Las Vegan Mikey Francis enjoys his headlining concerts
Dance floors and bottle service kiosks may be crowded as before, but the pandemic will continue to impact and change the Las Vegas nightclub industry for the immediate future.
Some club hoppers have noticed that many support groups – veteran DJs who open and close for big-name headliners – have catapulted themselves to the top of the bill during busy weekends. One of the most well-known names to have taken that leap recently is Mikey Francis, a Las Vegan who conquered the local music scene and toured nationally with former bands Afghan Raiders and Black Boots before heading to the Strip for DJ residences in Omnia and Jewel.
“During the pandemic, everyone lost so much work and then had to start over,” explains Francis. “In March, [Hakkasan Group] called me to help open the patio at Omnia, just to try it out, and no one knew how it was going to turn out. But it’s snowballed into everything that’s going on now, and it’s probably been one of the best years of my career.
Now in his seventh year in theaters with Hakkasan, Francis will play Hakkasan at MGM Grand on December 18 and then appear in Omnia at Caesars Palace (in the Great Hall, not the Little Terrace) on January 25. When there weren’t any gigs to be had, he spent a lot of time at home writing music and honing his production skills, while also spending precious time with his family and getting a real estate license.
“The build-up has been intense,” he says, reflecting the general consensus that the Vegas club’s comeback has proceeded faster than expected. “Once things started to move again and they didn’t have the big headliners yet, they gave me opportunities and the next thing I know I had those niches on my mind. ‘attach.”
It’s been an interesting transition for many experienced local DJs, often underestimated and unrecognized talents who “know the venues, know how to do it and put in long hours of it,” says Francis. “It was obvious for us and for the clubs too, who did not have to spend these crazy people [headliner] dollars.
“At the end of the day, it depends on the demand. Were people coming? But it was like opening the floodgates – people were so excited to [come back], “he continues.” It was a really golden time from March to May, and the [audiences] were mostly people who really wanted to connect with others and just be there for that truly magical moment.
Things are getting closer to normal now, but it’s likely you’ll still see Francis and names like Kid Conrad, Karma, Mondo, and C-LA atop the marquee in these places alongside Steve Aoki, Lil Jon and other luminaries for a while. .
And Francis strives to continue to expand his musical footprint, perhaps taking advantage of the Tao-Hakkasan merger to tour in other venues (“I’d love to play Marquee, but ultimately Omnia is home to me,” says -it) while also branching out with streaming on Twitch and gradually collecting new tracks for an album.
“I really did a lot of studio work, and I think next year will be a big year for me to put out a few releases,” he says. “As a DJ, that kind of plays everything. It can be a bit tricky with where you want your music to go, but for me, I have to stay true to my roots. I love the tech-house sound mixed with my voice, and I’m just trying to be on the cutting edge of something new. It’s my goal musically, and I’m not in too much of a rush, but I feel like I’m close to some really good stuff.
MIKEY FRANÇOIS December 18, 10:30 p.m., $ 25- $ 40. Hakkasan nightclub, hakasangroup.com.
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