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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Ryan Leslie


Ryan Leslie

By Brjden Crewe

In town on his Les Is More album tour, the hip-hop/R&B singer eschewed running through a bunch of tracks the crowd didn’t yet know in favor of the songs that got him in front of a packed poolside audience in the first place. Channeling his inner Curtis Mayfield, Leslie worked the keyboards while both rhyming and singing on “Beautiful Lie,” “Something That I Like” and “Diamond Girl,” during which he teased the women in the crowd with the song’s suggestive lyrics of marital commitment and expensive engagement rings.