First, Jerry Fink had a nice write-up on Lon Bronson on Tuesday, "Workin to keep workin'." Ahhhh, the struggle:
...He says lounge entertainment is an endangered species in Las Vegas, because of the corporate mentality of casino owners.Don't get Sonny Maupin started on the subject of ultralounges, LOL! The statistician in me simply says 'dudes, it'd be way cheaper in the aggregate, and infinitely more direct, to just go to the Chicken Ranch.'
“Their philosophy is they have to maximize profit, and in so doing they have trivialized entertainment,” Bronson says. “They don’t understand what entertainment brings to the table. They cut out lounge entertainment to save money, but they’ll go out and spend $100 million to develop a Cirque show and not think twice about it.”
Gone are the days when you could hear the likes of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Harry James or Louis Prima in a Vegas lounge. Now every hotel has an ultralounge.
“These nightclubs are the final nail in the coffin of lounge entertainment,” Bronson says. “They build these clubs that have zero entertainment. The entertainment in those clubs are the people themselves — ‘How am I dressed? Who’s looking at me?’ It’s so narcissistic.
“I lived through the disco era and I thought it was gone forever, but it’s back and now the fans are dropping $2,000 to have a bottle of $20 whiskey served to them at a table.”...
Jerry Fink does great, supportive write-ups of the local cats. We all appreciate it.
Lon and his band "The Las Vegas All-Stars" are appearing in the Ovation Showroom tonight, Green Valley Ranch, 9 pm. Free show. I'm gonna go check it out. Never met the cat, though I do know some of the players in his band. He never comes around.
Tyriq came over yesterday and we did a photo shoot for a Stevie Wonder opportunity he's got comin' up.
Speaking of the Ovation Showroom, Lenny Lopez will be back onstage with Michael Grimm and his large lineup this weekend. Early show, 6:30 - 9:30 pm, IIRC
UPDATE: R-J ARTICLE ON VEGAS LOUNGES
It's tougher these days for lounge acts to land recurring gigsNice article. He also cites our friends Brody and the cats in Yellow Brick Road (a must-see, that band). Click the title for the link to the entire piece. Yeah, times are tough for everyone. BLS just came out with the latest unemployment stats (December), so I updated my Excel spreadsheet and graph:
Changing landscape requires that performers constantly reinvent themselves
By JOHN PRZYBYS
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Thirty years ago, when Jerry Tiffe played the Sands, he performed in the hotel's lounge with two other acts with whom he'd alternate spots on the bill each night.
Each performer worked six nights a week and, on nights when one of the acts was off, a relief band filled in, Tiffe recalls.
Today's loungegoer would drool at the prospect of seeing such riches in talent on the same bill seven nights a week. These days, the double whammy of fewer lounges and pared-down show schedules can make it difficult for aspiring performers seeking to carry on the rich tradition established by such Las Vegas legends as Louis Prima, the Mary Kay Trio and Freddie Bell.
"When I first moved to Las Vegas, wow," recalls Dian Diaz, who in December celebrated her 10th anniversary at Bellagio's Fontana Lounge. "I loved it. You could go to one casino, and in one casino they had three lounges.
"It was so cool. You could jump from lounge to lounge to see great acts and really top-of-the-line groups."...
Nevada is rapidly catching up with The Peoples' Republic next door (where my wife now lives and works). Steep uptick in the rate (to be expected generally; companies typically flush people at the end of the year to get 'em off the books when it's gonna be inevitable anyway).
LON BRONSON GIG SHOTS
Above, LOL, I parked real quick along the curb and jumped outa the car on my way back home and snapped that.
They certainly packed the place. It was crammed in SRO by about 9:30. Tom Deiibero and Garrett Hypes were in the horn lineup, and Tony Davich sang. The change to Keith Nelson on bass (formerly of the Steven Lee Group) is a significant improvement -- cat is really fine.
They obviously have a very enthusiastic, large following, a demographic that seems to be in the legacy "Blood, Sweat, & Tears" / "Cold Blood" etc mode. More straight-ahead "Rock" and "R&B" than Santa Fe. Nothing wrong with that at all. Crowd was really diggin' it. I just like to see everyone giggin'.