Test-Driving XS’ New Makeover

Let the nightclub arms race continue! With 2015 upon us and The Hakkasan Group’s new club Omnia opening later this spring, Vegas venues are jockeying for position in an increasingly competitive environment—and we the partygoers stand to benefit as they roll out innovative lineups and bigger and better production.

This month, XS debuted a whopping $10 million in high-tech upgrades designed to create an interactive experience throughout the club, from floor to VIP section to pool deck.

The challenge? Keeping the classy, sophisticated vibe the six-year-old Encore party spot is known for, while putting it on the cutting edge technologically. “From a design perspective, we didn’t change much,” said marketing director Ronn Nicolli. “We didn’t want to allow the technology to make it look like a warehouse. But we want you to experience XS again as if for the first time.”

The makeover contains something for everyone—from the ballers on the stage to the peons in GA. JackColton.com stopped by this past weekend to check it out. Here’s how the XS team describes the changes, and what they feel like in person, with Kaskade in the DJ booth and the bass trembling under your feet.

The DJ Booth

What XS says: “A DJ booth surrounded by 14,000 LED lights and production upgrades that include a new overhead structure and movable LED video screens (up, down and rotating) on all sides. The video in this structure has been mapped pixel-perfect, enabling magnificent effects.”

What it feels like: Simulated buildings rush by overhead as the set begins. Long hair ripples in the breeze and flowers bloom over an ethereal cityscape. The main drop screen hypes up the crowd, while a smaller screen on the back of the stage lets VIPs feel like part of the action.

The Indoor Light Show

What XS says: “LED node details that cover the entirety of the club, allowing patrons to feel like they are part of the DJ’s performance, regardless of position.”

What it feels like: Being in the middle of an old-time marquee, or cradled in a nest of lasers. “The energy flows through the whole venue like a tidal wave,” says Nicolli, and he’s right. No more sitting at a dark back table, feeling like the party’s going on somewhere else. XS hit it out of the park on this one.

The Outdoor Screens

What XS says: “An extension of technology and lighting into the outdoor pool area including screens on the outside of the club. This will allow club-goers to be fully immersed in the party from inside of the club to the outdoor space—seamlessly combining the two areas.”

What it feels like: Ecstatic partygoers splashing in the pool under a half-moon, while luminescent clouds swirl overhead.

The Pool Lights

What XS says: “Lasers and LED marquee-style string lights float from the palm trees to the bar soffit and around each cabana, creating a unique pixel mapped detail over the pool.”

What it feels like: A magical effect that is deployed too sparingly. Please, sir, can we have some more?

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The Fireworks

What XS says: “A massive flame and pyrotechnic system that soars above the roof of the pool deck, generating aerial effects that will be a staple of XS Nightclub with which no other venue can compete.”

What it feels like: We’ll have to wait until March for this one. Nicolli says the club will roll out the pyrotechnics as the busy pool season begins. Stay tuned!

*Cover Photo: Kaskade in the DJ booth at XS, by Andrew Kahn

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