A swing through VegasVille, where a superstar tries out a new venue and a classic Vegas theater is buttressed once more:
MARTIN LANDS AT HARD ROCK
Martin Nievera sometimes seems like he’s making his way across a Las Vegas Monopoly board. Since his debut at the Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts in 2001, Nievera has played the Golden Nugget, the Steve Wyrick Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, Flamingo Las Vegas, Suncoast Showroom and M Resort.
At 7 p.m. Saturday, the showman from the Philippines takes on what might be his most ambitious booking yet: A concert at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel.
“I play all types of venues, and I just keep migrating back to Vegas,” says Nievera, who performs across the country and is a TV and recording superstar in his home country. “There are many, many Filipinos who have moved to Las Vegas, and they always find me.”
Nievera’s father, Bert, once sang for the famed Society of Seven variety act, which has frequently headlined smaller Vegas showrooms over the decades.
Nievera has occasionally performed with SoS, but is far better known as a solo headliner. His strongest residency run in Vegas was at Golden Nugget in the early-2000s, playing the showroom in the days before the hotel was purchased by Tim Poster and Tom Breitling (who used the property for the reality series “The Casino.”)
Nievera then struggled with an ill-timed gig at the then-Wyrick Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood in 2007. He was among a long line of headliners who couldn’t find an audience at the mall in the days before David Saxe took over the venue.
Tapping into his loyal local following, the 55-year-old Nievera packed M Pavilion at M Resort for a quartet of shows between April 2015 and October 2016. That the sort of fan loyalty Hard Rock Hotel officials hope will lead to a late push in sales at the venue, which typically favors rock residencies such as Guns N’ Roses, Def Leppard and (returning in May) Journey. A rock production, “Raiding the Rock Vault,” just opened in Vinyl music club.
“There’s no script, no pyro, just great music,” Nievera says. “For 90 minutes, you will see me as me.”
A PULSE AT HUNTRIDGE
Democrats Heidi Swank and Elliot Anderson nobly pitched a bill to the Nevada Assembly on Monday for $3 million in public funds to help salvage Huntridge Theater. The building, which is listed on the United States Register of Historic Places, is located on East Charleston Boulevard at Maryland Parkway. It opened in 1944, first as a movie theater and later becoming a rollicking live-music hall until it closed in 2004.
One of the acts that launched to fame there is The Killers — members of the band helped head up a Huntridge restoration effort about four years ago. That group, known as Huntridge Revival, lead a campaign that raised nearly $2 million for renovations; the estimated cost of the theater’s overhaul was at least $12 million.
The band and original Huntridge Revival co-founders (principally downtown Las Vegas visionaries and business officials Michael Cornthwaite and Joey Vanas) have since moved to other projects.
Robert Reynolds, manager of The Killers, confirmed Tuesday that the band has not yet been contacted by anyone looking to revive the save-the-Huntridge campaign. He added: “But that doesn’t mean we don’t remain hopeful and supportive that this historic venue is restored. The band performed there and we all grew up watching bands we loved to rock out on that stage. Our community shouldn’t let yet another city icon be torn down and replaced.”
One does not just amble into a downtown casino sports book and lay down a wager that could cost that casino $1 million. Someone in high authority needs to approve the bet, and at Golden Nugget that person is hotel owner Tilman Fertitta. He’s the one who authorized D Las Vegas owner (and Detroit native) Derek Stevens’ $12,500 bet on the Michigan Wolverines to win the NCAA Tournament.
The seventh-seeded Wolverines play No. 3 seed Oregon on Thursday in the Midwest Region semifinals in Kansas City.
Stevens usually wagers at Golden Nugget, and two years ago also made a bet that would have won $1 million: A $20,000 futures wager on Michigan State to win the NCAA Tournament. Stevens lost when the Spartans were dumped by Duke 81-61 in the Final Four.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. He also hosts “Kats! On The Radio” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on KUNV 91.5-FM and appears Wednesdays at 11 a.m. with Dayna Roselli on KTNV Channel 13. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.