Las Vegas Sun

December 21, 2014

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Columnist Jerry Fink: Golden Nugget an oasis for top lounge choice

If you're looking for a band to dance to, or simply to listen to, a perfect choice would be Perfect Choice.

For the next week one of Vegas' premier lounge groups will be at the Golden Nugget's Oasis Lounge, where it plays music of almost every variety beginning at about 8:30 p.m. and ending sometime after midnight. The band is off on Monday.

The band includes founder/vocalist/guitarist Louie Remolador, keyboardist Mar Manuel, vocalist Anjelica Mambaje, guitarist/vocalist Eddie Constantino, bass player Washington Ygot and drummer Bunny Marchadesch.

Remolador, a native of Cebu City, in central Philippines, was a popular studio musician before he came to America in 1986. Music has been his entire life. There was never any question about his future.

"It's the only thing I know," he said. "I have never done anything else. Music has always been good to me."

Remolador began playing the guitar at age 6, which wasn't unusual for him. Everyone in his family played the guitar.

"My grandfather played all of the stringed instruments," he said. "I probably got my talent from him. And my mom -- she was a wonderful singer."

For eight years he recorded with some of the top entertainers in the Philippines, and often played guitar in backup bands for such performers as Engelbert Humperdinck, Trini Lopez and Perry Como when they were in his country.

Como tried to get him to come to America in 1984.

"He liked the way I played," Remolador said. "At one of the rehearsals he said, 'Come here, boy.' He called me 'boy.' He asked me if I wanted to be his personal guitar player. I said no. I was scared. I didn't know anybody in the U.S."

But a couple of years later he made the trip, touring with Martin Nievera, one of the most popular singers in the Philippines and a recent Golden Nugget headliner.

Remolador settled in the San Francisco Bay Area for a year before deciding to move to Vegas, where he joined the Gigolo Band. After four years he quit and formed Boulevard, which stayed together for three years -- until Remolador decided to move to Alaska.

"I was curious," he said. "It was a good experience. I was in Anchorage for a year and a half."

in 1995 he returned to Vegas and formed Perfect Choice.

The six-piece band can't be categorized. They could be called a dance band, a show band, a jazz band, a rock band or almost any other kind of band, and it would be correct.

They are so versatile they read their audience and then decide which direction to go.

"If they're classic rock fans, so be it," said Remolador. "Here at the Golden Nugget, most people want to dance, so that's what we do. We play a lot of dance music."

Remolador describes his multitalented group of singers and musicians as "one of the few bands that are a real variety group. How often can you hear a band that can do everything?"

They do the Beach Boys, the Bee Gees, the Beatles -- a whole range of classic rock, disco, jazz.

"People ask, 'What are you guys?' " Remolador said. "I say, 'We're just trying to make a living.' "

Lounging around

Friends report the passing in San Diego on Aug. 13 of Pamela Whitner, a professional clown known as Flutterby. The 45-year-old entertainer was a native of Toledo, Ohio, but spent several years in San Diego before moving to Las Vegas in 1990, where she sold real estate when not performing at parties and other events. In 2002, Whitner was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.

The Cast Inc. will feature "An All-Star Salute to the Scintas" during its monthly luncheon Monday at the Greek Isles. Among entertainers who will perform are vocalist Mark Giovi and the Tommy Deering Trio. The Scintas are headliners at The Rio. Lunch is $22 for members of The Cast and $27 for non-members. For more information call 952-8000 or 737-5540.

Help T. Fox celebrate his fifth year at the Tropicana's Tropics Lounge starting at 8 p.m. Saturday. The popular vocalist/instrumentalist will be partying with friends and fans until at least midnight.

Ned Mills, one of Vegas' premier musicians and arrangers, filled in for vacationing Dennis Mellen at the City Lights Bistro's weekly jazz jam session Wednesday.

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