When people say “house music,” they’re talking about one of two things. Either they’re referring to the largely underground, groove-heavy electronic music subgenre infused with R&B, funk, world music and disco … or they’re using it as a catch-all description for any song with a 4/4 dance beat, especially those on the pop charts. And when a Vegas club claims to champion house music, you can bet it means the latter and not the former.
This difference became apparent on Saturday, June 2, at Marquee Dayclub at the Cosmopolitan. The popular pool spot had scheduled and advertised an afternoon exclusively featuring authentic house music DJs, co-headlined by West Coast house favorites Miguel Migs and Mark Farina. But when it was time for Farina’s set, he was asked to leave the decks.
So what happened? “It was the end of the afternoon and management made a decision to reschedule him for another day,” said a rep from Marquee. However, Farina said on his Twitter account that his crewmember was told the dayclub’s manager “was getting complaints from their table service crowd.” And, according to an attendee, Farina was replaced by a DJ who began playing more commercial house.
This is hardly a common occurrence for a dance music veteran and pioneer — or even at Marquee, which famously opened with electronic dance music on both weekend nights and openly touted its house credentials. But it’s happened before. DJ Jazzy Jeff was pulled from the Surrender booth in 2010, reportedly due to his musical selections, and in 2001, the former Club Ra benched house duo Deep Dish after an athlete VIP demanded to hear hip-hop.
Furthermore, Marquee, which led all national dance spots in earnings last year, doesn’t make the majority of its dough at the box office or its bars — that $70 million largely comes from its bottle-service sales and the rental of its cabanas, both typically costing a visiting party in the thousands.
If Farina’s assertion is true, the incident couldn’t have happened at a worse time for Marquee: It’s one of the host venues for Electric Daisy Carnival week. Now’s not the time to have your musical integrity called into question. Farina may have been resigned about his ouster, but if underground house legend Danny Tenaglia — who once berated sound techs at the former C2K in front of a packed club — is so much as looked at the wrong way by the bottle-service clubbers he so loathes during his June 11 gig at Marquee’s pool, expect a lot more noise and headlines. (Farina returns to The Cosmopolitan to play a free evening Boulevard Pool party on June 7.) MIKE PREVATT