Is the old school the new school in Las Vegas? Or is it simply that some performers never really went away? As the local economy lags, does the “return” of veteran acts like the Scintas and Tony Sacca suggest tourists desire more affordable lounge-based entertainment instead of big productions with elaborate stages, confetti cannons and loud rock?
These entertainment families are off-Strip, of course. Still, in a tough economy, the Vegas entertainment industry seems eager to give warhorses another shot.
Actually, Sacca is giving himself a shot, having founded Las Vegas Rocks Café inside Neonopolis, the structure—with a city-financed parking structure—where nothing seems to succeed. Sacca’s “retro Louis Prima-style act” is different for Fremont Street, however. If a show like his will work, it’s in the retro-appropriate location. At 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights, with no charge for admission (except a drink or three), you can see Sacca take the Marquee Room stage with a few musicians, interact with the audience and run through hit tunes from Oldies, R&B, Manilow, Elvis and more.
For about 10 years, the Scintas have played big stages at places such as the Rio, Sahara and Hilton. Now they work two nights in the 500-seat Suncoast Showroom next month (7:30 p.m. May 15 and 16, $29.95). As a snobby indie-rocker, I wasn’t looking forward to seeing them. But I’m glad I finally caught a show at the Hilton a few years back. Their impersona—er, I mean the “guest appearances” by Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and others are a lot of fun.
On the dying medium of radio, my old writing acquaintance Steve Grogan, author of the cult crime novel Vegas Die: A Quest Mystery (Addison & Highsmith, 2008), is launching a new “hour-long cultural entertainment show” on KLAV 1230-AM called Grogan’s Tavern. Why? “A pub or tavern is the perfect watering hole for intellectual gossip and camaraderie,” he says. Catch the show at 7 p.m. Fridays. If you’re interested in appearing the show, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even neo-jam-bands are getting their retro on. Santana’s horn section apparently joined Moksha onstage for a couple songs during the band’s April 9 CD-release party at House of Blues. Moksha and Santana brass? Somehow it feels right.
Got photos of me drinking at concerts? Blackmail me at email@example.com.