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Creative collective We the Beat marks a decade of musical parties in Las Vegas

todayNovember 2, 2023 5

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If you’ve discovered new music at a show recently, chances are good it happened at a We the Beat event. For the past decade, co-founders Kirk Reed and Blake Nania have built a reputation around their curated concerts, bringing unknown acts to Vegas before they go viral.

“Yes, we are concert promoters, but I look at us more as a community, a culture that is here to support music discovery and art and appreciation,” says Nania. “Vegas, it’s still a city that’s in its infancy, that’s still growing, and even with the emergence of AI, there’s always going to be a need for curation and human touch. That’s what we try to bring through our concerts.”

Reed and Blake’s paths crossed in college in Santa Barbara, while they were writing music blogs and Reed worked at SoHo Restaurant & Music Club. “I did everything I could just to be around live music,” Reed adds. “I didn’t know how I would end up where I am now.”

Sharing a niche love for the rising nu disco movement and dance vanguards like Roosevelt and Rüfüs Du Sol, the friends started throwing shows together.

“The first show we ever booked in Vegas was French Kiwi Juice [at Bunkhouse Saloon], which I don’t think anyone really knew who that was at the time,” Nania says. “It was We the Beat just starting out in Vegas. Now of course, he’s mega performing all over the world.”

That’s historically how We the Beat shows have gone. The co-founders, who now run the collective with partners and best friends James Hammer and Max Amster, set out to feature acts no one else was booking at the time. That’s how the collective brought Khruangbin to the Hard Rock Hotel in 2018, during the band’s Con Todo El Mundo era. That’s how it booked Louis the Child in 2015 at the SoHo Music Club in Santa Barbara, years before the DJ duo ever had a residency locked down at Zouk Nightclub. “It’s cool to just be a part of this trajectory with them,” Nania says.

The originality of We the Beat’s programming is what made it stand out early on, but booking undiscovered talent also posed challenges. “It’s hard to find those fans,” Reed says. “That was part of We the Beat building a community of people that are looking for new music and hopefully gaining that trust to come to a show.”

Ten years in, We the Beat has proven it knows what the next big thing is, and more businesses are starting to open their doors to it. This August, the collective partnered with Circa for its first Stadium Swim After Dark concert series, featuring the Grammy-nominated duo The Knocks and several local artists. More cool shows are also already being planned for next year.

“We’ve always loved Downtown Las Vegas. We like how cool and weird it is down there,” Reed says. “So for Circa to be the biggest, coolest dude on the block, to partner with them and for them to give us a platform to do what we love but bigger and better, it’s super cool.”

We the Beat’s Downtown footprint continues to expand. Fergusons Downtown has become a resident venue for the collective’s biggest shows and holiday fests like Halloween’s Freak the Beat and St. Patrick’s Day’s Get Lucky, featuring dance music virtuosos Disco Lines and Whethan, respectively. We All Scream has also seen its share of We the Beat gigs, with Aluna from the U.K. electronic duo AlunaGeorge playing there on November 3.

For Reed and Nania, the goal is to keep bringing club-sized experiences to town without the bottles and the tables. “We’re trying to re-mold a new, cooler outlook on experiencing art, culture and music,” Nania says.

ALUNA With Yeisukee, Midnight Affair. November 3, 9 p.m., $15. We All Scream, wethebeat.com.

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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