Pat Gray/Erik Kabik Photography
Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 | 2 a.m.
Rare is the venue capable of staging performances just days apart by spirited alt-rocker Courtney Love and venerable Vegas lounge crooner Mark OToole.
One is an energetic, uniquely appealing singer with a relatively small but hardcore collection of fans, many of whom are under the influence of high-powered prescription pharmaceuticals.
The other is Courtney Love.
Forever unpredictable onstage (and in life), Love performs tonight and Friday night as Vinyl celebrates its first anniversary. Who knew at the time the club opened — with a show by electronic-rock outfit Julien-K in August 2012 under then-Hard Rock Hotel entertainment overlord Paul Davis — that Vinyl would become so versatile?
A look at some of my favorite bookings at the venue, where the floors are purposefully distressed but the mood is ebullient:
Bumblefoot: Ron Thal is a ferocious guitarist, as his performances with Guns N’ Roses at the nearby Joint reinforced. That residency allowed Bumblefoot to take the stage at Vinyl and about tear apart the joint.
Moksha: One of my favorite Las Vegas bands, or bands in general. These guys are a super-precision outfit, impressive for their relentless rehearsing, and play the unaffiliated Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip on Sept. 21.
Andrew “Dice” Clay: In a recent show interrupted by the hotel’s smoke alarm, Dice delivered a performance I liked a lot more than the one I watched at Las Vegas Hilton’s Shimmer Cabaret a couple of years ago. Vinyl’s rock-and-roll decor suits the smoking, shades-donning, black-clad Diceman. Drawing universally high praise for his turn in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine,” Dice was the first comic booked in the room. But he would not be the last.
Sin City Sinners: The Sinners are the city’s most reliably hard-rocking band and played the old lounge at the Hard Rock Hotel that was taken apart for Vinyl. The new room was practically built for the likes of the Sinners, who niftily mix classic-rock covers with originals and always deliver a satisfying (if ear-splitting) set.
The Janks: Props to the sons of my man Adrian Zmed! They are Zachary and Dylan Zmed, specifically. They played the room a few months ago, reminding rock fans of Zmed Zeppelin and the Grateful Zmed (apologies).
Orianthi: Most of what was said of Bumblefoot (aside from the part about being in Guns N’ Roses) can be applied to Orianthi, who was Michael Jackson’s guitarist in the ill-fated “This Is It” shows planned for London’s O2 Arena in 2009. The Aussie is a pretty soft-spoken sort — until she grips the PRS Custom 22 (which is a model of guitar). Then it’s rip-your-face-off time.
Steve-O and Tom Green: They performed a co-headlining type of show this spring, Steve-O touching on threesomes gone awry and Green decrying the way humans have become spoiled in how they communicate (“Remember when you had to call someone on a rotary phone, and if they weren’t home … YOU COULDN’T TALK TO THEM?!”). Steve-O seemed to be sort of screwing around, but Green is a really sharp and smart standup.
OToole: While walking through the casino one night, I stopped at a sign promoting OToole’s upcoming performances at Vinyl. "Wow," I thought, thinking that the hotel had either misunderstood OToole’s vibe (which is sort of Perry Como mixed with Dean Martin and tossed in a Casbar Lounge Cuisinart) or that OToole had unexpectedly embraced alternative rock. But he is a popular Saturday afternoon draw for a good measure of the Sun City Summerlin and Anthem communities. They groove it up, as does everyone else at the Hard Rock’s hoppin’ little joint.
Arguably one the coolest joints in town, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino houses some of Vegas' best entertainment, restaurants and nightlife.
At Hard Rock, it's all about the music. From the light fixtures made out of drum cymbals and guitar shaped door handles to stage costumes and tools of the trade of legendary musicians displayed on the walls, the hotel screams rock and roll. The Hard Rock's Joint has hosted some the biggest names in music — from The Who to Bob Dylan to hometown heroes, The Killers.Aside from the music venues, the pool at the Hard Rock is one of its biggest attractions. Spread out over 4.7 acres, the pool area features swim-up blackjack, a bar and grill, private cabanas, a bevy of secluded nooks, a waterfall and an extensive live music venue with a dance floor. During the summer, the pool transforms into the Rehab club on Sunday afternoons.
The resident nightclub Body English fuses European elegance with a rock star bachelor pad and it often a hot spot for visiting celebs and popular DJs. Vintage rock memorabilia lines the walls at Wasted Space, Hard Rock's anti-club.
Restaurants at Hard Rock are just as hip as the rest of the casino. Pink Taco serves up Mexican dishes, as well as a Central American and Caribbean menu. Nobu, one of five worldwide Japanese-specialty restaurants from famed Nobu Matsuhisa, satisfies a different taste. For round-the-clock cuisine, Mr. Lucky's 24/7, is sure to ease your appetite even after a Vegas-all-nighter.
Vinyl, which opened in August 2012, is the intimate live entertainment venue at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, featuring a diversity of genres, including rock 'n' roll, jazz, blues, pop and even country.
The multifunctional room provides an intimate setting that puts the audience within an arm's reach of the performers.
The space, which is just under 7,000 square feet, can accommodate 650 guests. With a speakeasy atmosphere, Vinyl has an industrial look from its Chicago-common brick and cinderblock, distressed wood floors and an exposed, sky-high ceiling.
An elevated VIP section houses leather banquette seating and offers guests their own wait staff and an exclusive bar. The perimeter features a bar where guests can watch all the action. A state-of-the-art entertainment system offers high-definition screens on both sides of the main stage.