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October 23, 2014

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K.C. & The Sunshine Band isn’t shaking up its hit-heavy setlist

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Chris Weeks

K.C. & The Sunshine Band is still shakin’ it after 40 years.

Harry Wayne Casey doesn’t do obscure.

“It’s all about the hits,” he says.

Shedding the obscurity about who Harry Wayne Casey is, he is K.C. of K.C. & The Sunshine Band.

The frontman of one of the hottest bands of the disco era is bringing the latest incarnation of the act to the M Resort’s M Pavilion (this night of entertainment is brought to you by the letter M) at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $29.50, $39.50 and $49.50 and available at the M Resort website.

For this performance, do not count on K.C. dusting off lesser-known songs as a way to “shift gears.” It’ll be a disco-rama, similar to a Boogie Knights performance, except this is the real thing.

“We’re doing no obscure cuts,” K.C. says during a phone interview. “We’ll be doing the hits and bits of covers from some other songs from the ’70s.”

Though he continues to keep a busy recording and production schedule (with a new two-CD package of original songs and famous covers in the offing), K.C. gets it when facing a live audience. Expect a full blast of dance music, powered by such hits as “Get Down Tonight,” “Boogie Shoes,” “That’s The Way (I Like It),” “Shake Your Booty,” “I’m Your Boogie,” “Keep It Comin’ Love” and (the rare ballad) “Please Don’t Go.”

It’s ample boogie and a whole lotta shakin’ for K.C., who at age 62 still plays weekend dates across the country.

More nuggets from the Boogie Man:

• K.C. & The Sunshine Band’s first Vegas gig was at Las Vegas Convention Center in the early 1970s. “We weren’t in the casinos yet, but we did spend several weeks a year at the Sahara,” K.C. says. “I was sorry to see it close. It’s interesting to see the transformation Las Vegas has made. You used to have to dress up just to go into the casinos, but not anymore.”

• He always stops when he hears one of his hits played in public. “There’s always that kind of proud moment, the feeling of like, ‘Wow, that’s my music playing,' ” he says. “I look around, and the people around me don’t know I’m K.C. It’s actually kind of fun.”

• His new release, "Feeling You," is due out in December and is split between classic covers and originals. “I’ve always thrown cover versions into the show, maybe ‘Say’ by John Mayer or ‘True Colors’ by Cyndi Lauper. I started doing a new version of ‘I Hear a Symphony,’ ‘Stand By Me,’ and I had all these songs going in the show,” he says. “I was going to cut an all-'60s album, starting with those two. I added 15 songs to the two, plus 17 originals. Now we have 34 songs, and it’s fun. We’ve been having a blast doing it.”

• He still considers himself a "Top 40 person": “The Katy Perry stuff she’s done, I like, and I like some random stuff — what’s in the Top 10 on iTunes. It’s not Billboard anymore,” he says. “I like ‘Artpop’ from Lady Gaga. That’s kind of interesting.”

• If he has to name a favorite, he names his first hit: “I’ve always said ‘Get Down Tonight’ is my favorite just because it was my first big hit,” he says. “They all have special meaning to me. I never look at them individually. It’s really like taking in my whole life, and separating the songs is a very hard thing for me to do. If you can imagine having, like, 10 kids and being asked which you like best, that’s what it’s like."

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

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