BT Spins in Vegas; Ravers _____ in Phoenix

Standing in this massive line was ridiculous, I thought. $45 gets me this? But after a few directions and the flash of a wristband, I was in.

BT, and his vocal accompaniment JES, performed at Rain Nightclub at the Palms Resort and Casino Saturday night, and it was a hell of a show.

You're gonna have to trust me - this is BT.

Granted, this was my first nightclub experience, so it might as well have been all the same as any other club. But what made this particular venue attractive on this particular night was the man himself, BT.

A crooked hallway plastered in tiny mirrors beings me in to the club. The place is pounding with music. And people.

You have to shove past everyone in a club like this, but they’re all attractive, so I guess it doesn’t matter. Shoving past people for five minutes got me to a relatively uncrowded bar.

“What’s strong and cheap?” I asked the bartender after observing a guy pay $7 for a cheap beer. He gave me a double rum and coke for $13.

Waiting for the first DJ to finish, I stood on the upper balcony next to people I couldn’t hear. I watched as security guards ushered people, cleaned up drinks, etc. The dance floor was packed, and there was no telling where I’d end up if I tried to enter it. Best keep my distance.

Fanboy-ism Takes Hold, Pays Off

View from the balcony at RAIN nightclub at the Palms as strobe lights go off.

That cautionary distance broke when BT took the helm. I wandered toward the stage with my sweating drink. Soon they were passing out CDs, and I grabbed one – a super EP of “Every Other Way” with exclusive remixes. The one song BT played with words (“Break My Fall,” Tiesto/BT) I sang along to, along with many others. For a moment, I felt slightly popular.

A few more songs, and BT was off the stage. It was a relatively short set, and it was even met with over a minute of silence because of a power issue. Embarrassing, but it happens. According to an anonymous (but reliable) source, the cause of the issue was a disconnected then subsequently overloaded circuit. BT stepped off-stage for a while, something this source says they’ve never seen happen in a club before.

JES came out to sing “Every Other Way” after BT was done spinning, and afterward, she sang “The Light in Things,” another of my favorites from BT’s newest album, “These Hopeful Machines.”

At this point, I’d been at the foot of the stage for over an hour. I naturally sang along to “The Light in Things,” and as I did, JES looked my way while singing and seemed surprised that someone in the crowd was singing along. She smiled and sang a verse or two while our eyes were locked.

Overall, an electric night, mostly worth the cost for seeing BT perform live. It was bit more exciting than the rave I went to in Phoenix a couple of weeks ago.

Grab Your Glowsticks

The raver crowd isn’t one to be compared. Most of these teenagers and twenty-somethings aren’t exactly 21 (or don’t have a fake ID) so they dress up in lingerie and glowsticks to go to these pseudo-regulated parties in the middle of industrial Phoenix, a city well-known for its massive rave scene.

Several raves happen in “secret” locations in The Valley virtually every weekend. I happened to choose the most well-attended summer rave in town to go to: “MaryXMas in July.”

To figure out where the party is, you have to sift through comments on Don’, a website dedicated to electronic-music-based
parties and raves worldwide. In a comment will be a phone number. If you call the phone number a few times, it’ll play a pre-recorded message with directions. That was easy. It makes you wonder how secret the location really is.

Not very, as the first people I saw when arriving were cops.

DJ "Teddy Graham" on the hardcore stage at "MaryXMas in July." (Picture credit: Unknown)

The warehouse looked too small to be holding three stages and oodles of people, but you could tell it was the place – Pounding baselines could be heard blocks away.

I stood in line for about 20 minutes before emptying my pockets and being patted down by security. I was pushed through and paid my $20 admission to a company/organization that was announced to no one. It was a pure mystery who hosted this party. No signs on the front of the warehouse, nothing.

It was definitely a warehouse. A gutted warehouse with lots of ravers and loud music inside. The three stages weren’t well separated, so the beats often mixed terribly with each other. One stage was for commercial hip-hop, house, and comparatively slower-paced dance music. Another was for hardcore techno and fidget house. The smallest stage was for what sounded like dub-step.

Outside of the warehouse was another crowd, half of which was smoking. They smoked all night. I found a pack of cigarettes on the ground and tried to sell them for money. I only made 35 cents.

It seemed many of the people at this party were underage, broke freeloaders who loved to wear next-to-nothing and do drugs while massaging each other.

Oh, drugs. That’s what the cops were for. Occasionally, three cops with bullet-proof vests would meander through the crowd outside and take someone away in handcuffs, presumably for selling pills. The going rate for a pill of ecstasy was $10. Why couldn’t anyone give me a quarter for a smoke?

The rave got boring quickly, but it had its perks. One of the hardcore DJs dressed up in a bear costume and called himself “Teddy Graham” and played some decent tracks. The people who were doing E (or X) were slouched up against any and all walls to receive “light shows” from other ravers who had special gloves with flashing lights on their fingertips. With their dumbfounded faces glowing as the lights flew toward and away from their faces, they was amusing to watch.

What I couldn’t understand is how anyone could enjoy dancing for 6 hours straight, even on drugs. On the hardcore stage, shirtless guys and nearly-topless girls danced on stage the whole night. Especially in an under-cooled Phoenix warehouse, this seemed insane. (It makes sense that the people who go to the ER while on ecstasy do so because they’re dehydrated.)

The Bottom Line

If you’re deciding on experiencing night life, the question is how much you’re willing to spend and what kind of music you enjoy dancing to.

If you enjoy alcohol, house/hip-hop, or class, go to a nightclub. Expect to spend at least $50 and be ID’d if you look under 21.

If you enjoy ecstasy, hardcore/techno/electrohouse, or the geeky anime/gamer crowd, go to a rave. Expect to spend $10-20 on admission and $3-6 on water. Plus extras, if you do that sort of thing. There’s no strict age requirement.

Both kinds of parties are perfectly legal. What happens at one of them is questionable yet managed by the police. Either way, I think I’m done with nightlife for a while, unless someone can merge the affordability of a rave with the quality of a nightclub.

Related Links



Rain Nightclub

Don’t Stay In

About The Author

Kyle Anderson
I'm a media and IT professional and JavaScript developer who worked most recently as an Associate Broadcast IT Engineer (Tier II) for CNN in Atlanta. One of my life-long goals is to help bridge data divides - missing connections between software systems and data stores - promoting inter-system communication and automation. Many of the projects described here reflect this goal in some way or another.