Las Vegas Sun

November 20, 2017

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Palms’ sign change is a sign of the times; Franky Perez soars with strings


John Katsilometes

The marquee at the Palms, absent the “Maloof Casino Resort” notation that was displayed prominently on the sign from its opening in November 2001 through May 2014.

The Kats Report Bureau at this writing is the sports book at Tropicana, where the L.A. Angels are — mamma mia! — putting on a thumping at Tampa Bay.

The game is being played at Tropicana Field. Later it will be Lady Gaga at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Gaga to the Lady claims to be a modern-day showgirl, performing not far from where one of the original showgirl shows was staged. That would be “Folies Bergere,” which closed in 2009 in the same theater where “Mamma Mia!” is playing out its too-brief run.

All roads, or maybe many roads, lead through the Trop tonight. The theater is beautiful, vast (with nearly 1,200 seats) and open for some sort of rockin’ activity. It’s too nice to sit empty for long, that much can be said.


• I spend more time at the Palms than to be deemed healthy, thanks to my friends in Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns, which blows up the Lounge each Monday night at 10:30. And when you spend so much time at the Palms, you take note of even the subtlest changes. Such as, the removal of the Maloof family name from the giant marquee facing Flamingo Road.

Yes, the Maloof reference is gone, as of May, I’m told by hotel brass. Ever since financial lenders partners TPG Opportunities Partners and Leonard Green & Partners to took over majority ownership in the hotel in July 2011, there was always a plan to have the sign edited to indicate it was no longer a Maloof Resort Casino, as the marquee claimed. That signage had been in place since the resort's 2001 opening under then-owner and founder George Maloof.

The change in the sign does not indicate a change in Maloof’s interest in the hotel. He remains a minority partner and a member of the resort’s board of directors. But the sign change is an indication of the major changes that the hotel has enacted — with mixed results — since Maloof ceded his authority in 2011. I’ll miss being reminded of the family who built the hotel, and I’ve also missed seeing George around the property. It is a way different vibe without running into him at the gift shop or in the sports book, which happened frequently in what we can now call the old days of the Palms.

• On the topic of the Palms, Bob Weir didn’t make it to the stage during the July 5 RatDog show at Pearl Concert Theater. Reports were, and are, that he was ill and could not perform. The hotel is brushing aside any unconfirmed reports that Weir simply failed to pace his partying at the pool that day, and instead says he was legitimately sick (“under the weather” was the official tweet). The entertainment team is looking forward to bringing the band — with Weir at the helm — back again. Full refunds have been offered to those ticketholders who were expecting to see the founding member of the Grateful Dead front the band.

• There was a time not so long ago when Franky Perez was one hurtin’ puppy. It is really bad, folks, when band members from Camp Freddy tell you that you are in no condition to play a rock show in a Sunset Strip nightclub. But Perez has stormed back as one of the busiest and best live acts in the city (his midnight speakeasy performance last weekend at Hank’s at Green Valley Ranch was one recent example of that). Thursday, he called with word that he has joined the all-cello — except for him, of course — rock ensemble Apocalyptica.

This lineup of Finnish string artists formed in 1993 and has worked with Gavin Rossdale, Dave Lombardo and Ville Valo on past projects. Perez is going to be the band’s full-time, solo singer on its upcoming 2015 release and accompanying world tour. “It’s a full-on rock band, all-cellos, and it is incredible,” says Perez, who really wanted this gig. “I am just overwhelmed by it.”

Perez’s most recent solo release was the 2013 album “Addiction,” addressing that component of his life. As Perez himself will tell you, as long as he steers clear of that condition, he gets to enjoy the success, record hit albums and tour the world. Pretty cool gig, really.

• On the topic of good things happening to good people, Kelly Clinton-Holmes is back for another stint as host of the Lipshtick comedy series at the Venetian’s Sands Showroom. The performances are co-headlined by Wendy Liebman and Caroline Rhea.

Clinton-Holmes brings a real Vegas quality to these shows, given her history in the city. She is the pride of Clark High, a longtime backing singer for Wayne Newton, and married to a pretty fair entertainer in his own right — Clint Holmes. Hopefully she will be that series’ permanent host. It’s a great touch.

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