Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | 6:40 p.m.
We'll start with the end. The end of an era, sadly, at Brendan's Irish Pub at the Orleans.
Killian's Angels, the high-spirited Celtic rock band that has performed most weekends at Brendan's since debuting there on St. Patrick's Day 2003, is being run from the club. A new happy hour running from 4-8 p.m. has been dialed up by the hotel's marketing department, and that 8 p.m. shut-down time doesn't give the Angels — a sextet whose pieces include guitars, drums, violins, synthesizers, a washboard and Ginger Bruner's tuba — time to set up.
Comically, it has been passed along that the hotel might consider the relatively large-in-numbers band a little "high maintenance." Brother, they have no idea.
We say that only with the highest measure of affection.
Led by vocalist/guitarist/mandolin artist/washboarder Beth Mullaney, the Angels are one of the city's great live-music treasures. No band has had more fun on the Brendan's stage than Killian's Angels. Oh, the times! One night, about three years ago, having forgotten their maracas, band members pulled various bottles of prescription medications from their purses and shook them into their microphones. Brilliant.
And one of the funniest performances I've seen on any Vegas stage is the interpretive dance by one particularly fervent Angels fan. The inspired routine is set to Charlie Daniels' "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," and features Lisa Viscuglia on the violin, or fiddle in this instance. Angels fan "Donna" is the guest star for this number, prodding and gyrating her way into low-level local celebrity status. I've written about Donna's act before, but the black tights, the plastic fork, the sparkly red tail and matching horns, the manic choreography, the "fiddle made of gold" ... again, brilliant.
But all dances must end, right?
Killian's Angels, whose version in of "The Celtic High Step" has been featured on the video game "Grand Theft Auto IV" for nearly a year, will continue to perform various gigs around the valley, including the Draft House on North Rancho Drive on May 1 and the Henderson ArtFest on May 8 and 9. Keep up with the band on the official Killian's Angels website. This weekend's shows begin at 9 p.m. and run through 1 a.m.,
We'll toast the Angels, friends one and all — Mullaney, Bruner, Viscuglia, Dolly Coulter, Vita Corimbi and Nannette Forteir — a last time before turning out the lights at Brendan's: "Sláinte!"
Time to have some fun (cough) with this update from the Tropicana and the Celebration Lounge-big band saga. Las Vegas Musicians Union Local 369 has succeeded in pulling its member musicians from the big-band shows that follow Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns at Tiffany Theatre each Monday night. Monday's "postgame show" featured Soeren Johnson's Satin Saddle Orchestra, reportedly seating an all-nonunion band.
Last week union secretary/treasurer Thom Pastor sent a letter reminding select players to "stand down" from the free, late-night gig. Those contacted were trumpet players, trombone players and rhythm musicians (bassists and percussionists), which of course rankled some union musicians who wondered why the entire fellowship was not contacted. But the union has acted as promised.
In a letter dated April 16 and sent to select union members, Pastor wrote: "Many of you are aware of a series of Monday night musical sets currently taking place at the Tropicana Hotel/Casino. Beginning with the group Santa Fe in the showroom, it is followed by a one hour big band jazz concert in the lounge. Initially proposed as a showcase/audition for potential employment at the property, the situation has continued and eroded to what is essentially a night's free entertainment for the hotel/casino.
As union members, we agreed to uphold the Bylaws of the AFM and Local 369. To that extent, we are collectively disallowed from performing musical services gratis, or for a token stipend that insults area wage standards.
"Therefore be informed that you are hereby obliged to "stand down" from any and all solicitations to participate in the aforementioned Tropicana Monday night affairs. I must also unhesitatingly remind you that a failure to observe this edict may result in sanctions being brought against you under the Bylaws, the severity of which includes both fines and/or expulsion."
Local 369 also vowed to address "additional scale inequities" taking place in the union's Southern Nevada jurisdiction. No matter the outcome, the Trop shows, well-intended as they were, have caused a ripple on the Las Vegas entertainment scene.
Other news from the corner of Main and Main
Wayne Newton closes his run in "Once Before I Go" at Tiffany Theatre on Saturday. In a column from Tuesday — this column! — Newton was mentioned by David Saxe as a possible centerpiece in "Vegas! The Show" at the newly named and managed and named Saxe Theater. If Saxe's plans are to be realized, someone — ideally David Saxe — needs to contact Newton, who I'm told had no idea he was being considered for such a role until I blogged about it this week.
Also at Tiffany Theatre, Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns are scheduled to close out the showcases at Tiffany Theatre after Monday night's performance. Scheduled for May 3 in the showroom is comedian Paul Rodriguez, and he is on the in-house entertainment schedule through the month of May. Strange, since renovations on Tiffany Theatre were to begin by mid-May.
Unless Rodriguez plans on working around tear-down crews, something is amiss here. Awaiting an answer on how it is the theater will be renovated as shows are being booked, or at least scheduled there. Reminder: The Trop's new slogan is, "We're Changing Everything."
Return of Elvis
One of the more durable Elvis Presley tribute acts to play Vegas (and Laughlin), Trent Carlini, has returned. Carlini's name surfaced in the column I wrote about Saxe Theater on Tuesday. He was one of many performers who could not tread water at Wyrick Theatre. But he has returned with a production of his own Mondays at the Las Vegas Hilton Theater. Show times are 8 p.m.; tickets are $39 and $79 (fees not included). Call 800-222-5361 or go to the Las Vegas Hilton website.
A place to tie one on
The new restaurant/nightclub on the southwest corner of Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard is to called Nacho Daddy's. That's the word on the streets, or at least on that street, and the project has (hint) a tie to footwear. More on this tale as it develops.
Vinnie is off-kilter
Caught up with Tom "Vinny Blue" Cassell at New York-New York on Saturday at the announcement of the 2011 Celtic Festival. Cassell won a somewhat spirited competition with Jon Paul "Vinny Red" Raniola to earn the role as spokesman for the hotel. Cassell was one who was not wearing a kilt for the celebration. So I asked, in so many words, "Whither kilt?"
"I wore one for St. Patrick's Day, and never again," he said. Why? "All day women were trying to take pictures up my kilt. That's the last time I've ever wearing one."
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