Friday, April 18, 2014

Viva Las Vegas day one

It's my first time in Las Vegas and it's everything I expected: brash, flashy, sleazy, fun - Blackpool on steroids. The Viva Las Vegas rockabilly weekend is part music festival, part fashion show and part car show. But judging by the first day it's a lot of fun.
Most of the bands on day one were new to me, but the quality was high. Pick of the bunch was Stompy Jones, a six piece jump blues outfit from San Francisco with a good vocalist and excellent horn section, whose material ranged from Tiny Bradshaw to swamp pop. Excellent stuff. First act was another good band, the Royal Rhythmaires, with a girl singer with a great voice who sounded almost like Little Richard at times. They appeared at last year's Rhythm Riot but I missed them then. I won't make the same mistake again. Another good female singer was Carmen Lee who covers country as well as rockabilly and.writes her own material too. Also new to me were Morry Sochat and the Special 20s who had a varied set including Rock This Joint, Shake Your Hips and Choo Choo Ch Boogie. The TequliaWorms turned out to be a Chicano surf band from California who were highly proficient but unoriginal.
Next came Jamie 'Bubba J' Faulkner, a Brit with an excellent rockabilly style and voice whose backing band included another Brit Carl Sonny Leyland. Jamie's numbers included I'm A Broken Man, I Feel Blue and Gonna Get Gone. Recommended. The Hula Girls proved to be a Hawaiian band with a steel guitar and two hula girls who added a bit of interest. Finally it was the turn of Kim Lenz, a good looking redhead with a rocking style and strong voice and personality who I first saw at the Rockin' Race in February. She's very popular and rightly so.
There are bigger names coming up in the next few days but this was a great start to what promises to be a stunning festival. Some of the women in the audience are gorgeously dressed so visually the whole festival is excellent too. Photos will appear on the blog when I get home.
Nick Cobban.


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