There’s no better place than Las Vegas for a fun night out, even when you have no one to party with. I landed here five years ago not knowing a soul and now I actually prefer to hit the town by myself — I can go where I want, talk to whoever I want, and leave when I want.
It’s probably fair to say that women are less apt to go out by themselves than men and, ladies, I understand your reluctance; occasionally even I have to push myself. Sometimes I lack confidence for whatever reason (usually related to my weight or my hair), or I’m simply not up to the lengthy beautification process required to make myself presentable for the club/lounge scene on The Strip.
But instead of staying home and singing the blues, I suggest you go out and listen to the blues. I’ve discovered some cool, safe places to make the scene — places where you don’t have to hold in your stomach all night and nobody cares how trendy your clothes are.
One of my favorite haunts is the Railhead, the showroom in the Boulder Station Hotel and Casino on Boulder Highway. It’s a great venue, and every Thursday night Boulder Blues features national touring blues performers. And yippee — there’s never a cover charge! Can’t stay out late on a school night? The bands start at 8 p.m. sharp — you can catch the first set and still be home in time for the 10 o’clock news. Ladies, if a dapper gentleman named Chuck asks you for a spin on the dance floor, go for it. He’s quite the hoofer and he’ll politely escort you back to your seat just like he learned in Saturday-morning dancing school.
Lucille’s, in the District at Green Valley Ranch, is another one of my favorites. They have jumpin’ blues in their bar area every Friday and Saturday starting at 6 p.m. The night is still young when the music winds down around 10, so afterward head on over to the Sand Dollar Blues Lounge on Polaris at Spring Mountain. Sand Dollar’s bands are always top-notch and between sets you can kick some butt shooting pool. Like all the folks in the blues clubs, the people are friendly and authentic. I once met a neat guy there who went simply by “G,” thoughtfully saving people the trouble of pronouncing his entire name: “Gene.” Pretty considerate, huh?
One recent Saturday night I struck gold, thanks to Rockin Billy, my virtual MySpace friend and the lead singer and guitarist for The Shakers. At his suggestion, I checked out the Las Vegas Blues Society’s open jam at Scoundrels Pub on Decatur, just north of Tropicana. This is something I definitely wish I’d known about long before now. Once a month, local blues musicians perform together at different venues throughout the valley and the best part is, it’s free and the music starts at 5 p.m. (Are you catching on that I can’t stay out as late as I used to?)
A word about the Las Vegas Blues Society — it’s a nonprofit organization with a mission to “preserve blues music and its history and to promote blues music in the Las Vegas community.” In addition to the monthly open jams, they sponsor a “Young Guns of Blues” program, which showcases the talents of under-21 musicians. Also, one of its members offers a free workshop every Thursday night for aspiring acoustic guitar and harmonica players at the Valley View Recreation Center in Henderson. Sign up on the Blues Society’s Web site to receive a weekly e-mail listing show dates for local blues artists or, better yet, become a member and support this wonderful organization.
I had a blast at Scoundrels that night! The music was fantastic and I got to meet Rockin Billy in person, along with lots of other interesting, down-to-earth characters I never would have met had I stayed home catching up on “Guiding Light.” So don’t be afraid to explore the neon nightlife by yourself; it’s a lot easier to make new friends when you’re not already sitting with one you already know.
The band may be playing “I Drink Alone,” but you certainly won’t be!