Photo credit: Patty Fantasia
Hot August Nights at Town Square
The first annual Hot August Nights at Town Square kicked off at 4:00pm on August 20th featuring classic cars, games for the children and lots of food and drink. The event also offered some of the best live entertainment in town provided by a variety of bands playing many types of music. Sponsored by Cadillac of Las Vegas and 1800 Tequila, the proceeds benefited Opportunity Village and For Kids Now. As part of the silent auction, the Guitar Center donated a special guitar autographed by Cheap Trick along with tickets and back stage passes to their show at the Paris. Christopher Shaft of Florida, who has an autistic child and is considering a move to Las Vegas, was the lucky winner with a bid of $1500 for the package. Cadillac Ranch also contributed to the festivities by hosting an after party on Saturday the 21st.
Performers on Friday included: Matt Murphy and the Groove Factory, 3 Mile Radius, Gra Meadows, The Inhalers, Sweater Kitty and headliner Burnin’ Skye. On Saturday Lisa Gay and the Gentlemen of Thrill, Soulfish, Darren Michael, and the AK Vegas Band kicked things off before the Opportunity Village Band with Michael Coers and Geena Mattox took to the stage. The group, which is made up of both employees from the organization and volunteers had the audience singing along to many old favorites including “Respect”, “Mustang Sally” and “Ain’t No Sunshine” during their set. They also took a few minutes to speak about Opportunity Village explaining how the non profit organizations is 80% self funded and provides numerous music, arts and dance programs along with job training to the Las Vegas community.
The Sin City Surfers followed next with instrumentals like the James Bond theme and “Harlem Nocturne” and a tribute to the King. Coming straight from their gig at the Sahara, Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack came prepared to entertain the audience with a “taste of the show”. Aside from singing such familiar melodies as “My Romance”, there were special highlights including a medley of songs written by Ronald Miller, the father of Hackett’s wife Lisa Dawn Miller, and a number performed by her son Oliver Richman, who was adorably introduced by his baby sister Ashley.
For Saturday night’s grand finale Laurie Cook and The Heat teamed up with special guest Domenick Allen, the former lead vocalist for Foreigner, and they rocked it out. Alongside band members, drummer L.J. Harness, sax player Scott Webb, Mike Clark on the keys and guitarist Bob Carter, Laurie displayed her boundless energy and treated the crowd to her sultry vocals for over an hour. Among their selections were two of Cook’s favorites “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” and an original tune “A Warm Hand in a Cool World”. The Heat also performed some of Foreigner’s hits accompanied by Allen. As an added bonus Lisa Gay and Gra Meadows also joined in during the set.
The Event ended on Sunday the 22nd beginning with the Opportunity Village Art Auction and a visit from the cast of Menopause. More music from Blue Sky Mind, Michael Cagle, The Starlight Quartet, Lannie, Dianne Kallay, Skid Rodeo, Skye, Ebony and Ivory and headliner The Desert Outlaws rounded out the program. Three bands that were scheduled to appear, The Voices of Worship and Praise, Xoch and The Chaperones were no shows.
Aside from helping the two charities, promoter Pete D’Agostino, who owns a commercial real estate business, wanted to use the event as a showcase for many of the musicians struggling to find work in the Las Vegas area. He has already started making preparations for next summer and has heard from car clubs and vendors interested in participating.