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September 17, 2014

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From Mark OToole and Diceman to Courtney Love, Vinyl is Hard Rock Hotel’s versatile little joint

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Pat Gray/Erik Kabik Photography

A memorabilia display for Andrew Dice Clay is unveiled at The Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas on Tuesday, March 12, 2013.

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Courtney Love is the featured performer for Vinyl's first anniversary at the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas.

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Crooner Mark OToole performs at Vinyl at the Hard Rock Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012.

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Five years, 300 shows, many fans. This is Moksha.

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The Sin City Sinners are, from left, Brent Muscat, Rob Cournoyer, Todd Kerns and Mike Szuter.

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It's no joke: Tom Green and Steve-O hit Vinyl at Hard Rock Hotel.

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.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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