Mel Shields: Styx and more to rock in Reno

Published: Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 9TICKET

There are many rock bands that perform for charity or support various causes. Styx makes it local. This band calls it "Rock to the Rescue."

"There's always a demand for memorabilia," said vocalist and Styx keyboardist Lawrence Gowan. "So, every performance, we auction something off, usually a signed guitar, and the money goes to a local charity. It's always local, wherever we play."

And Styx plays everywhere. Gowan called from the beginning of Styx's annual tour, which started last month in New Orleans, where the band has begun a tour each of the last five years. It is one of the most popular touring bands in the world, and its music has been heard on "South Park," "Freaks and Geeks" and even a Volkswagen commercial ("Mr. Roboto").

"We do about 100 shows a year," said Gowan, "and the size of the venue does not matter. We like to play the more intimate theaters like the House of Blues where we are now, and we like the big arenas like the Tokyo Bowl and the Super Bowl. We're comfortable anywhere."

They'll play the Silver Legacy in Reno tonight in what the club calls the Grande Exposition Hall, a large downstairs convention space converted for concerts. Gowan sums up the venue with the comment that "it's not a great room, but it's a great atmosphere the room generates.

"It's in-your-face with the audience."

The band, known for the hits "Come Sail Away," "Babe" and "Too Much Time on My Hands" and albums such as "Pieces of Eight" (1978) and "Paradise Theater" (1981), has toured more since its regrouping in 1997 than it ever did when it was at the apex of a recording career.

The fans just keep coming "and they just keep invigorating us. We become just as addicted as the audience when we perform, and we always end with a great sense of accomplishment," Gowan said.

"It never becomes routine. There's always the unexpected. After all, I play on this spinning piano, and it's spun off, and I've fallen off, and I've whacked my head.

"That pleases the audience even more." (8 p.m.; $57.50, $72.50; silverlegacy.com).

More rock in the offing

The folks at Red Hawk Casino in Placerville say their cabaret entertainment is always popular, but that things get really jammed when Frank Hannon performs. No wonder.

Hannon offers a rare opportunity to see someone who has been so prominent in a small venue for free. He is best-known as co-founder of Tesla. Recently, he has also been performing solo "acoustic" shows featuring his music from albums "Gypsy Highway" and the recent "Six-String Soldiers."

As Sacramento-born Hannon grew up, he learned to play guitar from his mother, along with the drums and the organ. He also clearly listened to a wide variety of music because, even though he is most closely associated with heavy rock, he performs some storytelling music directly related to folk traditions personified by Bob Dylan or John Denver.

Hannon has performed with Dickey Betts, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pat Travers and Night Ranger, among many. That's another enticement to attend the more freestyle performances found in cabarets. You never know who might just happen to join the proceedings (today and Saturday; 10 p.m. Free; www.redhawkcasino.com).

• The Who brings the "Quadrophenia and More" tour to the Reno Events Center on Saturday. The show, in which the band performs the entire legendary "Quadrophenia" album and adds unannounced extra treats, has been a consistent big-seller since its start. (7 p.m.; $59.50, $129.50; Ticketmaster).

• The Dani Paige Band, most often heard live as opener for the likes of George Thorogood and Pat Benatar, will perform music from their latest album "Far From Here" at Harrah's Reno in the Zone tonight and Saturday (9 p.m.; Free)

• The name sounds like some action that has occurred at a poker table, but Ben Folds Five is actually named after founder and leader Ben Folds. A lot of people will be folding Saturday in the poker room outside Harrah's Tahoe South Shore Room, but the alternative rock trio, whose newest album is "The Sounds of the Life of the Mind," will be playing out its hand. (7:30 p.m.; $49.50; Ticketmaster).


CASINO GUIDE

Boomtown, Reno – Events Center: Al Stewart, Feb. 23. (800) 648-3790.

Cal Neva Resort – Frank Sinatra Showroom: Andre Nickatina, Smoov-E, Feb. 16. (800) 233-5551.

Carson Valley Inn – Cabaret Lounge: the McBride Brothers, today-Saturday; Vinny Messina, Monday-Tuesday; the Henhouse Prowlers, Wednesday; Carolyn Dolan and Friends, Thursday-Feb. 9. (775) 782-9711.

Eldorado, Reno – Showroom: "Magique," Tuesdays-Sundays, through April 14. (800) 648-5966.

Harrah's Lake Tahoe – South Shore Room: Ben Folds Five, Saturday. (800) 427-7247.

Harrah's Reno –Sammy's Showroom: The Magic of Eli Kerr, Fridays-Saturdays, through Feb. 23. The Stage @ the Zone: Dani Page Band, today-Saturday; Steel Breeze, next Friday-Feb. 9. (800) 427-7247.

Harveys, Lake Tahoe – Improv: Bobby Collins, Avi Liberman, today-Sunday; Bret Ernst, Frazer Smith, Wednesday-Feb. 10. (800) 427-8397.

Horizon, Lake Tahoe –Illusion Fusion starring Alex Ramon, Thursdays-Tuesdays. (775) 588-6211.

MontBleu Resort, Lake Tahoe – MontBleu Theatre: Taboo (Black Eyed Peas), next Friday. (888) 829-7630.

Silver Legacy, Reno – Grand Exposition Hall: Styx, today; Lewis Black, next Friday. (800) 687-8733.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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