Entertainment & Life

Musical offerings from smooth R&B to geeky

Keith Sweat
Keith Sweat Courtesy of the artist

He could have played appropriately this last Valentine’s Day, but a week and a half later isn’t bad. Keith Sweat’s smooth R&B carries romantic weight all the time, even if he does have one of the most unromantic names in music. He plays Cache Creek tonight.

Sweat’s early career recalls a now-largely-forgotten label, Vintertainment. Its five-year existence helped build early hip-hop from 1985-1990, and in 1987 Sweat released his debut solo album on the label, “Make It Last Forever,” which sold 3 million copies. He also helped launch a great short period of sound called “new jack swing” with a single from the album, “I Want Her.”

Sweat was hot, so to speak, and his follow-up albums, “I’ll Give All My Love to You” and “Keep It Comin’,” did very well also. In the time since, he discovered the group Silk; produced their debut album “Surrender”; continued recording himself (“Twisted” and “Nobody” were among his biggest hits); discovered the group Ol’ Skool; and formed a legendary R&B group, LSG, with Gerald Levert and Johnny Gill. “Still in the Game,” his sixth album (which featured Snoop Dogg) in 1998, declared his persistence, but Sweat’s recording peak was in the past.

Keith Sweat has recorded 17 albums and been named Favorite Male R&B/Soul Artist by the American Music Awards (1997) along with having earned three other nominations in that category. (9 p.m.; $55-$105; cachecreek.com)

There are not many bands out there who love being called geeky and being associated with a musical decade often the butt of jokes. But the Spazmatics carry on anyhow and are so successful there are many troupes (15 at one count), extremely popular across the country. One of them shows up at the MontBleu Saturday for an “’80s Dance Party’ in the Blu Nightclub.

Horn-rimmed glasses, often taped in the middle, skinny ties, plaid pants, sometimes short shorts, even an occasional pocket protector make up the costumes. Songs by Depeche Mode, Violent Femmes, Oingo Boingo, and A-Ha make up just part of the repertory. (9 p.m.; $20 today, $25 Saturday; Ticketmaster)

John Craigie is set to play with ALO at Crystal Bay in the Crown Room Saturday as part of their “Tour D’Amour XII.” The singer-storyteller (think troubadour, Todd Snider, Arlo Guthrie), who has been called “the love child of John Prine and Mitch Hedberg,” is anticipating his March 16 release of a live album “Opening for Steinbeck.” Not sure about Steinbeck but Craigie did spend a lot of 2017 opening for Jack Johnson. (9 p.m.; $22 today, $27 Saturday; devildogshows.com)

Tonight at Harrah’s Tahoe is one of the most seminal and pivotal acts in magic history, Penn and Teller. The concept of uniting a mostly nonstop talker with a completely mute partner (only onstage) willing to subject himself to all kinds of humiliations and terrors is unparalleled, and its impact has been tremendous. They don’t care how long it takes to set up an illusion, allowing for extensive digressions along the way; they do not cringe from “geek magic”; and they continually astound. Fans of classic magic should never miss them. (7:30 p.m.; $89.50; Ticketmaster)

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