Thursday, June 27, 2013

Penguin Prison on a Roof in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is famous for its nightlife, but if slot machines, showgirls, or seven different Cirque du Soleil shows aren't your bag, where do you go?  When every new spot that opens has to be bigger and flashier than the one next door, the six-month-old Commonwealth is an anomaly.  The pre-Prohibition-themed nightclub is located at 525 Fremont St, a few blocks east of the Fremont Experience, and it sticks out in that it doesn't stick out.  The building's dark exterior gives way to an even murkier inside, with tables and walls littered with photographs.  Make your way up the stairs and you'll find the club's true gem, a 2000-square-foot rooftop lit by strings of lightbulbs. A bar flaunting custom beer taps ranging from deer antlers to wooden forks is situated next to a Bimini ring game in the corner.  The vibe is decidedly un-Vegas: a New York bar with LA clientele.  And on Wednesday nights, they invite DJs to perform.  This week's was none other than Penguin Prison a.k.a. Chris Glover.

Glover took the reigns from the house mixer with Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams," easing into the set with a classic.  He followed with his own remix of Lana Del Rey's "Blue Jeans," and while he's prone to sing while he spins, the microphone beside him sat unused.  He continued with some remixes by 
Belgian house DJ, the Magician, and his Brooklyn pals, Holy Ghost!  As the night went on, I became worried that he wasn't going to add any live vocals.  He told me he wasn't sure the patrons would be into it.  Aside from a few people dancing in the center, the crowd was pretty tame.  But I didn't take a cab all the way up to Fremont to just hear his iPod, so I bought him a drink and suggested he give it a whirl.  My pleas worked, and using the Jacksons' "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" as an easy entry, he picked up the mic.  "Yo! Las Vegas," he said, introducing himself as Penguin Prison.  "I'm not used to looking at the Weather Channel app and seeing it say 115. That's crazy."  Thankfully, by that time it had cooled down to a temperate 91, and the mist machines at the club definitely helped.  "This is a song about a place," he announced, launching into "Hollywood," the tune he did with RAC.  Contrary to what he'd anticipated, the crowd loved it, a circle forming around a couple dudes popping and locking.  When Glover broke into "I Wanna Be Your Lover," everyone sang along, though no one could top the man on the mic alternating between crisp falsetto and throaty howls.  He transitioned into Holy Ghost's remix of Curses' "The Deep End" before finishing up with "The Worse It Gets."  The vocal portion lasted a little over twenty minutes, but it was well worth the wait.  I was hoping for his rendition of Sinatra's "The Way You Look Tonight" considering the location, but it was still the best Vegas experience I've had.

Penguin Prison will be deejaying again tonight at midnight at Hakkasan's Ling Ling Club in the MGM Grand.  No sneakers or flip-flops are allowed, so I'm sadly gonna have to sit this one out.  But if you've got the right shoes, wear 'em, and dance the fucking soles off.


SET (with vocals) -
Hollywood > I Wanna Be Your Lover > The Deep End > The Worse It Gets

1 comment:

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