Casino Entertainment

Reggae rocks at casinos

Michael Franti performs in Napa earlier this year.
Michael Franti performs in Napa earlier this year. The Associated Press

Culture Club was, in the 1980s, groundbreaking in many ways. Its music was this mind-bending combination of soul and reggae and rock and roll. Lead singer Boy George was combination of a lot of things, too, his androgynous appearance and quizzical name gaining him and the band international recognition.

The band, formed in 1981, came to American shores as part of what has since been called the Second British Invasion, this one riding on a new wave. Culture Club brought in hits like “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” and “Time.” “Karma Chameleon” became sort of an anthem for the time, although Boy George was at first reluctant to record it, reportedly calling it “a kind of a campfire song, one of those sing-along things.” He was right, but people evidently enjoyed singing along very much.

Culture Club helped reduce sexual prejudices and break musical barriers. Culture Club appears Friday, Aug. 19, at Thunder Valley. (7 p.m.; $47.75-$179.75; thundervalleyresort.com)

It’s a good weekend for reggae all around. There are those touches in Culture Club’s music and there is Thunder Valley’s second annual Reggae Groove on Saturday, Aug. 20, this year featuring an impressive lineup including Michael Franti and Spearhead, Iration, Collie Buddz and Common Kings. (1 p.m.; $77.75-$149.75)

As for Franti, he’s on his own Friday, Aug. 19, at the MontBleu, a good room for him to establish the kind of atmosphere he likes, one in which he has multiple chances to go into the audience. He usually even has platforms built in the theater to allow him to play on them. It’s all part of a communal good feeling he tries to promote. (8 p.m.; $30-$45; Ticketmaster)

Reggae also prevails in a big way Saturday when the fourth annual Lake Tahoe Reggae Festival takes place at Hard Rock, featuring Pepper, Ky-Mani Marley, Israel Vibration, Don Carlos, Mike Love and a long list of bands to fill the day. This is an extremely popular festival and it’s family friendly with special kid pricing at $10. There are shade structures, a chill-out field, an art wall and vendor village. (4 p.m.; $40-$100; ticketfly.com)

There are more mellow goings-on with the soft rock and pop of the islands with Kalapana at Cache Creek on Saturday, Aug. 20. (8 p.m.; $39-$55; cachecreek.com)

The big concert in Reno this weekend is the appearance by Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Peppermill with fingers crossed all over town that this may herald more big entertainment in a hotel-casino that is definitely behind the popular Grand Sierra in that area. (8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20; $31-$381.50 for VIP package; peppermillreno.com)

And take advantage of the waning days of Valhalla’s summer season at Lake Tahoe with the exciting Molly’s Revenge, a Celtic band with all the requisite pipes, fiddles and whistles, Wednesday, Aug. 24. (7:30 p.m.; $20-$25; valhallatahoe.com)

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