Anyone who thought September 11 and the spiraling recession that followed would put a damper on Miami nightlife underestimated clubland's tenacity.

"The beautiful thing about Miami is it can be anything you want it to be," says Louis Canales, as he takes a sip from his rum and Coke before the official opening of his 42nd club venture in the past sixteen years. Rain, Canales's latest distraction, is a lounge that he believes will give the Beach its missing niche.

"Miami has clubs for trance and clubs for hip-hop," Canales points out. "What we intend to do at Rain is have a place for everyone else." Canales hopes to recapture the vibe that spawned the SoBe identity of the late Eighties by catering to locals and whoever else shows up at special events such as Vogue premieres and P. Diddy birthday parties. Wednesdays the club will morph pink with the sophisticated gay night Flamingo. The high holy day, however, will fall on Sundays, when Canales presents a subtropical edition of Body & Soul. Though Rain will not actually lease the name shared by the party at New York City club Vinyl, Miami's Body & Soul will cop the style: multiple DJs spinning music with a soulful groove.

"A lot of what you see as the trend now in clubs and DJs in places like London and Ibiza actually began here," he says. "We need to stop following and be the leader again." To that end at press time Canales was in the process of booking house pioneers Derrick Carter, Tony Humphries, and Frankie Knuckles. The volatile Carter is as entertaining as his music, while Humphries and Knuckles can match wax with anyone. When it rains, run in the house.

Speaking of new homes, those who think Shadow Lounge simply changed its name to Liquid can think again. The completely renovated space at 1532 Washington Ave. will carry on the Liquid tradition by featuring high-profile DJs on a weekly basis. Already slated for December: LA tech-house jock Christopher Lawrence and Chicago's Bad Boy Bill, whose style is self-proclaimed "bangin'" funky house with hip-hop flair. David Waxman, the former Liquid's only resident DJ, has been signed for a special New Year's Eve gig. Insiders are hyping the brand-new Elation lighting and Nexxus sound system as the "best on the Beach." Better than Billboardlive? Let your eyes and ears decide.

That pristine temple of high tech has not slowed down since opening with DJ legends Jellybean Benitez and Perry Farrell, but the Billboardbehemouth may have scored its biggest victory yet by hosting LA/Miami promoter Jeffrey Sanker's bimonthly Sunday tea dance. Sanker's party credits include soirees such as Palm Springs' White Party and Miami's New Year's Eve bash. He's already introduced up-and-coming LA DJ Kimberly S. to the Beach; watch out for what's next.

Not to be out-renovated, the mainland's Space reopened with another string of superstar DJ appearances. Better than Saint Nick, December brings Judge Jules and German phenom Paul Van Dyk. Best known for his seminal Saturday-night broadcast on Radio 1, Jules's style has effectively fused the soul of New York house with U.K. acid-retro-funk. And Van Dyk is Van Dyk -- enough said.

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Kevin McLaughlin