Country (Saloon) Girl

Best thing about local music promoter/Pigasus bassist Roxie Amoroso? She’s never hung up on the past and keeps a positive outlook about the future of live music in Vegas. As well she should. After years of booking shows for just about every mediocre bar in town—Club House, Roadhouse, Squiggy’s, Texas Station’s South Padre Lounge—Roxie has finally landed a venue on Fremont Street, where she hopes to transform Las Vegas Country Saloon into the Vegas version of CBGB’s.

Her boast causes me to snort out loud, which pisses her off a little. She takes a swat: “Do you even know what the initials CBGB stand for?”

“Of course I do,” I say. “Um, wait. Hang on. [Long pause.] Dang. OK, I forgot. Tell me.”

“Country, Bluegrass and Blues.”

Good point: Hillbilly-sounding names can be overcome. Still, what’s going to draw live rock music fans? Roxie insists it’s all about location; she may be right. The venue is just across the tourist-hipster divide from Downtown Cocktail Room, and validated parking (just hand your parking ticket to the LVCS bartender). If you get drunk, the saloon has a restaurant: you can eat and drink coffee until you sober up. There are also free mechanical bull rides!

Actually, there are two music venues inside LVCS: the saloon itself and the cozy, neighboring Brass Lounge, where you can escape the louder (usually national or headlining) band, enjoy a cool balcony view (the venues are situated above Hennessy’s Tavern on Fremont) and groove on a low-key, local indie-rock group. Roxie’s booking both spaces, relying on bands she nurtured at her previous establishment, Boomers, which, between 2009 and 2010, she transformed into an underground punk/metal hotspot—emphasis on “underground.”

“Not everyone wanted to play in an industrial area,” Roxie says. “With the saloon, we’re offering a bunch of free shows featuring local bands, no cover. This way bands can bring all the friends they want and play through a top sound system.”

The list of national acts scheduled to perform at LVCS looks promising, even if you don’t count the punk/rockabilly/surf/garage extravaganza Las Vegas Shakedown (Aug. 13-15), with shows split between the saloon and Beauty Bar. Before that, C.J. Ramone of the Ramones plays July 8, Babes in Sin burlesque troupe plays July 16, No Bunny performs July 24, and Dead Lazlo’s Place arrives July 31.

“I put my Louboutin on the ground and said, ‘No more pay to play,’” She laughs. “I’m the new rock ambassador of Fremont. I want to do right by the bands and the fans.”

Your friendly neighborhood Soundscraper has already enjoyed two saloon shows: Pigasus performed June 23, and 3 Day Crush (featuring ex-Ozzy Osbourne guitarist turned shut-in Jake E. Lee) played on July 3. Hey, with any luck, maybe LVCS will become the next CBGB’s.

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