Recently I admitted to being a Fanilow but I am also a huge Prince freak (and you can take “freak” any way you like it, baby). I know…how many Barry Manilow fans also own more than 20 Prince CDs and have been up front and center of several infamous Prince after parties? (It’s OK, divas do not have to be consistent, just fabulous.) Well, I was enjoying a rare lazy Saturday and I was surfing the net for current information on Prince — the main headliner at the upcoming Roskilde Music Festival in Denmark and a big reason I am about to fly 10,000 miles to shoot a show — when I came across a local tribute band I had heard good things about called Purple Reign and thought what better way to get some practice in before shooting the Purple One than to shoot someone with all the same moves? So I sent an email via their website and just 20 minutes later got a call from Michelle from the Hooters Hotel and Casino‘s Marketing Department and everything was quickly set up.
Then, as is so often the case, my hubby got involved and everything got more complicated. Figures right? Bill got a call from the tour manager for ‘90s alt rock band Everclear who was headlining at the Siverton Hotel and Casino and who wanted us to come out and see the show. I tell you, being this popular can be a downright burden sometimes. I don’t know a lot about Everclear except for their song “AM Radio” which I like a lot. But I do know they are a highly regarded alt-rock band so I expected good things.
The Silverton has gone through many entertainment changes in the past few years. When we moved to town five years ago they had a comfortable and very good sounding showroom which was gutted and is now the buffet. Sound crews joke that it is the best sounding buffet in Vegas. Expansion plans call for a new performance venue but in the meantime they have done everything from poolside shows to a large tent to even a new year’s eve show with Hootie and the Blowfish in the attached Bass Pro shop in the area that generally holds 20 or 30 boats for sale. I have been to many a SIlverton show but this was my first time in the new semi-permanent structure which I should not call a tent, but it is one. A very large and roomy tent with a large stage but still a tent. And can someone tell me what’s up with those chandeliers? These gigantic piles of deer antlers painted white make the monstrosity red look-like-they-belong-in-Pahrump-if-you-know-what-I-mean things in the Encore look positively classy and beautiful. I mean, what were they thinking?
We arrived a few minutes before the show and while the Rev. talked audio yada yada yada with the engineer, I got myself into my Photo Diva mindset and as the band took the stage, I started to shoot. And something was just not right. The sound system was deployed and run by the best sound company in town — HAS Productions — and the mix engineer knew his stuff so the sound was fine (not always the case as I have noted before). But something was still not right. Then I figured it out. Um, how can I put this nicely? The band sucked. Not the songs, Art Alexakis is a terrific writer and his multiple shoutouts to his just-turned-18 daughter who was in the audience made him positively adorable. But, honey, if the band I am in were that bad we would never leave the garage. And this is a national act. With nine albums, a Grammy nomination and multiple hit songs. What the…? Can everyone onstage please play the same song at the same time at the same tempo? Is that too much to ask? I was actually a relief when we had to leave after about 40 minutes to see Purple Reign.
What a stunning difference. The sound was fantastic on a system that is not close to the caliber of the one at the show we had just left had but, like I always say, It’s not the car, it’s the driver and the sound engineer at this show was very very good. And the band positively mopped the floor with the national band with hit songs. Tight, great and unexpected arrangements and the band was the best I have heard on any stage in a while. Jason, who plays the Prince role has the voice and the moves and plays a wicked guitar and the lone female dancer onstage was so hot that, well I am about as hetero as they come but if she had me thinking, I hesitate to guess what was going through the minds of the males in the audience. I have an interview set up with Jason when I get back to the States and will be writing about Purple Reign in more depth soon but I’ll wrap this part by saying that Purple Reign is so good that I am hoping not to be disappointed by the real deal next week. They play Thursday through Sunday in the Night Owl Showroom inside Hooters and this is a local show you simply must check out. The Photo Diva gives it three snaps, darlings.
After that show we put the Divamobile into overdrive to get to the Sahara to catch the last set by Dangerous Curves — an all female classic rock band in which our friend and bandmate, the almost-as-fab-as-the-Diva Andrea Bensmiller, was subbing on bass for the weekend. This is another act I will be covering again but for starters the lead singer is a tiny and very cute little thing wearing a mini-skirt and an oh-so-cool shirt that said: “Rehab Is the New Black.” The Diva must have one. Anyway, when the band came onstage for their last set and she began talking to the crowd Bill and I looked at each other. Speaking, she sounds like a Powerpuff Girl. How was she going to pull of the hard rock thing? The opening “Sweet Child o Mine” by Guns ‘N Roses was a reminder that speaking voice and singing voice are not always the same. (Remember Jim Nabors? He went from Gomer Pyle “gooooll-y” to operatic baritone in the blink of an eye.) And as the band tore through songs by Metallica, Saliva and AC/DC she proved she has more balls than most of the boys in town. Totally enjoyable.
SO the moral to this week’s installment? To quote someone I told about all three shows, “Yeah, the hardworking, underpaid local working musicians are better than the millionaire rock stars. That sounds about right.” There is some incredible talent in this town. And for some reason too many casino entertainment directors feel they need to truck in acts from L.A. Local music needs local support. Go out and see some local bands. Not sure who to see? Purple Reign and Dangerous Curves are good place to start. And come back to see the Photo Diva regularly cuz I am all about our super talented Vegas musicians.
Go out, have a couple drinks, drop a little money in the casino and make sure that the management knows you are there because you came to see the band. Just tell them the Photo Diva sent you. Now, I gotta go pack for my big trip but no worries darlings, I will be posting my pictures and impressions on Facebook and Twitter while in Denmark so you can follow my Scandalous Scandinavian Soujourn! I am beyond excited.