Where to See the Best DJs in America

DJing is a funny thing. Advances in technology have made it so that anyone with a laptop and iTunes can play their favorite tracks at a party and call themselves a DJ. But for party purists all over the world, a true DJ someone who lives and dies by the beat, and who can control a dance floor of hundreds, sometimes thousands, with the flick of a switch. On any given night in clubs all over the country, these masters of the mix are getting the party started (and keeping it going) so you don’t have to. Here’s a list of where to catch the most scorching sets around.

NYC Pacha: Ibiza by way of Hell’s Kitchen. This is NYC’s best go at a Euro megaclub mock-up, and likewise, it’s where the world’s biggest DJs come to spin. Unless you’re a hardcore techno-head, you’ve probably never heard of names like Mark Knight, Benny Benassi, and Jonathan Peters. But you can bet the sea of sweaty, ecstatic revelers, well, have. Santos’ Party House: DJs flock to sound systems like flies do to, well, you get the picture. Boasting one of the best speaker sets in town, mixers from all genres of music flock to this bi-level downtown boite. The best place in Manhattan to discover noise from the underground. Cielo: World-class DJ Nicolas Matar opened Cielo after a nine year residency in Ibiza during the golden era of House, so you know that this ultra-futuristic club attracts only the best talent behind the decks. Legends like Danny Tenaglia, Richie Hawtin and Frankie Knuckles are frequent guests.

MIAMI Space: In a town notorious for its after-hours clubs, this is the crown jewel. Some of the biggest DJs in the world have residencies here, and there’s a never-ending lineup of superstar guests delivering high octane well after the sun rises. World’s away from the SoBe bling parade, this is the mecca for dance and trance freaks. LIV: Tiesto—the world’s best known DJ—has gone on record saying this Vegas-style megaclub at the Fontainebleau is his favorite in the world. His reasons: “high ceilings, good sound system, beautiful people.” Works for us. Mynt Ultra Lounge: Not quite a lounge, not when international DJs like Cedric Gervais celebrate their birthdays here with pulverizing sets. Uber exclusivity on the South Beach strip. Celebs constantly linger around the elevated, see-and-be-seen DJ bootbh.

LOS ANGELES Avalon: The readers of URB.com, a hub for lovers of all things electronica, named this club their venue of the year for 2009 in a year end readers poll. The legendary building, once known as The Palace, has been operational for over 80 years. Dance is with the ghosts of Dean Martin and Groucho Marx at Avaland, the weekly Saturday parties that draw top talent in the DJ world. V Lounge: Most danceclubs in LA are caught up in the Hollywood nightlife machine, but not V Lounge. Here, it’s all about the music. Fridays with DJs Stardom and Nightlife remain popular, and on Saturdays, DJ Ammo, who has spun at L.A.’s biggest and best clubs, mans the decks. Playhouse: Parties rage almost every night of the week at multi-level club. Occasional live music, but you can expect DJs most nights. Their Friday night jam Dirty Sexy House speaks for itself. Two DJs spinning simultaneously, one up top, another bellow. New York mainstay Jesse Marco has been known to show up from time to time to blow the roof of, just because he can.

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