DJ Dakota, Party and Vegas DJ

The DJ. Worshipped by clubbers (and sometimes themselves),
the men and women who spin records in DJ booths
from Summerlin to the Strip to Green Valley
are the most integral part of nightlife.

 DJ Dakota, Party and Vegas DJ

But DJs serve a special purpose in Las Vegas. They get the party started in a city where the party never really stops, provide the build-ups and breakdowns that keep it moving, and hopefully are inspired to throw in a few surprises while maintaining a infectious groove that keeps people on the dance floor. More so than in any other city, the Vegas DJ is the modern equivalent of the bandleader, the orchestra consists of 12-inch singles and digital files, and the nightclub is today's showroom.

Today's jockey of discs is also likely an employee for the corporate powers-that-be in Vegas. The pressure to rock the crowds on the Strip is higher than in most areas - one bad night is enough to get fired when your boss is a hard-ass who came up in the hospitality industry. There is little experimentation in the casino megaclubs; even off the Strip there are few places for truly underground club music. While most DJs in Vegas chafe under the pressure to adhere to playlists (traditionally, DJs make and break new sounds), the crowds that come here want to party, and are less concerned with being impressed by mixing acrobatics or being introduced to a hip, underground sound. That said, there are still cultural enclaves where the valley's mixmasters can spin for more enlightened beat heads - check the Emergency Room at Decatur Boulevard and Spring Mountain Road on Monday nights for the long-running open-turntables night. But it's unlikely that a true "Vegas sound" will emerge anytime soon.

For this year's issue, CityLife goes DJ-centric. A comprehensive rundown of every DJ in town would be impossible, and a Top 10 or Top 25 too exclusive. We decided to sample the DJs you see in club listings and advertisements, receive e-vites from, read about, and are most likely to spin in any given club on any given night. A few are highlighted, having made a splash over the last year - not an easy task in a town that's hard to break into and relatively insular.

Of course, photographer Bill Hughes set his trained eye on the more aesthetically appealing aspects of nightlife: gorgeous go-go dancers and other assorted entertainers. Read on - this is Las Vegas CityLife Nightclub Issue: 2005.