blues. 7 p.m., $25, inside Mandalay Bay, houseofblues.com/lasvegas
WEDNESDAY 22 HEAR: “The Beat Goes On” tonight at Park Theater with another installment of Classic Cher. Experience the living legend in all her glory (meaning: catwalking the stage in a dozen fabulous costumes and wigs, flanked by scorching hot dancers). 8 p.m., $55–$202, at Monte Carlo, montecarlo.com EXPERIENCE: It might be an off-season for the Runnin’ Rebels,
Bonnie Rait (Top), Surfer Blood (Bottom)
but UNLV’s women’s basketball team is killing it—look to the current 7–5 conference record for proof. Cheer on the Lady Rebels when they take on Air Force at Cox Pavilion. 6 p.m., $5, at UNLV, unlvtickets.com DANCE: The Project fashion trade show is in town yet again, which means the Strip is experiencing a surge of stylish tastemakers and, more importantly, a handful of fantastic nightclub parties. You’ll find both at Light this hump day, when hip-hop star Metro Boomin performs during an official afterparty. 10:30 p.m., $20–$30, inside Mandalay Bay, thelightvegas.com TASTE: Get your drink (and eat) on! PKWY Tavern Flamingo puts on a Craft Beer Dinner featuring Mother Earth Brewing beers. 7 p.m., $35, 9820 W. Flamingo Rd., pkwytavern.com
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WHAT TO DO
AFTER DARK By Mark Adams
THURSDAY 16 HEAR: Sometimes tragedy can lead to beau-
ty. Florida-based indie rockers Surfer Blood lost founder and former frontman
Thomas Fekete to cancer last year, but the band soldiered on to produce this month’s Snowdonia—and the disc is chockfull of melodious surfer rock that’ll have you doing much more than tapping your toe at the outfit’s show at The Bunkhouse Saloon. 8 p.m., $15, 124 S. 11th St., bunkhousedowntown.com DANCE: Shake your thing like “who’s da ish” at LAX when “Thong Song” rapper Sisqo takes the mic for the nightclub’s Throwback Thursdays promo. No need to worry if you don’t have dumps like a truck—let that booty go. 10:30 p.m., $20, inside Luxor, luxor.com
FRIDAY 17 HEAR: If Bonnie Raitt’s soulful, bluesy
tunes don’t make you feel something—be it a forceful beat that you just have to dance to, or a tug on the heartstrings during one of her tearjerker ballads—you might want to check if you have a pulse. The singer-songwriter graces Las Vegas with her powerful presence at The Pearl tonight. 8 p.m., $46–$89, inside Palms Las Vegas, palms.com DANCE: Cash Cash is bringing something
new to its residency at Hakkasan tonight. Read more about the EDM trio’s sonic innovation at vegasseven.com/cashcash, then immerse yourself in the music when they take the club’s spotlight tonight. 10:30 p.m., $20–$30, inside MGM Grand, hakkasanlv.com
SATURDAY 18 HEAR: It seems “Ain’t No Mountain High
Enough” to keep Diana Ross away from the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip. The legendary songstress recently launched another leg of her resident show at The Venetian Theatre, and she returns to its spotlight tonight. You have but one acceptable response to this invitation: “I’m Coming Out.” 8 p.m., $61–$226, inside The Venetian, venetian.com
[ NOW POURING ]
Sips in the City
The Dorsey’s opening menu showcases mixologist Sam Ross’ New York state of mind By Xania Woodman Photography Anthony Mair
here are 16 stops, about an hour’s time, between the Delancey Street subway station in Manhattan and the Coney Island terminus at Stillwell Avenue in Brooklyn. And if you should be heading home late, say, after a long bartending shift or night of drinking, and happen to nod off before your stop, it’s at the Coney Island station, just steps from the boardwalk and lots of closed candy shops and amusements, that you will awaken with a start and hear those fateful words: “This is the last stop on this train. Everyone please leave the train. Thank you for riding with MTA New York City Transit.” Good luck getting home before dawn. New York–based mixologist Sam Ross won’t admit to committing this gaffe himself, but the Australian, 34, says plenty of his friends did back in his Milk & Honey days, especially one guy named Chaz. “He just kept falling asleep on the train,” Ross says, laughing. “He pretty much knew he was going to do it … and he just did it anyway!” Chaz’s misfortune is the inspiration behind Ross’ Coney Island Express ($18), a wickedly good mix of rum, cold-brew coffee, vanilla and Amaro Ciociaro that is served in one of those blue-and-white Greek paper coffee cups so iconic that you can get ceramic ones at the Museum of Modern Art. That drink, along with 31 more, is available on Ross’ opening menu at The Dorsey in The Venetian—and there are plenty more New York Easter eggs to be found.
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The Venetian’s casino bar The Bourbon Room lost much of its relevance when Rock of Ages moved out, leaving the space ripe for reinvention. In its place, The Dorsey was conceived in partnership with David Rabin (creator of New York’s Café Clover, The Skylark and Jimmy at the James) and a beverage program by Ross, a former bartender at the late Sasha Petraske’s celebrated Milk & Honey, and now co-owner of Attaboy, which succeeded Milk & Honey in New York’s lower east side. Ross and his business partner Michael McIlroy plan to open three more concepts in 2017: Diamond Reef in Brooklyn; the American in Port Chester, New York; and a second Attaboy in Nashville. Minding the store at The Dorsey while Ross does that is lead bartender Juyoung Kang, who most recently headed up the program at Delmonico Steakhouse in the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian and The Palazzo. Encompassing 4,500 square feet, The Dorsey sits just off the gaming floor, at the head of restaurant row next to where Chica will soon open in the DB Brasserie footprint. In what was formerly a live-music bar, there are now four distinct environments: a long curvy bar with 28 barstools and adjacent highboy tables, a wide lounge filled with comfortable couches, an intimate library, and an oversize booth that puts 12 VIPs inside a gilded birdcage. Open 2 p.m.-4 a.m. daily, The Dorsey, one can easily imagine, serves many purposes. “The idea was to create this very cool, sophisticated cocktail lounge where people could come in before dinner, after dinner—essentially a meeting place if they didn’t want to go to the clubs.” And you won’t have to. As the hour grows late, the DJ turns the volume up and the party comes right to the cocktail bar. As Kang points out, a typical Ross menu will be divided into styles, not eras or spirit categories. If it’s your first visit, direct your attention to the Conversation Starters, where you’ll find the Penicillin ($18), a riff on a whiskey sour that tops blended Scotch, fresh lemon, ginger and honey with a float of smoky Islay Scotch. Ross created the drink in 2005 at Milk & Honey, and while a number of his cocktails have taken on a life of their own (the Paper Plane being a perfect example), the Penicillin is arguably Ross’ largest contribution to the modern cocktail canon. “In the early days I would get a lot of hits on Facebook: ‘Hey, saw your drink in Finland,’ ‘Saw your drink in New Zealand,’ ‘Saw your drink in China’—which was amazing,” he says. “But I think it was when Time did an article in 2012 basically naming it the new modern classic that maybe I realized for good that I’d done something interesting.”
Next, look to the Shorties section for Summer in the City ($12), named for actor Rich Sommer (Mad Men’s Harry Crane), who would pop by Attaboy after performing off-Broadway and either start or end his night with this shot: Fernet-Branca, coffee liqueur and a hand-whipped cream float. New Yorkers will instantly connect with the Van Brunt Gimlet ($18), “the name of which is actually that of a famous artist who had a lot to do with building America around the 1880s,” Ross says. “It’s also the name of the main strip in Red Hook, my neighborhood in Brooklyn. So that was a little shout-out to my Red Hook homies.” Borrowed from history and offering nods to Manhattan are the East Side Rickie (Ross: “I never quite got to the bottom of where that actually came from”; $18) and the Jungle Bird ($18), a forgotten rum drink that was resurrected and vastly improved by Giuseppe González, a third-generation bartender who owns New York’s Suffolk Arms. “It’s so wonderfully balanced when made right, so different, yet those flavors … I couldn’t not include it,” Ross says. The new 800-pound gorilla, however, would be another creation borrowed from Attaboy, the King Kong Cocktail ($18), made with bourbon, pot still rum, Giffard banana liqueur and Angostura Aromatic Bitters. Like Kong, Ross has taken Manhattan, and now it looks as if he’s poised to conquer the Strip, too. 7 For more New York inspiration from The Dorsey menu, visit VegasSeven.com/TheDorsey.
NAME: The Dorsey SERVING: Handcrafted cocktails—as well as beer and wine—in a large, luxurious room that features multiple seating options and a fireplace. OPENED: December 27, 2016 WHO’S BEHIND IT: The Venetian in partnership with David Rabin, a design by James Beard award winner Thomas Schlesser and a menu by mixologist Sam Ross. DID YOU KNOW: Don’t even try asking for a Red Bull; the only energy drink here is brewed from roasted coffee beans. LOCATION: In The Venetian. HOURS OF OPERATION: 2 p.m.-4 a.m. daily. WEB: venetian.com/restaurants/the-dorsey.html CONTACT: 702-414-1945 FACEBOOK: facebook.com/venetianlasvegas INSTAGRAM: @venetianvegas On this page: Sam Ross and The Dorsey lounge and bar. Opposite page: The Library and the Penicillin (left) and Jungle Bird (right) cocktails. ON THE SEVEN NIGHTS COVER: From left, across: Ginger Rogers, Coney Island Express, Creole Punch (punch bowl), Harvest Riot, Green Street (punch bowl), Harajuku and Cobbler. Descending diagonally, from left: Penicillin, Mojito for Two, Old Fashioned, Northern 75, Mint Julep, Jungle Bird, King Kong Cocktail and Midnight Stinger.
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LAS VEGAS CASINO BARS WAGER ON THE LATEST IN TECHNOLOGY TO ATTRACT A NEW GENERATION OF GAMERS
he “barcade” trend that kicked off in New York in the early 2000s owed a great deal to Generation X, as the kids who played games such as NBA Jam and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in arcades hit drinking age and wanted booze with a splash of nostalgia. The idea spread from its origin in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood (because of course that’s where it started) across the country, including two Las Vegas institutions: Hi Scores and the late, lamented Insert Coin(s). But while Gen Xers have found the comfort of the past at barcades, Stripside resorts are hoping that Millennials will be inspired to find the future at technologically advanced bars, drinking while playing on interactive tables, getting in a round of laser-aided golf or even virtually scaling a mountain. What’s next in bar gaming technology? It may be found in one of these three spots.
By Robert Spuhler Photography Anthony Mair
Clockwise from top: murals and multiple table options at Level-Up; the Oculus Virtual Reality Lounge at Alto
Encore Players Lounge in Encore
Sports bars have a tendency to be combinations of highbrow and lowbrow; it’s impossible for a dive to compete without multiple top-of-the-line televisions, but cheap beer and chicken wings remain the menu of choice. Encore Players Lounge (formerly Encore Players Club) steps into that world with gusto, elevating both ends of the spectrum with interactive tables for revelers to play games and look up sportsbook spreads in between sips of Vegas Seven’s Best Group Cocktail of 2016, the Dom-a-Rita. That high-low dichotomy is prevalent in the lounge’s entertainment, too; billiards and indoor shuffleboard aren’t exactly iPhone compatible, but they sit next to interactive tables, where guests play games and watch television. Of those tables, “It’s just like a phone,” says Michael Waltman, the executive director of operations for the neighboring Surrender and Encore Beach Club, “and we find people are a lot more comfortable dealing with their phones.” The next step for the Lounge, Waltman says, will be actual for-money gaming on the interactive table; regulatory approval is the last hurdle. For now, the technology has made for an attractive atmosphere for younger people either waiting to get into the clubs or just enjoying the energy. “That area was one of the slower parts of the casino,” he says, adding that some customers gather there before heading to Surrender and “some people have no intention of going to the club, but are looking for a cocktail somewhere in the casino. It’s great [for] people watching.”
Alto Bar in Caesars Palace
There are very few occasions when it would be advisable to combine cocktails and rock climbing. It’s difficult to grip both a cliff face and an Old Fashioned. For a limited time, patrons of Alto Bar in Caesars Palace can experience that unlikely pairing in the Oculus Virtual Reality Lounge, where one can mix the Crown of the Gods drink with the sensation of falling off a mountainside. “You look down, and it really feels like you’re 200 feet off the ground,” says David Ponte, the resort’s lounge operations manager.
The newest of the bars at Caesars, Alto opened in October 2016 with its own technological flourishes: booths have personal televisions with audio, and power outlets throughout the space feature USB ports for charging devices. But the star at the moment is the Oculus encounter, which remains at Alto through February 28; after the purchase of a drink, customers can go into the bar’s private area, where guides will take them through the virtual reality setup and answer any questions. Bringing Oculus to Caesars “seemed like a perfect opportunity to try something new and stay ahead of the industry,” Ponte says.
Level Up in MGM Grand
The most equal marriage of technology and revelry may be found in the old Rainforest Café real estate at MGM Grand. Level Up, the game-and-drink emporium from Hakkasan Group, opened in late 2016 with a video wall more than 40 feet wide in front of 40 interactive betting terminals. In addition to all the screens, Level Up also has the first permanent installation of Golfstream, a next-generation golf simulator featuring a virtual course, a hydraulic system that creates different greens conditions and a laser projection system to guide putting. When combined with Topgolf’s opening (and its electronic target scoring) last May, it’s clear that MGM Grand is betting on younger generations getting hooked on the sport. “You’re seeing this nontraditional golf experience that appeals to younger people, and that demographic might not be as engaged in golf as the older generations,” says Justin Andrews, MGM Grand’s vice president of national marketing. The most technology-forward aspect of Level Up is found in its design. With gaming tech advancing at lightning-quick speed, the bar was built to adapt to new features and games that will be constantly arriving, with power and data infrastructure ready for expansion. “We wanted to build the space in Level Up knowing that there’s a lot of technology that’s still in the works and yet to come out,” Andrews says. “We wanted to get the right environment dialed in so that we can be first to market as this new technology comes out.” 7
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AFI Feb. 18, 7 p.m., $28–$128, The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, hardrockhotel.com
ome things change—we might ditch the blue eyeshadow, false lashes and very straight hair for a more mature look—but luckily others remain constant. New music by the genre-bending rock band AFI (A Fire Inside) has been one of those constants for almost 20 years now. They’ve had the same lineup of musicians (singer Davey Havok, guitarist Jade Puget, drummer Adam Carson and bassist Hunter Burgan) since 1998, blessing the pierced ears of scenesters (and now their children) from stage and stereo. The veteran musicians reached a new milestone with their 10th studio release on January 20. We caught up with the man behind the music, guitarist and new producer Puget, to talk about the band’s latest achievement and his first time producing.
A 10th album is a special one. Did you put any extra love and care into it? I like to think we al-
ways put a little TLC into our albums. This was the first one I produced, so just by nature of being a producer I put extra care into it.
Now that you’ve produced a record, is it something you wish you would have done sooner? Yeah, at least on the last one. We had an
album called Sing the Sorrow that I had an executive production role on as well, so I [produced] a little bit. But I do wish I would have produced the last one, even though we had a great producer on that record [whom] I loved working with. But now that I’ve done it, I hope to continue to do it.
Did you hit any unexpected bumps as a firsttime producer? You know, it was actually pretty
lovely that it ran so smoothly and that everyone in the band was understanding, because it’s weird when one guy in the band takes on a leadership role. Bands are sort of very delicate political situations. So that was one of the things I was a little worried about. It’s often said that once you get comfortable, you’re not really learning. You’ve been a band for so long now that I’m sure it’s comfortable. How do you fight against that and keep experimenting and challenging yourselves as musicians? That’s absolutely true and something that I
think about a lot. I write all the music by myself—it is kind of a war within—so I am very cognizant of that. … No one gets better at songwriting as they get older, which is weird—as you get older you know more about your instrument, you know more about songwriting, so logically you should be better at songwriting. Part of it is that fire, that hunger that you have when you first start out. I just continue to push myself and continue to not be happy with
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anything I do. I continue to think everything I do sucks, so I try to make it better. That’s part of it. What are you surrounding yourselves with that creates these dark, abstract stories in the songs? [The lyrics] definitely come from where [Dav-
ey] is at as a person at that time. Over the last couple of records, the way we write is: I’ll write an entire body of music [and] take it in, and we will work on the melody together, and he will write the lyrics right there—it’s not a stream of consciousness, but [something like] that. It’s not like he is writing gobbledygook, where it’s just whatever words come to his brain, but he is telling a story in a very organic way without putting too much thought into it or without trying to be too deliberate with it. That’s probably where the abstract nature of [the songs] comes in.
It’s been a while since the last AFI tour. Does the band get rusty from not being onstage, or is it like riding a bike? It’s a little bit of both. Before
we went out to play for the first time [during this tour], it had been over three years since we had been onstage together. We got out there and [we’re] like, “Whoa!” It’s such a weird experience. Davey and I are in Blaqk Audio together so we’d actually toured, but [I] was behind a keyboard, so that was a completely different thing—a completely different set of movements onstage and [a] different kind of music. It did take a second, but then it does come back. We’ve been doing this together for a long time, so you remember what you’re supposed to do. Your new self-titled album is subtitled The Blood Album. How did that happen? It was
our 10th album. We haven’t had a self-titled album and self-titled albums are pretty cool. So this was the perfect opportunity to have one of our own. Because of the blood imagery that we used on the cover and the inside, we started calling it “the blood album.” It just caught on, and people didn’t realize it was self-titled. We realized it was creating a lot of confusion. [Laughs.] 7
AFI Will Never Die AFTER MAKING MUSIC FOR NEARLY 20 YEARS, THE ROCK BAND JUST RELEASED ITS 10TH ALBUM By Jessie O’Brien Photography Jiro Schneider
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Dinner With the Dead Feb. 17, 7 and 10 p.m., $325, House of Blues’ Foundation Room, Mandalay Bay, houseofblues.com/lasvegas
At psychic Thomas John’s Dinner With the Dead, not all of the guests can be seen By Lissa Townsend Rodgers Photography By Krystal Ramirez
ABOUT 20 PEOPLE SIT IN A LARGE, plush dining room high above the Las Vegas Strip. The lights are dim, so as not to compete with the glittering vista below. People smile at each other over their wine glasses, yet the mood is strangely subdued—as befits a Dinner With the Dead. No, it’s not a meal for fans of zombie TV shows or classic jam bands. It’s a five-course meal where psychic Thomas John “reads” the guests at House of Blues’ Foundation Room. John has been on Entertainment Tonight and featured in New York magazine, but tonight is for a smaller audience. Far from the taciturn, black-clad stereotype, he’s an affable, smiling man in a beige sport coat who just happens to be able to “hear” those who are no longer with us. John moves around the room, “picking up” spirits trying to contact people in the room, like a radio that keeps spinning channels, hitting stations mid-song. “Apple …” he says, “Apple?” Then another voice apparently comes through, “Betsy … Betty …” A woman whose mother was named Betty speaks up. John talks about a kitchen and a dog, and her eyes shine with recognition. Suddenly, he focuses in on me, albeit with his eyes closed. “You’re wearing something that belongs to someone who’s passed on.” True: I’m wearing my greataunt’s ring. He then mentions my grandfather: “He a very smart man, very smart man …” which is also true, he was a brilliant engineer, but a lot of men are smart. “I’m getting two last names—the two last names are important to him.” When I
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got my first byline a million years ago, I decided to use my grandfather’s last name along with my own, something that always pleased him tremendously. But still … “Who is Ted?” he suddenly asks. That is my grandfather’s name. Weird. John drifts out of the room for a break as everyone tucks into their entrées. The atmosphere is still rather quiet—some discuss what they’ve heard or who they hope to hear from. Other gaze pensively out the window or contemplate the golden Buddha presiding over the end of the room. John returns and stations himself at another corner of the table, the better to “read” different dinner guests. He catches one ethereal visitor telling a woman that there will be “some big changes in your life in the next two years.” Grinning, he tells one man his visiting spirit “says you don’t believe in this shit anyway.” “Apple,” he says. “Why do I keep getting apple?” He pauses. “Applebee.” “That’s my great-aunt’s maiden name,” I blurt out. The woman whose ring I’m wearing. “I’m seeing New York … upstate New York. Why is …? She’s showing me pictures of Vassar College.” And even after giving me two specific names and identifying her ring, this is my true “Holy shit” moment. A shiver runs over my shoulders. “She … she was an infirmary nurse at Vassar College for decades.” I don’t know how Thomas John talks to the dead but, however he did it, he heard my Aunt Evelyn. 7