For the members of Deja Vu, the weekly show and dance band that plays Wednesday nights at the South Point, nothing is more important than their fans, who they consider to be part of the family.
“You could be the greatest singer in the world,” said Dennis Wise, the band’s lead male singer. “But without your fans, you’re just a great singer. You’re nothing without your fans.”
Deja Vu plays at 6 p.m. Wednesdays at the South Point, 9777 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Admission is $5.
The band’s manager, Howie Newman, said Deja Vu has quite a following and sees about 300 people at each performance.
“I would say about 80 percent of the audience (are regulars),” Newman said. “Then we get walk-ins from people in the hotel.”
Newman said people start lining up to get in about 3:30 p.m.
From the time the band starts at 6 p.m. until it finishes, people are dancing, Newman said.
“As much as they think we are entertaining them, they entertain us,” Wise said. “They are great dancers and fun to watch.”
Even though the band caters to all people, playing anything from disco to Amy Winehouse, the majority of those in attendance are 40 or older.
The band consists of eight members: Julie Newman, Howie’s wife and a lead singer; Wise; Marcia Wise, Dennis’ wife and a lead singer; Frank Sgroi, a saxophone player; John Scott, the lead guitar; John Grieco, the keyboard player; Vernon Quarles, the bass player; and Hal Hayes, the drummer.
Most of the band members have been in the music industry for years. The Wise family has played at venues around the country.
“Some of us have played for 35 years,” Wise said. “For us, it’s not about touring or having a new CD. It’s about playing the music now.”
Julie Newman was a singer in a doo-wop band but wanted to expand the type of music she did.
“I was being pigeon-holed,” she said.
The Newmans and the Wises came up with the idea to start a new band. They already knew a guitarist and opened auditions to find a bass and keyboard player.
As it turns out, the two who walked in for the audition already had worked together.
“So I thought it would be a good idea,” Howie Newman said.
Because the group already had a working relationship, the formation of the new band was easy, Howie Newman said.
Even rehearsals, which are once a week, feel more like a family dinner.
“Marcia makes dinner for all of us,” Howie Newman said.
The band name was Julie Newman’s idea.
“It is because we do mostly oldies,” Howie Newman said. “When listening, people always say, ‘I’ve heard this before.’ “
The band has about 200 songs in its set list.
“You will never hear the same thing twice,” Howie Newman said. “The only reason you would is if it was requested. You know how with some bands, you know exactly what the next song will be? Not with us.”
Marcia Wise plans the set list each week.
If the band members are not singing, they are dancing.
“If someone asks Marcia to go out and dance, she will go in the audience and dance with them,” Howie Newman said.
Howie Newman said Deja Vu opened Red Rock Resort, 11011 W. Charleston Blvd., and played there for a while. The band has called the South Point its home for almost four years.
Even thought the band plans to stay at the South Point, Howie Newman said it does play other venues such as weddings or events.
“We have played in just about every casino on the Strip,” Howie Newman said.
For more information, visit dejavudanceband.com.
Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at email@example.com or 387-5201.