Harmik as Tom Jones

The eyes have it. They bulge, roll and leer.

The mouth has it, too. Harmik, the Tom Jones impersonator, explains the key to the pop legend’s essence is looking like "the cat that ate the canary."

"It’s a confidence you can’t describe," he says.

Harmik’s confidence booster is looking as much like the real Jones as any other human is ever likely to. Let’s take the high road and skip the whole "Tom Jones: Sock or no sock?" debate. Let’s just say that from the chin up it’s an amazing resemblance, from the lascivious grin to the crow’s feet around his eyes.

The ears aren’t so easily fooled into thinking Harmik’s tribute at the Four Queens is the real deal. But there are good reasons for rolling with it.

For one, the new enterprise inside the young Canyon Club is the best show bargain in town. Right now, a $29.95 ticket includes a rib-eye dinner that on its own is a deal at $6.99.

Locals who say show prices confine them to suburban casinos should swoop in to discover the relaxed vibe of the underpromoted Canyon Club. It’s operated by a House of Blues co-founder but is more like the private House of Blues Foundation Room than the concert hall at Mandalay Bay.

Still, Harmik Kazanchian’s long-form tribute is more narrow in appeal than the usual "Legends"-style variety format. And no other local tribute shares the odd twist of the real Tom Jones still being active on the Strip, performing at the MGM Grand several times per year (and for a $75 ticket that’s still accessible compared to Celine or Elton).

If "The Voice" wasn’t still knocking ’em dead at 67, the younger Harmik could be held to a lower standard. But on this night, he lacked the booming baritone that still seems to come easy to the real Jones. He cradled the melodramatic choruses to "Delilah" and "It Looks Like I’ll Never Fall in Love Again" instead of belting the stuffing out of them.

(After the show, Harmik explained he had fried his voice a couple of nights prior when his monitor amps failed, and he had to get an anti-inflammatory shot. It’s tough to knock him on the singing because he didn’t try to keep the reviewer away. Especially when the reviewer called at the last minute after another show had cry-babied its way out of an appraisal, claiming it didn’t have its best people that night. And folks think this job is so easy.)

Harmik’s seven-piece band with a trio of horns is a luxury at these ticket prices. But again, the proximity of the real deal makes for tough comparisons to Jones’ dynamic stage band and live show. It’s admirable that Harmik tackles the cheeky "Sex Bomb" or "Tom Jones International" — European hits known only by hard-core fans in the States — but Harmik’s band plays them like ’60s arrangements; no samples or deep bass.

And while the real Jones can walk out and sing whatever he feels like, Harmik takes to overnarrating for the benefit of the marginally acquainted: "In 1966, I made this album called …"

Fortunately, the bulk of it isn’t such a dry history lesson. Harmik summons middle-age women of all ages to grab ’em some chest hair and dance along with fun throw downs such as "Hard to Handle," "Get Ready" and Prince’s "Kiss."

Harmik also is great at staying in character and mimicking the Tomcat’s Welsh lilt closely enough to deliver the randy entendres. In fact, it says a lot about the set’s fun quotient to note there’s only a couple of serious songs — "Green, Green Grass of Home," the obligatory "My Way" — to get in the way.

The real Jones may have earned a lion-in-winter kind of respect and credibility in recent years. But there’s no need for the tribute act to copy that just yet.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas art exhibit
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas gallery exhibit
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with blooming jasmine tea
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with jasmine tea
Benny the Ice Skating Dog
Benny is a Las Vegas Labrador who was rescued by former pro skater Cheryl Del Sanyo, and trained to ice skate. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
Throw a better dinner party
Cash appears at Baseball Winter Meetings
Lights FC mascot Cash plays the electronic drums at the EZ Inflatables’ booth on Tuesday at the Baseball Winter Meetings trade show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
5 albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
1. Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. 2. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. 3. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. 4. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” 5. Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like