The newest hotel in Atlantic City stands ominously in the foreground, casting a foreboding shadow on its smaller, less elegant predecessors along the legendary New Jersey boardwalk. We had heard a lot about Revel in the last few months: rumors of its extravagance, its over the top $35 million club, HQ, and its goal to revitalize the dying nightlife in New Jersey’s most popular vacation spot. From the minute we walked through its glass doors and entered the 4 tiered atrium that serves as the casino’s central “hub” we knew that Revel had accomplished what it sought so hard to achieve: bringing all the pomp and grandeur of the Las Vegas atmosphere to the East Coast.
Little did we know that they were also bringing out the big guns in terms of musical talent.
Fittingly, the first EDM artist to perform at Revel since its opening less than a month ago was none other than Avicii. While his talents and overreaching are always in debate, his power to draw a crowd is not. Selling out the casino’s concert hall, Ovation Hall, is no easy task. Comfortably fitting over 6,000 people, the space feels more like an outdoor arena than an indoor auditorium. Its vaulted ceilings, stadium style-seating, massive GA floor, and impressive VIP area made it easy to forget that we were even inside a casino. Despite the sold out crowd, navigating from one end of the room to the other was done so with ease, thanks in part to Revel’s management selling out the event as opposed to over-selling it.
It should be pretty obvious to loyal DA readers that I am an Avicii mega-fan, so his performance was naturally top-notch in my opinion. Say what you will about his DJing skills, but the production value of his live show is on par with Skrillex, SHM, and even deadmau5. The massive head and accompanying light show were absolutely mesmerizing as Tim played some of our favorite tracks peppered with some other interesting choices we didn’t expect to hear. The head attracted a lot of attention after it was debuted at Coachella, but we can safely say it is a completely different experience in a fully-enclosed, otherwise dark arena.
Top 5 Moments:
1) Avicii vs. Lenny Kravitz – Superlove
Put it this way — this may be one of the biggest tunes of the year. It doesn’t have those high pitched Avicii-esque synths, but Tim actually threw us a complete curve ball. Still, I’m not complaining; it still gets me to uncontrollably “palm pump.”
Palm Pump: Dance move that consists of an open faced hand raised directly above your shoulder that closes simultaneously with any minor beat change. This is vastly different from fist pumping due to the clenched fist used to perform the latter task.
2) Avicii & David Guetta – Sunshine vs. Florence & The Machine – Spectrum
I don’t know if it’s the vocals or if it’s a combination of both, but you’ve got to love this mashup. It’s so uplifting every time Avicii drops it.
3) Jonas Torn – Boss
If you like edgier tracks, Jonas Torn’s “Boss” should do the trick. It adds a new element to Avicii’s sets that wasn’t normally present in the pre-“Hells Bells” era. The various subtleties in the sets are starting to add up, hopefully it shuts the mouths of everyone who simply dismisses any rational conversation at the first mention of his name.
4) Jupiter Ace ft. Geneva Lane – Glowing In The Dark
Avicii takes a page from Tommy Trash’s book and adds a few progressive-grunge tracks that are a necessity for anyone who enjoys prolonged bouts of fist pumping and girl chasing.
5) Deadmau5 ft. Chris James – The Veldt (Tommy Trash Remix)
Tommy Trash’s remix of “The Veldt” is undeniably one of the biggest tunes of the summer so far. If you disagree, you are either deaf, deafer, or the deafest person alive.
The Bottom Line
Needless to say, Avicii crushed it at one of the best venues I’ve ever seen him at. As if Ovation Hall wasn’t enough, Revel plans to open its 4 story ultra-club later this month that should absolutely revolutionize — and modernize — the dance music scene in Atlantic City. The club, much like the hotel and casino themselves, dwarfs everything else in the beach town. If the owners of Borgata and Harrah’s aren’t nervous, they damn well should be. I’ve spent my fair share of time at clubs all over the US, and from the quick glimpse we were given, there is no doubt that when it opens on July 6th, Revel will have solidified itself as the preeminent hotspot for dance music in Atlantic City.
And that’s exactly what the city needs.