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December 21, 2014

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Star-spangled banner yet waves for a host of Las Vegas performers

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John Katsilometes

Joshua Bell and Frankie Moreno rehearse at the Hollywood Bowl.

Updated Friday, July 11, 2014 | 2:37 a.m.

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Clint Holmes and friends rehearse for “To Ella With Love” at the Hollywood Bowl on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES — The Kats Report Bureau at the moment is the lounge at Loews Hollywood Hotel, where for the past three days I have been hanging with Frankie Moreno and Clint Holmes. In an odd piece of scheduling, the two Las Vegas headliners have performed on consecutive nights at the Hollywood Bowl.

Moreno was with his friend, violin virtuoso Joshua Bell, at the “Joshua & Friends” performance Tuesday night, joining Bell once more for “Eleanor Rigby.” Holmes followed Wednesday night in “To Ella With Love,” the “Jazz at the Bowl Series” salute to Ella Fitzgerald. Holmes was featured in a four-song set, performing duets with Dee Dee Bridgewater and Patti Austin and performing “It Don’t Mean a Thing” solo.

As expected, these artists delivered masterful performances on consecutive nights. Neither had performed at the Hollywood Bowl before this week. Stories are upcoming on each event (and Holmes' recording session at Capitol Records' Studio A), but suffice to say these two performers represented the city brilliantly. It was a wonderful one-two punch from two of the best you will see in VegasVille, or anywhere.

Onward.

David Perrico's Pop Evolution

Vocalist Savannah Smith performs in David Perrico's Pop Evolution, an 18-piece band featuring musicians from various Las Vegas productions, inside the showroom at the Stratosphere, July 2, 2013. Launch slideshow »

• On the topic of the Smith Center, where Holmes is a headliner, David Perrico’s Pop Evolution show band is booked at Cabaret Jazz on Aug. 19 following his successful performance June 24. It was not a sold-out show, but ticket sales were brisk enough to nearly fill the room and merit a return for Perrico’s 22-piece band. He hopes to make Cabaret Jazz the band’s home haunt.

Perrico also is performing Friday night in what is, for him, an uncommon venue: Cox Pavilion at UNLV. He is playing the national anthem on the first day of the NBA Summer League tournament before the Cavs-Bucks game at 5 p.m.. Perrico has played the anthem at sporting events before, citing Youngstown State University football games when the team was coached by current Ohio State coach Jim Tressel. Perrico is from Youngstown (so he'll be forever Youngstown, right?), and he agrees with what is particularly advantageous about playing the anthem on trumpet rather than singing: You don’t forget the words.

Many other Las Vegas artists are performing the anthem during the tournament. Among them are Michelle Johnson, Johnson's Desert Angels choir, Lorena Peril (a popular anthem singer for years at major sporting events), 2014 Miss Nevada Ellie Smith, Savannah Smith of "Vegas! The Show" and a relatively new arrival to the Vegas entertainment scene, vocalist Chadwick Johnson.

• On the topic of anthem singers, Amanda Avila, a finalist on Season 4 of “American Idol” in 2005, is singing the national anthem before Saturday night’s “Honor & Glory” fight card topped by Canelo Alvarez vs. Erislandy Lara at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Then she is hustling over to Excalibur, where she is subbing as the singer for venerable Las Vegas rock cover band Venus Rising, now playing twice a week and long a popular draw on Fremont Street. They play the Lounge from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. We’re calling it “The 15,000 to 50 Experience.”

• From the “My Favorite Memories Are Blackouts” department, the old Sand Dollar Lounge (more recently known as Bar 702) is under new ownership and is celebrating its revival with a series of performances over five nights starting with Chris Zemba & The Late Shift Band tonight at 10. New owner Brooke Alexander, with a boost from her parents Bart and Valerie, is now in charge and has refreshed the famous live-music haunt that was long ago home of John Earl & The Boogie Man Band and other bluesy lineups. On Friday, it’s The Stoney Curtis Band, Saturday The Moanin’ Black Snakes, Sunday The Chris Tofield Band and Monday The Rockie Brown Band (which has generated a strong following during its Monday night performances).

• There has yet to be any formal word on the future of “Vegas Nocturne” in the face of reports from inside the show that the production is to move out of Rose. Rabbit. Lie. soon. I’m told that it is still business as usual for the show at the Cosmopolitan. I’m also told that the cast is prepped to bug out of that hotel for an undisclosed venue.

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

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