Making up for the lost opportunity that was Wasted Space, Hard Rock Hotel is opening a new live music venue in late August called Vinyl, a wee-little space replacing a lounge near Pink Taco restaurant. Vinyl would complement the two other live music venues in the property, The Joint and the too-infrequently used Body English, but stand apart from them should HRH reps follow through on a programming declaration: booking acts in genres outside of the hotel's traditional rock focus.
"As patrons know, Hard Rock Hotel is iconic for rock and roll, and Vinyl will deliver the beloved music but also offer more than that with genres including jazz, blues, pop and even country," reads this morning's press release.
Jazz?! We'll have to see it to believe it. So far, Vinyl's initial concert calendar isn't quite as diverse as HRH would suggest, nor does it have the sort of attention-grabbing acts implied in the rendering's marquee (above). (The Hives are actually playing The Cosmopolitan shortly after Vinyl opens.) One name sticks out, though: Mike Watt, co-founder of seminal bands The Minutemen and fIREHOSE, renowned pick-up bassist, and singer-songwriter in his own right. He and his Missingmen play the venue on Nov. 3, and $15 tickets will go on sale this Saturday -- as will shows for venue headliners such as Vegas regular The Reverend Horton Heat, punk act Strung Out and The Sheepdogs, who won a reader poll to be on the cover of Rolling Stone last year and recorded with Patrick Carney of The Black Keys. So, things would seem promising with the rock booking.
We resist the urge to say Vinyl replaces Wasted Space, which shuttered last year in favor of a new sports book. However, HRH would be smart to use its newbie gig to improve upon its former one, which occasionally booked quality, in-demand talent (The Raveonettes, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) and local acts that lured the downtown crowd to HRH, but employed a door team that rivaled a megaclub in terms of incompetence and unfriendliness with regard to its patrons. The tourist corridor could use a great intimate music venue -- and make locals actually feel welcome there, too.