The summer entertainment season in Northern Nevada and California casinos seems suddenly thrust upon us.
▪ There is an unofficial opening of the season in Reno: the immensely popular Eldorado BBQ, Brews & Blues Festival, now in its 20th year. It takes up the bulk of Virginia Street Friday (1-8 p.m.) and Saturday (11 a.m. to 8 p.m.), and features some high-powered headliners with Smash Mouth (6:45 p.m.) and Toad the Wet Sprocket (5 p.m.) rounding out the festivities Saturday. (Free entry)
Dave Mason brings his Traffic Jam back to Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Saturday. The South Shore Room has been a favorite venue for Mason and his fans, and he’s known to mix it up musically, playing a few surprises, like a rousing version of the surfer guitar hit “Broken Arrow.” (7:30 p.m. $55; Ticketmaster)
▪ Thunder Valley Casino Resort has two powerful nights this weekend, starting Friday night with blues player George Thorogood, who has always stood by his credo he needs to be at his best every night as many in his audiences have never seen him and probably won’t again. So, he goes full bore with “Bad to the Bone” (never seeming to tire of it) and other songs. Listen especially for “One Bourbon, One Scotch.”
Joining Thorogood are Brian Setzer (and Rockabilly Riot), another stage veteran, master of his genre and a swing great. Guitarist Doug Knowles opens. (7 p.m.; $39, $50, $79, $88, $160; thundervalleyresort.com)
▪ An entirely different genre of music takes over Thunder Valley Saturday with the annual Summer Jam, featuring hip-hop, funk, soul, and pop all in the capable hands of Bell Blu Devoe (“Poison”), BLACKstreet (“No Diggity”), and Naughty by Nature (“Feel Me Flow”). (6 p.m.; $43, $55, $73, $90, $150)
At Jackson Rancheria, Salt-N-Pepa plays Saturday. Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandy “Pepa” Denton revolutionized hip-hop, opening its doors to women with songs such as “Push It,” “Let’s Talk About Sex” and “Shoop.” (7 p.m.; $30, $40, $50; jacksoncasino.com)
With the recent release of “Love and Mercy,” which recounts the the origins of “Pet Sounds,” the Beach Boys have re-entered American consciousness. The current configuration of the band plays Cache Creek Saturday. (4 and 7:30 p.m.; $75, $89; cachecreek.com)