The Last Vegas, has spent the previous three years opening for big name rock n’ rollers Motley Crue, AC/DC and Guns N’ Roses among others. The Chicago-area band consisting of Chad Cherry (vocals), Adam Arling (guitar), Nate Arling (drums), Johnny Wator (guitar) and Danny Smash (bass), is on a solo tour promoting their newest record Bad Decisions, released August 28, 2012.
On Tuesday, September 4, The Last Vegas made a stop in Des Moines, Iowa, at the Vaudeville Mews for a late night 21+ show. The Mews, as Des Moines locals call it, is a small, narrow venue and a bit of a dive bar with only a sheet separating the main stage from the backstage. While this is not a major arena like the boys have become accustomed to playing, they still seemed at home; sitting at the bar having drinks before the show and talking about eating too much salsa before coming to the venue.
In a town where most people work 8-5; it’s difficult to get an ‘over 21 crowd’ to a show at 11 p.m. on a Tuesday night coupled with the show’s limited publicity – it was primarily only listed on the venue’s website – making it no surprise when the event drew a small crowd.
The show started about 11:30p.m., with Nate Arling performing a drum solo. Cherry’s on stage stance was turned away from the crowd before he leaned back and screamed into the mic starting with the song Beat to Hell. Cherry was dressed in low-rise jeans and boots; a pair of sunglasses hanging off his spider emblem t-shirt and a gray jacket with a vertical row of skulls down one side; his dark black eyeliner smudged around both eyes. He has a pissed off rocker look and reminds you somewhat of a 70s-era Steven Tyler with his swagger and slow deliberate hand movements when he sings. A raccoon tail hung from Smash’s back pocket; a black hat tipped low over his eyes. It’s evident Smash and Cherry have the most flash and flare in the band, which isn’t a surprise considering they were both previously in Michigan-based glam band, The Nastys. Johnny Wator was absent from this show but Brian Wilkinson, from another Chicago-area band Black Actress, stepped in for the night’s performance.
Technical difficulties with the venue caused the band to cut their show short with only a half-hour set; finishing with I’m Bad. The sound issues were very obvious and the limited crowd forced the show to end quickly but on a better night The Last Vegas should have played Apologize, a popular hit from their last album Whatever Gets You Off.
Every band and/or musician has had a night when the sound is just not right or the crowd doesn’t show but Cherry and the rest of the band’s perseverance to play through and make the best out of the situation was apparent. With better planning, a more well thought out time slot and more concentrated publicity, the venue could have pulled in a larger crowd so this little ‘snafu’ doesn’t fall on the shoulders of The Last Vegas; the venue was unable to address sound issues, which is a problem musicians shouldn’t have to worry about during their set. If Des Moines is to bring The Last Vegas back and let them show us what one of their performances really looks like, the Mews or another venue will need to better accommodate them.