Chantal Claret

Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel, Sept. 29

Vinyl’s first artist to enjoy an extended residency—spunky, punky, uptempo R&B-belter Chantal Claret, who looks dynamite in a black-and-white dress, by the way—played to a decent, responsive crowd at the Hard Rock’s newest live-music venue. Despite a retro approach, the flame-haired front woman’s Vegas lounge debut didn’t suffer in the “rocked-up ferocity” department, mainly because of her sleek, sharply dressed (black suits and ties) band. From butt-kickin’ opener “Bite Your Tongue,” which nibbles on the edge of a Eurythmics pop-soul tribute, to the straight-up Motown finale of “Light It Up,” Claret never let up. Stage presence lacked nothing, either, as Claret and her beautiful backup singers danced, strutted and handclapped in synchronized fashion throughout a 15-song set. There was some variety, too, including covers like, bizarrely, ’90s garage-stomp band Thee Headcoatees’ “Davy Crockett,” for which Claret saucily donned a raccoon-skin hat, and British synth duo Erasure’s “Chains of Love.” Gotta credit the Hard Rock for inviting original music of such high quality into a niche that was, years ago, wasted on acts like Alien Ant Farm. In any case, Claret’s show cooks. ★★★★☆

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Robert Randolph and the Family Band


Robert Randolph and the Family Band

By Craig Asher Nyman

The Hard Rock Hotel team couldn’t have picked a better act for the grand opening of its newest music venue, Vinyl. Inside the intimate confines it was a funky good time as Robert Randolph and the Family Band jammed out with a high-energy 80-minute set. Appropriately kicking things off with “Good Times,” Randolph and his literal family (sister on backup vocals, cousins on guitar, bass and drums) got the crowd electrified for a boot-stomping funk-and-soul evening.