ON THE ROAD
My often-times partner-in-crime Valerie Liebe had been saving
her pennies and announced that it was finally time to book
another trip to Las Vegas. I'm not much of a gambler, but I like
to party and people-watch, so I agreed a little vacation would
do me good. We decided to take four days this time and I kept
watching the date nearing with anticipation. Then Valerie
dropped it on me.
"Hey, by the way, Brides of Destruction is going to be in
concert on the Friday night we get to Vegas," she practically
sang into the phone. "Should I buy some tickets?"
How could I refuse? I know how she adores their frontman London
and I am equally impressed by guitarist Tracii's talents. It
would be a good time. Thus the pact was sealed.
Cadillac packed, Valerie, her son, Bobby, and I were good to go.
We decided to get breakfast on the road in Barstow at Quigley's,
which is always decent and has good coffee. Our meal was
uneventful, except for the two ribbing me about my chili
omelette breakfast. Yes, I was going to stay in the backseat,
but that was a choice of comfort, not a gastronomic decision.
We rolled into downtown Las Vegas a bit after lunchtime and went
to Four Queens. This hotel would be the hub of our trip. The
room was clean and neat and offered a nice view of the city and
distant desert. We unpacked and then headed out to Fremont
Street to wander the shops and casinos in a casual unhurried
manner. Ahhh, vacation and it's Vegas baybee!
Finally it was time to head out to the Cheyenne Saloon for the
concert. We drove, leaving the lights of the city behind us for
some creepy dark roads, and finally spotted the venue in the
corner of a shopping mall. No way, this place was tiny! We asked
the doorguy and he assured us it was the right spot, so in we
went and we swiftly entered the neighborhood bar. There was a
stage, not as generous as most, but still larger than quite a
few I've been on-- even in Hollyweird, and a dance floor, a few
tables, pool tables, a jukebox and a long long bar. Things
weren't looking so good. Valerie kept repeating "It looked
bigger on the Internet," as if trying to make it so. But she's a
good sport and we decided to drown our disappointment with
something from the bar-- beers for me and Bobby and a mixed
treat for Valerie.
Now if we hadn't had enough lumps, next we learned that Adema
had canceled the rest of the tour. OK, they're having band
member problems. I was put out because I sooo enjoyed them at
the Galaxy recently. Then to top this off, Chelsea Smiles had to
cancel as well. Oh, give me a break! This meant only Brides of
Destruction and some local bands. I valiantly decided to keep an
Cynical View was up first and their talent was immediately
apparent-- the trio were each masters of their respective
instruments and worked well together to put forth some good
grooves. They added interest to what could be typical hard-core
with some intense bass work and very gifted guitar solos. The
only negative here is that many of the songs seemed to just stop
that come to a completed end. I remarked on this to their
frontman later and he was a little surprised. This must just be
their way of writing-- it's not a bad thing, but I kept wanting
closure. The lyrics were good too, as were the vocals.
Next up was Hard 8, whose members looked like they hailed from
three different bands, but when they began to play it was
musical magic. The vocalist has his own groove, which ranged
from singing to almost-rapping with all kinds of intrigue in
between. I was also impressed with the drummer, as he didn't
hold anything back and took some well-chosen chances instead of
giving it the standard straight-up. Hard 8 told me that they're
planning to tour and will stop in Hollyweird. I say watch for
them and catch their shows.
The last local lickers were Broken End. They were good at what
they did, but nothing to write home about, as our scene here is
inundated with their take on hard-core. They were obvious Vegas
favorites, though, as the crowd just loved them.
Brides of Destruction were superb-- but then, I didn't expect
anything less. They offered up a nice selection of material from
both of their albums and threw in some L.A. Guns for good
measure. On stage, they worked together like a well-oiled
machine, precise, sharp, energetic, yet not stale or stoic. They
love what they do and it flowed out into the crowd and radiated
back. London's vocals were on target and his attitude with the
audience was wonderful. The crowd was pushed up to the edge of
the stage and he would frequently shake someone's hand or sing
close to your face. Bassist Scott seemed toned down, but it was
purely due to the size of the stage. He had to leave his usual
jumping around and settle for letting his energy burst through
his grins and fingers. Drummer Scott was having a great time and
quite comfortable behind his set. And then there was Tracii,
taking his guitar talents and pushing them to 11.
After the show we had an opportunity to meet BOD and they were
the nicest guys. They let fans take photos with them, signed
autographs and chatted with us like old friends. Tracii and I
had a great time sparring over whether he was a "better guitar
player in his prime" (Tracii's take) or "so confident and
relaxed now that your playing is better than ever" (my
contention). We finally resolved our debate with a photo and a
Eat, home and to bed.
It was afternoon by the time we arose. We had something to eat
and then hit the casino. Valerie won $50 playing the Wheel of
Fortune slot machine, while I settled for drinks and cheering
her on. Bobby gambled here and there, but mostly stuck on my
side of the fence-- drinking and watching.
We had decided that tonight we were going to go to Ice, a
popular nightclub in Vegas, but we needed more info. After a
phone call filled with questions, we found ourselves on the
guest list for the venue which didn't open until 11:30 p.m. What
to wear was my biggest dilemma. I had packed vacation stuff, not
really club gear, plus I didn't know what the venue's groove
was.... I settled on a flame-patterned wrap skirt, a red blouse
and my red heels. When we arrived at Ice I realized that I may
have dressed a little off the mark, as most of the women were in
pants and tops and many went so far as to wear comfy shoes.
Inside, Ice was really well laid out. As you enter the front
door you quickly see steps leading down to the hip-hop floor.
It's a no-nonsense spot with a DJ box overlooking a simple wood
floor. Further into the venue there was a long bar and various
spaces with couches, chairs and tables. We learned that you
could reserve an area to watch the dancers in the techno room--
including the pole-dancing go-go girls, but we just wanted to
move, which was what we did-- dancing for most of our time at
The floor was very nice in the techno room and the walls boasted
TV screens. The DJ booth was above again and there were lights
and fog to add to the fun. The best part, though, was
occasionally there would be a long strong blast of cold air
through the room and a thick fog would unfurl from floor to
ceiling. When this happened you could barely see your hands in
front of you for about 30 seconds. It instantly cooled us off
and was one of the neatest experiences I've ever had on a dance
The last touch at Ice was the bar area next to the techno room.
It had pink bubble cut-outs splashed along the walls, a bar and
a clutch of couches around low tables. The best feature of this
room is that you could actually hold a conversation, as it was
just enough to the side of the dance floor and had just enough
wall to keep the sound at bay. My overall impression of Ice is
that if you like to dance it is a must-go. Learn more at
Ice closes around 4:30 a.m. and we left a tad early, stopping
for a bite to eat. Bobby kept on about how he wanted tacos or
burritos, but there was none to be had. Four Queens did,
however, offer a decent taco salad, so that became our option.
During the meal, I got a little weird and did my impression of
"South Park's" Cartman in the Jennifer Lopez "taco flavored
kisses" episode. I put some lipstick on my hand, drew on some
long eyelashes with a pen and launched into my rendition of the
little song and banter. ... I feel sorry for our waitress, she
must have thought we were nuts. But it was fun!
Was it 2 or 3 p.m.? Who cares. We were up and moving and ready
to take a trip to the Strip. We caught Treasure Island's
"Sirens" show, checked out the white tiger at the Mirage and
wandered in and out of a few other casinos along the way. Before
heading back to our home base, we shopped at the $10 boutique in
TI, where I found the funkiest hat-- a leopard print floppy
thing that I still adore. Bobby and Valerie gave me some grief
over my purchase after I insisted on wearing it for the rest of
the night, but I didn't care because I got plenty of "cool hat"
comments from boys passing by.
Back on Fremont we decided our goal was to get drunk and check
out every single casino and shop on the street. Did I mention
that there's nothing quite like "drunk shopping"? It's amazing
how much fun you can have! The bar outside Fitzgerald's was
bustling with two drinkmasters who juggled as they poured and
mixed the most yummy concoctions. We drank, gambled, drank,
shopped, drank, people-watched, you get the idea....
Our biggest laugh came when Valerie just couldn't resist the
Damn Lumberjack Beavers slot machine. It was too funny! The main
characters you want to spin for are named Buck, Chuck and Harry
and they "talk" to you when they come up. You could also spin
Tale Magazine and get a special bonus featuring cheesecake girl
beavers PInky, Trixie and Ophelia. This was just too much...
And for the rest of our trip the mere utterance of "damn
beavers" by someone in our group would send us into a burst of
Pack 'em up, move 'em out. One more round of the casinos and a
stop at Starbuck's and we were homebound. We stopped at Peggy
Sue's a themed diner for lunch. The place is cool with lots of
movie memorabilia and a maze of different rooms, each with a
unique theme. We chose the soda fountain with perky waitresses
and sundae flower arrangements. The food was good as always. If
you need a break on the road, this be the place.
Finally home, I left the unpacking sit, changed into my jammies
and tucked myself into bed. What a great trip! Yeah, that's how
it always is when it's Vegas baybee! .... Damn beavers.....