Las Vegas Sun

September 26, 2022

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The Docksiders bring favorite yacht rock tunes to a new venue at the Rio

The Docksiders

Courtesy

The Docksiders set sail at the Rio this week.

If you think you don’t know yacht rock, you’re wrong. This makeshift musical genre begins with the most popular soft-rock hits of the 1970s and ’80s and expands outward in broad fashion, possibly encapsulating any song that sounds smooth and breezy but maintains enough rhythm and soul to get stuck in your head.

There aren’t necessarily yacht rock artists or albums, nor are fans and aficionados limited to a specific age group or demographic. It’s all about the song and how it makes you feel.

“Music like this and is classic and iconic and it’s not going anywhere,” said Kevin Sucher, producer and band leader of The Docksiders, a group that will launch what is being billed as Las Vegas’ first yacht rock residency at the Rio on Thursday. “The reason I think it works today is that it takes us back to a place and time that was a bit simpler and slower. When we’re onstage and we start a new song, it’s amazing to see the smiles and almost every song makes someone say, ‘I remember this,’ or ‘I love this song!’

“We’re coming out of one of the weirdest and darkest [times] with the pandemic, and now we’ve got this opportunity to create real happiness. This music brings that lighter, happy vibe.”

The Docksiders play familiar hits from a wild assortment of artists including Kenny Loggins, Steely Dan, Hall & Oates, Olivia Newton-John, Toto, Michael McDonald and more, mixing in different arrangements and tracks to distinguish one concert from the next. Sucher started the group four years ago in Milwaukee and has been touring the act consistently since then, taking advantage of the rising popularity of yacht rock.

“This music was classified very differently for decades, and this new classification has given sort of a new gloss to how masterful and crafted these amazing productions and performances are,” he said. “Without sounding like my dad did when I was a kid, music isn’t made today like it was made then … and to dig into these songs as a producer and performer is like living in a master class every night.”

Some of The Docksiders’ setlist regulars are “I Just Want To Be Your Everything” by Andy Gibb and “Peg” by Steely Dan, but the band likes introduce fun tracks like Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long” or ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” to shake things up. It is a show, after all, complete with costume changes, visual production elements and a full cast of musicians and singers.

And it’s taking place at The Duomo, an innovative new all-in-one entertainment venue, and produced by Pompey Entertainment, a new company created by former Caesars Entertainment executive Damian Costa. Located on the casino level in the Rio’s Masquerade Village, The Duomo is an arcade, bar, music hall, café and art gallery. It made its debut in June with the reopening of the long-running musical tribute show “Raiding the Rock Vault,” and more new programming is expected to be announced soon to join that and The Docksiders.

“It’s just a neat place to hang out and get some free wi-fi or a pizza or a margarita,” Costa said of the venue, which seats 286. “‘Rock Vault’ is doing very well, the audience reception is great and they love the room and the bar, and we just think there’s a place in the [Las Vegas entertainment] market to do things a little differently and have some fun, and have something for everyone.”

Costa helped launch big residencies from Usher and Donny Osmond while at Caesars, but he also ushered in smaller productions at intimate casino venues, and he’s trying to create something special at the Rio. It’s essential to maintain the full spectrum of entertainment that Vegas visitors have come to expect.

“The big stuff is always going to get bigger. The headlining spot in Las Vegas just keeps getting bigger,” he said. “But the opportunity to open a show in Las Vegas has always remained exactly what it is, and I just think we need to make sure we don’t forget those opportunities need to remain. That’s what the audience is always going to want.”

The Docksiders set sail at The Duomo five nights a week, at 6 p.m. Saturday and Monday through Thursday, with tickets starting at $36. Find more information at thedocksiders.com.