The Spazmatics play tonight and again in the wee hours of Saturday at Red Hawk Casino. Are they really allowed to stay up that late?

Casinos offer knock-offs in form of tribute or brand bands

Published: Friday, Mar. 8, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4TICKET

One of the major movements in live entertainment over the past decade has been the rise of tribute bands.

The advocates and critics of such groups seem about as divided as House Republicans and Democrats, or as staunch as defenders of the Beatles or the Rolling Stones as the better band.

Jackson Rancheria in Jackson presents the latter onstage Saturday with a "shootout" between the two (Beatles portrayed by the band Abbey Road, Rolling Stones portrayed by the band Jumping Jack Flash).

"Beatles vs. Stones" features two groups that seem dedicated to as much authenticity as possible. There's a blacked-out tooth on the Keith Richards impersonator and a Brian Jones Vox Teardrop guitar. The Beatles, of course, sporting mop-tops and the music even includes flubs like Ringo's chorus beat in the wrong place in "All My Lovin'."

Audience reactions have been very positive for this show, like at Harrah's Tahoe just last week, and so far no soccer-style brawls have broken out. Maybe the fans are just too old. (7 p.m.; $40, $20 with card;

Those who hate tribute bands might strongly despise a more recent trend – the brand band. The Spazmatics, who appear at Red Hawk Casino near Placerville tonight and Saturday, are a perfect example. There are many editions of them, all of whom present the 1980s complete with horn-rimmed glasses, skinny ties, and a-ha songs.

Critics find it all too merchandised, but audiences don't much care. Their party atmosphere is terrific and the evening is reliably great fun. Besides, where else can you hear a live version of the theme from "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"? (10 tonight, then four hours later, at 2 a.m. Saturday; free;

Out and about

Few entertainers can trace much of their popularity to covers, but Jose Feliciano, who performs a rare date Saturday at Harrah's Tahoe, took on the Doors' "Light My Fire" and redefined it, doing the same later with Tommy Tucker's "Hi-Heel Sneakers."

One cover made him briefly notorious – that was of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in 1968 at a World Series game. Now, 45 years later, its decidedly Latin twist may be considered prescient.

Of course, the Puerto Rican guitarist and singer has scored on his own terms. "Felice Navidad" anyone? (7:30 p.m.; $49.50; Ticketmaster).

Feliciano, once a staple of casino showrooms, has been rare over the past decade. Gordon Lightfoot also is one of the few entertainers who can transform a giant performing space into a coffeehouse with songs like "If You Could Read My Mind" and his consummate ballading of "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." He's at Cache Creek in Brooks on Saturday. (8 p.m.; $55, $65, $75;


Boomtown, Reno – Events Center: Great White, March 30. (800) 648-3790.

Carson Valley Inn – Valley Ballroom: the Four Preps, March 29-30. Cabaret Lounge: After Dark, today-Saturday; Joe Buoanno, Sunday-Wednesday; Midnight Express, Thursday-March 16; Chili Sauce, March 21-23. (775) 782-9711.

Eldorado, Reno – Showroom: "Magique," Tuesdays-Sundays, through April 14; "Menopause the Musical," Tuesdays-Sundays, April 19-July 14. BuBinga Lounge: (800) 648-5966.

Harrah's Lake Tahoe – South Shore Room: Jose Feliciano, Saturday; Abbacadabra, March 23; the Reflections of Michael, March 30; Elvin Bishop, April 6; Local Natives, April 13. (800) 427-7247.

Harrah's Reno – Sammy's Showroom: the Four Tenors, Thursdays-Sundays, through May 28. The Stage @ the Zone: Atomika, today-Saturday; G Spot Boogie Band, next Friday-March 16; Two Steps Down, March 22-23; Apple Z, March 29-10. (800) 427-7247.

Harveys, Lake Tahoe – Scott Kennedy, Carlie and Doni, Friday-Sunday; Jackie Flynn and Kevin Flynn, Wednesday-March 17; Bob Gleib, March 20-24; Shayla Rivera, March 27-31. (800) 427-8397.

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

MontBleu Resort, Lake Tahoe – MontBleu Theatre: Rob Schneider, March 23. (888) 829-7630.

Silver Legacy, Reno – Grand Exposition Hall: Yes, Saturday. (800) 687-8733.

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