It's Vegas Baybee!
By Naughty Mickie  notymickie@earthlink.net
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.
Day 1
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 open mind.
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 hug.
Eat, home and to bed.
Day 2
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. Hmmm...
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 Ice.
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 floor
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 www.icelasvegas.com
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!
Day 3
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 laughter.
Day 4
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.....


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