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Spin Doctors and Vanilla Ice headline Reno's annual brews and blues festival

The Spin Doctors headline the Great Eldorado BBQ, Brews and Blues festival.
The Spin Doctors headline the Great Eldorado BBQ, Brews and Blues festival. Eldorado Resort Casino

The Spin Doctors may be hold the record for the slowest inexorable climb of an album up the charts. In August of 1991 the band released "Pocket Full of Kryptonite" and then started touring steadily and racking up positive press notices. The next year sales increased and the album reached gold in September. It didn't stop there, finally going triple platinum in June of 1993, nearly two years after the first release. That was when it spun off two hit singles, "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" and the top radio song of that year, "Two Princes."

Goes to show predictability is never 100 percent in the music business. Who would guess, for instance, that a white rapper would top the pop charts as early as the 1990s, long before the likes of Eminem. Vanilla Ice did, and even if he has undergone more than his share of ridicule and parody since, "Ice Ice Baby" and "Play that Funky Music" are pivotal songs in music history.

Neither one of these artists is especially connected with blues, but both headline the 23rd annual Great Eldorado BBQ, Brews and Blues Festival which kicks off Friday and marks the official start of Reno's extremely popular special-events season. There are two stages for free entertainment outside the hotel and the one on Fourth Street will host Ice Friday night at 7:45 p.m. and the Spin Doctors at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. A wide variety of performers will take the stages the rest of the time, beginning at 3:30 Friday afternoon and noon on Saturday, including the U.S. Air Force Band Mobility, Shane Dwight, Maxx Cabello Jr., Buddy Emmer and Tommy Castro and the Painkillers.

Meanwhile ribs, smoked beef brisket, pulled pork and steak sandwiches will be sold out of Virginia Street booths, along with a few unexpected items like fried calamari and tacos. Over 50 microbrews will be served and one-day ($45) and two-day ($75) unlimited tasting packages are available. (

This weekend also sees the kick-off of Reno Rodeo, billed as "The Wildest and Richest Rodeo in the West," which may or may not be hyperbolic but it certainly ranks right up there with Vegas, Calgary and Cheyenne. There are performances every evening starting Saturday and running through June 23 (all at 7 p.m.). Tickets run from $35-$60 and the rodeo takes place in the Reno Livestock Events Center Arena on Wells Avenue one block off I-80. Just follow the carnival lights. (

Area showrooms are active this weekend to kick off summer:

Dane Cook shows up at Thunder Valley Friday (8 p.m.; $52.95-$99.95;;

Sublime soul and gospel reign at Cache Creek Friday with the Isley Brothers (8 p.m. $69-$89;;

Aaron Watson had his own slow climb to the top of the charts with "Outta Style" which took 50 weeks to hit Billboard's Top Ten Country chart, and he plays to promote his new album "Vaquero" at the Grand Sierra in Reno Saturday (8 p.m.; $20-$75;;

That would be the riotous Slightly Stoopid kicking off the Harveys Lake Tahoe Outdoor Summer Concert Series Friday (5 p.m.; $39.50; Ticketmaster or;

The Eagles may not be touring anymore but lead guitarist for 27 years Don Felder is and he's at the Atlantis in Reno Friday (8 p.m.; $45;;

And plan ahead to get Trampled by Turtles, a far more pleasant experience than it sounds, when the band plays the MontBleu next Thursday (8 p.m.; $32-$35; Ticketmaster).