Las Vegas Sun

November 18, 2017

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John Katsilometes interviews a member of the high-energy act Zowie Bowie, the soon-to-be headliner at Red Rock Resort

Is it the name of a person - David Bowie's son or a singer who once fronted an '80s novelty act? Is it the name of a quirky-edgy band that has ruled over Scottsdale, Ariz., for nearly five years? Is it The Next Big Thing in Vegas entertainment?

Or is it more a state of mind?

Zowie Bowie is all of those.

The high-energy act fronted by Chris Phillips and Marley Taylor that samples a music assortment ranging from Liza Minnelli to Young Jeezy will be the regular headliners at Red Rock Resort when it opens April 18. Zowie Bowie will perform Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at the Flintstonian-titled Rocks Lounge.

"We are beyond excited," said Phillips, who sounded that way during a phone interview from Scottsdale on Monday. "The whole point and basis of our show, mainly, is really positive energy ... It's more like a motivational experience than a concert."

The band has forged a strong following at the Barcelona Restaurant in Scottsdale and became known in Las Vegas after performing at corporate events.

The "Zowie Bowie" title has nothing to do with the Zowie Bowie who is the son of David Bowie; it was a name Phillips used several years ago in an '80s novelty band that happened to play a large complement of Bowie songs (unlike the band, the name stuck).

The idea for Phillips and Taylor - who not only front the band, but are engaged (to each other) - is to incorporate quick blasts of such contemporary artists as 50 Cent, Gwen Stefani, Madonna and Beyonce into an act that also hints of nostalgia.

"We want to maintain that spirit of Las Vegas - my goal as a kid was to have the hottest show in Vegas, not to go to Hollywood and make records and tour," Phillips said. "So on Saturdays we'll have a big band, we'll be in a tux and gown and it will look like a Rat Pack-influenced vintage Vegas show with a lot of banter. Then we'll transition into a more contemporary show, with hip-hop and pop and what you'd see on 'Total Request Live' on MTV."

It was noted that such a shift in character requires a lot of confidence.

"Yeah," Phillips agreed, "and a lot of Crown Royal."


Brown and serve: Word on the street - which is a figure of speech, actually - is that current Golden Nugget headliner Gordie Brown will find his way to a major headlining gig on the Strip after he leaves downtown on March 31. An announcement about his future is due this week ...

Our man Jerry: The latest on Jerry Lewis, who at a soon-to-be-80 (a mark he hits March 16) is not slowing down, is that he is due to film an episode of "Law & Order: SVU" near the end of this month ...

Laughing all the way to the implosion: A few days ago a giant cheese wheel arrived at the Sun offices. It was delivered in jest by the Imperial Palace to Business Editor Jeff Simpson in response to a column Simpson wrote saying that Circus Circus and Imperial Palace were the "two cheesiest" properties on the Strip.

Sensing a trend, allow me to make an unflattering comparison between Imperial Palace and a large container of chocolate-covered peanut clusters ...

Invisible by two: Anyone who has seen Mac King's show at Harrah's might have found Ben Stiller's green-suited "invisibility" bit at the Oscars to be oddly familiar. For years King has been performing a similar routine known as the "Cloak of Invisibility," where he dons a yellow raincoat to become "invisible" ...

Big laugh-off: Comedy news broke all over the Strip on Monday afternoon. For fans of jokes ripped straight from today's headlines, Flamingo headliner George Wallace will be joined by fellow stand-up vet David Brenner. The dual-headliner appearances (you won't know from night to night who will perform first) will start April 4 and run through April 29.

At Excalibur, Louie Anderson announced an indefinite run beginning March 17. Anderson has been performing off and on in Las Vegas for 25 years ...

Submission possible: The 2006 CineVegas Film Festival Director of Programming Trevor Groth announced Monday it is accepting submissions until April 21. All films are required to be submitted online and must be finished in either the 2005 or 2006 calendar year. Also, for the first time, CineVegas is awarding cash prizes to two films - $10,000 to the winner of the Grand Jury Award for Feature Film and $1,000 for the Grand Jury Award for Best Short.

The list of films accepted will be announced in early May. The eighth annual festival runs June 9-17 at the Palms; Dennis Hopper is again the chairman of the festival's creative advisory board ...

In the mix: At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday master mixologists Dale DeGroff and Francesco LaFranconi will help kick off the opening of the Museum of the American Cocktail at Commander's Palace inside the Aladdin. For 90 minutes the mixologists (no longer mere bartenders, or even "tar-benders") will conduct an exhibition of their famous cocktail-mixing expertise.

The museum showcases vintage bottles, barware and memorabilia. It is scheduled to be open for about a year ...

On a Rolls: Still trying to decipher precisely what this implies, but the plate BNKEPT was spotted the other day on a dark green Rolls Royce.