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Casinos: Pablo Cruise sails into Harrah’s Tahoe

1970s-rooted Pablo Cruise remains a popular casino draw.
1970s-rooted Pablo Cruise remains a popular casino draw.

The name of the band Pablo Cruise implies music that is laid-back, even breezy. In short, mellow California pop. Even though, according to lore, the band was named for a fun-loving friend of founder Cory Lerios, it fits.

The comfortable feel of “Love Will Find a Way,” “Whatcha Gonna Do” and “A Place in the Sun” doesn’t hide the band’s excellent driving and unrelenting rock ’n’ roll musicianship.

Pablo Cruise, playing Harrah’s Tahoe on Saturday, Nov. 28, came into being in 1973 and was made up of members of two former San Francisco bands, Stoneground and It’s a Beautiful Day. Their first two albums made minor buzz, but the third, “A Place in the Sun,” and the fourth, “Worlds Away” (on which they were abetted by former Santana bassist Bruce Day), took off and they became a pop cultural giant of their time.

They were seemingly everywhere – on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand,” on “The Merv Griffin Show,” even at the Grand Ole Opry. At Sahara Tahoe in 1979 they broke Elvis Presley’s attendance record, and they were among the first rock bands to play the casinos. The group called it quits in 1986 but reunited in 2004. Showrooms are comfortable venues for them and their shows are always laced with a sense of fun. They never took themselves all that seriously, happy with their place in rock history. (7:30 p.m.; $40; Ticketmaster).

Thunder Valley hosts V101’s Holiday Jam on Saturday, Nov. 28, with Tony! Toni! Toné!, the R&B group out of Oakland best known for “Sons of Soul” in 1993; and Wreckz-N-Effect, whose song “Rump Shaker” was kept from the No. 1 spot in 1992 only by Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” (7:30 p.m.; $55.75-$59.75; thundervalleyresort.com)

The Christmas season begins in earnest Saturday, Nov. 28, at Cache Creek with some carols that are as old as the 12th century. The touring show “Christmas With the Celts,” includes Scottish and Irish music mixed with American classics played on Celtic instruments. Also featured will be Irish dancers and plenty of theatrics. (8 p.m.; $20-$35; cachecreek.com).

If you find yourself in Stateline this coming week, check out the annual Barton Health Festival of Trees and Lights at the MontBleu. It’s a fundraiser ($5) for the hospital with a senior special on Wednesday, Dec. 2, for those 55 and older, 2-4 p.m. (Wednesday-Sunday, Dec. 2-6, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Montbleu).

The Hard Rock brings seven-horn soul vibe to its Vinyl venue Friday, Nov. 27, with Mojo Green (9 p.m.; no cover) and a Van Halen tribute band Hot for Teacher Saturday, Nov. 28. (9 p.m.; no cover. hardrockcasinolaketahoe.com).

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