If "3 Redneck Tenors" offer a gimmick as instantly grasped as a frosty cold longneck, another harmony-based enterprise succeeded in spite of the challenges in explaining itself.
"It has always been a battle of whether the name defines us or whether we define the name," says Rene Ruiz, founder of the vocal quintet Toxic Audio.
The Orlando, Fla.-based group first visited Las Vegas three years ago in the same Luxor theater now hosting the Rednecks. This time, the quintet hopes to stay as a year-round attraction, marking its official opening today at the V Theater in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.
"It’s always been about word of mouth. People see the show and they try to describe it," Ruiz says.
One stab at describing the group is to call it a cross between Manhattan Transfer and The Second City; a capella harmony delivered with the spirit of improv comedy and lots of sound effects. (The sound engineer is considered a sixth member.)
Ruiz formed with other singers who were working separate jobs in Orlando theme parks. Their 10-year history includes an off-Broadway show, "Loudmouth."
The harmonies get a modern lift from the manic acrobatics and human beat-box rhythms of Paul Sperrazza, who anchors the Las Vegas cast. Ruiz will perform the first few months, and other members will rotate between a touring quintet and the Las Vegas company.
Ruiz calls the local sit-down "an opportunity to dream a little bigger, a chance to play with the look and the lighting of the show that we haven’t really had since we were off-Broadway."
"We’re never really standing still," he says.