Saturday, July 21, 2012 | 5 p.m.
Phat Pack sings, dances, jokes
A raking of the scene has turned up the following:
• David Perrico’s big band Pop Evolution is moving from its former haunt, South Point Showroom, to the Lounge at the Palms for a performance tonight. The show is at 11 p.m. (doors open at 10:30), and the cover is just $5.
Bandleader and trumpet ace Perrico (he loves being called that) has performed one of the great magic acts in Las Vegas by assembling 18 of the best musicians in town for these occasional big-band showcases. Scheduled to join the band onstage are Michael Grimm of Ovation at Green Valley Ranch and Access Showroom at Aliante Station and an “unbilled guest star.”
It’s anyone’s guess who this will be; it’s a total mystery to me (refrain).
Featured in Pop Evolution is vocalist Naomi Mauro, portrayer of Christina Aguilera in “American Superstars” at the Stratosphere for six years. Perrico and she first teamed about nine months ago after Perrico and Marley Taylor went splitsville.
Pop Evolution plays a wide array of music genres, covering “Circus” by Britney Spears, “Miss You” by the Rolling Stones, “Rollin’ in the Deep” by Adele, “Dr. Feelgood” by Motley Crue and “25 or 6 to 4” by Chicago (required material for any horn band worth its brass). It’s a great value and a great, late time.
• Bruce Ewing, co-owner of ReJavanate Coffee Lounge, poured robust French roast coffee in the days when I hung out there to make use of their free Wi-Fi. Now he's puttin’ on a show. Ewing is the founding member of the Phat Pack, which is performing Sunday at 2:30 and 7 p.m. at Cabaret Jazz in the Smith Center for the Performing Arts (tickets are $20 and $35; go to the Smith Center website for info).
Ewing also was in “Forever Plaid” for more than a decade and is a current member of the “Phantom -- the Las Vegas Spectacular” cast (or is until the show closes Sept. 2). Fellow “Phantom”-ites Ted Keegan and Randal Keith are the two other members of the song-and-dance team, with Joey Singer (a funny name for him, as he is the group’s pianist) performing as music director.
The Phat Pack numbers are somewhat choreographed, exceedingly funny and vocally well-delivered. It’s a quirky-good time for a genteel group of gents hoping to get booked in Las Vegas or elsewhere. The embedded YouTube clip gives a taste of the tasteful, or otherwise, Phat Pack performance.
Trailer for Brad Garrett's sitcom
• This month, Brad Garrett lured his friend and poker competitor Jason Alexander to Garrett’s club at MGM Grand. Alexander ducked through the drapes as Garrett talked about how “Everybody Loves Raymond” was No. 1 for “several years.”
“Which years were you No. 1?” Alexander said, appearing unexpectedly (at least by most in the sold-out club) onstage. “We were No. 1 all those years.”
Alexander was obviously referring to his run on “Seinfeld” as George Costanza. Alexander conceded that he is not a stand-up but performed about 10 minutes to support Garrett and his four-wall club venture at MGM Grand. Alexander’s appearance has changed significantly in the years since “Seinfeld” ended its run. His hair is filling in, or as he calls it, “my fake hair,” a mustache and sideburns. As he said when he walked out, “Yes, I’m a ’70s porn star!”
Garrett is cutting back his schedule at the club to film his new ABC sitcom “How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life,” set to debut in January at 8 p.m. Tuesdays. To fulfill his filming commitments, Garrett is performing just one night in August (on the 18th), September (22nd) and October (27th), with his next full week of dates Nov. 26-Dec. 2. His annual celebrity poker tournament is set for that Sept. 22 date, at MGM Grand, to benefit his Maximum Hope Foundation. The entry fee is $250, the grand prize is $10,000, and Ray Romano is set to lead the list of celebrity entries.
• Trina Johnson-Finn and Savannah Smith of “Vegas! The Show” at Saxe Theater in Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood joined Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns at the Palms on Monday night during a very special edition of “Healing at the Lounge.” Both are vocalists in “Vegas! The Show” and performed Johnson-Finn’s new single, the rocking “In Your Face.” Frank Klepacki produced the single, with top-notch Las Vegas musicians Nate Winfield, Phil Wigfall and Glen Colby backing Johnson-Finn on the song.
Before joining “Vegas! The Show,” Johnson-Finn was the center of a legal entanglement in Suriname, when she was jailed for 104 days in 2009 after a concert promoter failed to promote her Toni Braxton tribute show as a tribute rather than a show starring Braxton herself. Aside from her co-starring role in “Vegas! The Show,” Johnson-Finn performs across the country with the Family Stone, a funk and R&B act made up of original members of Sly & The Family Stone.
• Former KLAS Channel 8 morning anchor Dayna Roselli is back in broadcasting -- temporarily. She’s a DJ, filling in for the vacationing Lauren Michaels on KLUC 98.5-FM’s “Morning Zoo” show, joining co-host Chet Buchanan each morning next week. Roselli has started her stint already, this morning, and received clearance from KLAS Channel 8 to appear on the show so she won’t violate the non-compete clause in her contract with the station.
An eight-year member of the KLAS broadcast team, Roselli was let go by the Las Vegas CBS affiliate last month as the station shook up its morning broadcast lineup in an effort to boost ratings. Incoming anchors Cale Ramaker and Shauna Khorrami begin helming the 4 to 7 a.m. newscast July 30.
• Belated Happy Birthday wishes to the Trop’s resident flamethrower, the woman who calls herself “Black Sunshine,” Skye Dee Miles. Miles and her band, Skye 5, perform regularly at Ambhar Lounge, and her late-night shows are a popular draw for anyone looking for a healthy dose of R&B to end the evening. Her birthday event called for a throwback, Roaring ’20s theme, and also served as the launch of the hotel’s “Show Off Sundays” industry night for Las Vegas entertainers.
The night runs from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Skye’s act never disappoints. Her birthday show drew Joey Fatone, Johnson-Finn, "Vegas! The Show" tap-dance duo Sean and John Scott, local jazz great Michelle Johnson and Fifth Avenue (and fellow scenester) Jerry Jones to the stage. Those in the audience included Skye friend and fan and original member of the Supremes Mary Wilson.
If Mary Wilson is in the audience, you’re at pretty good lounge show.
To close the night, I ran into Sean (or John, couldn’t tell which) at Trop valet pickup. He said the act is working on a flip to incorporate into its performances at “Vegas! The Show.” He says fans like the act now, but there is room -- in the air -- for improvement. The goal is for fans to love the twin tappers, and a little more “wow” could push them over the edge.