Anybody who has hit the Strip knows just how much action there can be on even a block or two. What you might not know is how much of that action is soundtracked by a single DJ. Whether you're swinging at Rokbar or Skybar or the Florida Room, chances are better than good that your sway is coming from a head-spinner named Gunars.
But before you get with the now of it all, backtrack a bit, to Pawn Shop in its heyday, or Karu when it was still packing in hipsters. Gunars was there then, and if you haven't blacked them out, you'll remember nights that went long past dark. Backtrack a bit further to New York, where the Boston-born DJ manned the decks at Pangea (his first residency), B-Lo, Spider Club, and, yes, that particular branch of Crobar, where he held forth for a year and a half.
Still, a resumé is only so much paper unless it can lead to a residency, or, in Gunars's case, three residencies. And despite the prestige of both the Shore Club's Skybar and the Delano's underground Florida Room, it's the ever-bursting Rokbar where the man really made his name. Yep, Gunars was there from the get-go, and he's still there, loudening up the joint with a crowd-wowing concoction of rock, electro, and hip-hop.
Gunars: Tuesdays at the Florida Room; Thursdays and Saturdays at Skybar at the Shore Club; Fridays at Rokbar. www.gunars.com.
Click play to hear Gunars' "Rok Anthem Mix":
It's a format that opens even wider down under the Delano, where he goes throwback, and in Redroom at Skybar, when reggae and house enter the equation. But no matter where it is, or when, it's generally touched off by something universal such as the White Stripes' "7 Nation Army" or one of its down-and-dirty gut rock or soul equivalents. Because you just can't beat a stirring beat — or a stirring beatmaster. But don't take my word for it. Go see, hear, and swing for yourself. Just don't bug the boldfaces (they're like you, only famous), and don't latch on to any chandeliers, 'cause Gunars will bring down the house all by himself.
Gunars's current top five:
1. "Kalifornia (Graveleaf Remix)," Fatboy Slim
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2. "A Billi," Jay-Z/Lil Wayne
3. "No Delayin," Nice & Smooth
4. "Digital," Joy Division
5. "Funky Thing," Larry Ellis and The Black Hammer