Updated January 22, 2021 - 10:20 am
David Perrico’s Pop Strings Orchestra is living in a topsy-turvy universe. As a matter of practice, Pop Strings ensemble fires up a crowd to groove in tight quarters. Typically, it’s a heck of a hang. But not today.
Such dance party would disqualify the band from performing the type of show that has made it a hit at Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace.
“Our thing is packing the room and packing the dance floor,” Perrico said Thursday as he prepped charts for Pop Strings’ return to action, virtually, at 6 p.m. Pacific time Friday from The Space. “Do I think we’ll be back, eventually? Yes. I’m just not confident it will be at the Barge. I don’t know where we will end up.”
Pop Strings’ performance is available for $20 at Stellartickets.com. The show is backed by co-sponsor John Saksa and Findlay Cadillac, also a backer of Perrico’s shows at Myron’s Cabaret Jazz.
Friday’s show is the first stage show by Perrico’s band since March 14 at Westgate Cabaret, a no-cover-charge, midnight gig that had shown some promise just before the pandemic shutdown.
But the Barge is where Pop Strings had hosted a popular, no-cover party at 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The band’s uncertain future there is an indication the tightly designed, 160-seat venue will be slow to return. Either a glorified lounge or a small showroom, depending on interpretation, Cleopatra’s Barge has been the residence home of Wayne Newton and Dionne Warwick, and later, psychic Thomas John.
“With the shows they’ve had in there, especially with Dionne and Wayne, it seemed they were going with a straight-ticketed kind of thing,” Perrico said. “We could possibly turn over to a ticketed show, but it would be a little challenging for people who have seen us with no cover. Plus, I really like the open-lounge, Louis Prima scene.”
Perrico is working on updated arrangements for Friday’s show, including a new spin through Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now,” and some Queen classics the band hasn’t played live. The band’s regular singers, Lily Arce and Fletch Wolcott, are joined by Noybel Gorgoy and Serena Henry.
Gorgoy was a highlight in Paul Shaffer & The Shaf-Shifters show, for which Perrico served as music director. Henry has backed Smokey Robinson and Gladys Knight on tour.
Perrico says the band is prepared, generally speaking. But they aren’t rehearsing.
“We’re doin’ it live,” Perrico said. “This is a chance for people to unwind for a couple of hours. If it works out, we’ll make it a monthly thing.”
Great Moments In Social Media
Vegas headlining comic Thai Rivera posts a series of monologues on his @officialthairivera Instagram page. I first caught Rivera at Notoriety’s “Four Funny” comedy show and his set was terrific. In his IG Vlog posted Tuesday, Rivera recounts a conversation with fellow comic Quinn Dahle (also reliably a very funny comedian) at L.A. Comedy Club at the Strat.
Rivera said the two talked about “bad audiences.” They agreed there is such a thing as a bad audience for comedy, but also these crowds can be turned around by a seasoned comic.
“I can guarantee, you could be in the worst room ever, and if Dave Chappelle walks in, I highly doubt he’s going to have a bad set,” Rivera said. “Even though I have seen Bill Burr bomb before … I’m not talking (smack) about Bill Burr, but facts are facts. I have seen Bill Burr bomb before … it was Latino Night at the Laugh Factory, and they just weren’t really feeling him.” The whole stretch is a great, under-the-carriage look at stand-up comedy, and could probably win over any crowd.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.