Looking in on Steve Angello’s “Reflections” Residency Premiere in Vegas

Saturday night marked the inaugural performance of Steve Angello‘s much anticipated “Reflections” residency at LiFE Nightclub in Las Vegas. Promising a show that would hail a return to his club roots and revolutionize the scene to focus more on the guest experience, Steve stated before the launch: “This is something no one else has done in Las Vegas and it’s important that we keep the creativity moving, otherwise we’re just another name on a billboard with a date at a club.”

Opening for Angello was veteran house DJ and member of Steve’s SIZE Records roster Junior Sanchez, kicking off the evening with quite an impressive warmup set to get the crowd moving. Seamlessly transitioning between recent releases from his own catalog such as his remix of Lorde’s “Ribs” and his collaboration with Sultan + Ned Shepard “Deeper Love,” to house favorite “Bassline” and Green Velvet‘s “Laser Beams,” Sanchez was the perfect start to the much-hyped evening.

Finally at 1:30 a.m., it was the main event as Steve Angello took control of the booth, opening his set with an added flair using the intro to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” to start things off as the large LCD behind the DJ booth projected a silver cast of Angello’s silhouette. He then transitioned to the tribal chants of “mama-se mama-sa” from Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” as the silver cast began to rotate back and forth on the screen. From there, the set revolved mostly around Steve’s own tracks like “Knas” and his remix of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” and those of the various artists from his SIZE label, including Kryder & Tom Staar‘s recent release “Jericho.” There was even a nod to his former Swedish House Mafia pals in the form of a mash up of Dimitri Vangelis & Wyman‘s “ID2” with “Reload,” which prompted a sing along among the crowd and a rather interesting mashup of “Leave the World Behind” with the trance classic “Adagio for Strings.”

Steve Angello REFLECTIONS premieres at LiFE Nightclub inside SLS Las Vegas

The visuals, which were also much-boasted about, weren’t really anything not seen in other clubs on The Strip. The go-go dancers were clad in silver body paint, wearing silver plated bustiers and matching helmets that covered their faces, while aerialists flew on trapezes and climbed structures suspended from the ceiling. The animations were neat, but otherwise nothing that caught my breath. The two stand-out pieces were the live fire show just above the DJ booth (LiFE is currently the only club on The Strip permitted to have one) and something I can only describe as a mirrored, crystal shaped encasement suspended over the audience that twirled around to reflect the spotlights while a go-go dancer performed inside.

Overall, the evening left me a bit underwhelmed. The biggest issue revolved around Angello’s set, as it never really developed a flow and the brief moments it felt like it might were instantly followed by a build up and drop, never quite allowing you to get into a groove. Maybe it was the hype surrounding this new residency or Angello’s promise that this would be “a musical journey,” but I can’t say at any point I ever really felt like I left a nightclub in Vegas. If this was supposed to be a journey, it felt a bit like we were constantly stumbling over things. More to the point, the visuals, while perhaps stunning to those new to Vegas nightlife, are nothing that hasn’t been done previously, as was promised. Even the pyrotechnics, while currently not permitted in any other club in Vegas, was at one point featured at the former Rain nightclub.

I close this by saying that I’m a fan of Steve Angello. Of the three former members of the now defunct Swedish House Mafia, I personally feel he and his SIZE label has delivered the most consistent quality releases. I also liked–at least theoretically–what this residency is supposed to be and I agree that of the clubs on the Vegas Strip, LiFE is the perfect venue for that vision. It’s a smaller club that really gives the clubgoer that feeling of intimacy, but set up in such a way that you never feel claustrophobic. My hope for the future of this residency is that it’s able to develop itself to seem a bit more like a finished product and musically I’d like to hope Angello dares to dig a bit deeper. ★★★✩✩

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