For teens who love dance and electronic music (or the 21+ crowd that just isn’t into the nightclub scene), the writing on the wall reads: “Enjoy the party while you still can.” With Vegas’ all-ages dance and concert venues trending toward opening and closing before you can crack a glow stick, options are slim for the underage crowd. Fortunately, there are still a few places for young adults to get all of the dancing out of their systems … well, at least for the next month or so.
New Galaxy Music and Entertainment has been holding weekly electronic dance music parties on Saturday nights at the Fort Cheyenne Events Center. While their Sounds of the Underground (SOTU) parties are billed as all-ages events, don’t think it’s kids alone who show up for this nightlife alternative. Attendees’ ages range from teens to adults in their late 30s in a surprisingly cohesive environment. Joe S., 19, can be seen at SOTU almost every week. “[SOTU] brings underground music to the underground scene. Such a different vibe compared to other dance events,” he says. “Every time you bump into people at the other dance parties, people give you the hate stare. But at Sounds, people are cool and don’t act like complete douches about it … The music SOTU brings is what I go for.”
Whether it’s an all-night party with international DJs Paul Mendez or Adam Justice headlining, or a 7 p.m.-midnight event highlighting local talent, more and more people are showing up every Saturday. From hard-style, electro and trance to breakbeats, drum ’n bass and speed garage, SOTU mixes up the genres to appeal to a wider audience. “I really love spending my Saturday nights at Sounds of the Underground, because the environment is so comfortable,” says Megan Howard, 17. “Everyone seems to know each other, and if they don’t, they will by the end of the night. Not to mention the fact that the music changes every week so it never gets boring.”
SOTU is reminiscent of an old-school warehouse rave vibe, complete with glow-sticking, “kandi kids” trading homemade bracelets with friends and newcomers and the PLUR mantra (peace, love, unity and respect). But unlike with illegal raves, parents can rest assured that SOTU is a legit party complete with on-site security and—as rumor has it—the occasional undercover cop or two for safety. Though there are minor flubs out of New Galaxy’s control, such as Fort Cheyenne’s inconsistent restroom plumbing, they make up for it by filling the rented events center with a stellar lighting rig and sound system that some off-Strip venues would envy. Unfortunately, as the Weekly previously reported, Fort Cheyenne’s future is unclear, and SOTU will likely conclude at the end of May.
The futures of other teen dance clubs are equally uncertain. As reported in the Weekly, FroZEN75, host to various teen and 18+ parties, may be safe for a while after being grandfathered in when Henderson passed the city’s new ordinance to ban teen dance clubs. However, one can’t be sure how long the party will last. In addition, Club Tropicana, a 16+ gay and lesbian dance party, is reportedly held on Fridays at the Tropicana Cinemas, but details are sketchy and last-minute at best.
The Infamous Dance Party held First Fridays at The Attic vintage clothing store is another teen alternative. The crowd is primarily “scene kids” (like emo kids, but more colorful), and the DJs are still learning their trade. With SOTU ending next month, one hopes that New Galaxy can find a new venue and continue to give teenage electronic-music fans a home. Susanna Bouse, 19, echoes the sentiment. “I go to SOTU because it’s one of the only places people my age can dance and have a good time,” she says. “There are other under-age dance clubs, but they never have a wide variety of techno music. Like at Infamous, I don’t think they’re taking it seriously, and the people at the door were really mean, and picking and choosing who could come in. Wherever New Galaxy holds its parties, I’ll be there.”
Info: New Galaxy (newgalaxybeats.com); Infamous (myspace.com/infamousfirstfridays); FroZEN75 (clubfrozen75.com); Club Tropicana (moviesvegas.com).