Sunday, April 27, 2008

Impress the honies, feed the beast.

Rochelle and I had one of our best Vegas dates ever last night, and the world should know, because this apparently hidden gem was not far out of Vegas and it made you feel half a world away. We attended the Indie Rock Wars at the MonteLago Village Resort at Lake Las Vegas and had a fabulous time courtesy of local radio station Mix 94.1. We even had VIP passes which meant, if we wanted to, we could sit 15 feet closer to the stage than where we already were. AND we could sit on picnic tables! Viva la Mix!

Our evening started with dinner for two at the Sonrisa Grill, which was warmly decorated with extremely friendly servers. Have you ever had your finicky little requests for your meal fall by the wayside, as servers get about 85 percent of what you wanted correct? By my tally, not one mistake was made.

Accomodated our seating request (check).
Bussboy and waiter were on our table like white on rice, waiting on us hand and foot, NEVER letting drinks or chips run out (check).
And the coup de gras...
Asked for no beans on my wife's dinner, and double beans on mine (check, and checkmate for Rochelle, if you know what I mean. Sorry sweets.)

It was truly amazing, and with a warm and friendly manner to boot, the service was beyond exceptional. Roch ordered a Chimichanga and I had the steak fajitas, and neither dish disappointed. Neither dish was a revolutionary reimagining, but they were done absolutely right. Rochelle was particularly enamored with her selection, and Mexican food isn't even her thing.

After full tummies, we took in the MonteLago village, a Vegas imagining of a Mediterranean Village, with a minimum on the kitschy overblown drama of the strip. Wait, scratch that, this Mediterranean Village did have a Mexican restaurant and an Irish pub, but the atmosphere was so laid back, we completely forgot about how out of place they were. If you're going for shopping, I'd say scrub this one from your list, because obviously, the Forum shops would demolish MonteLago Village in sheer number of shops as well as high end vendors, but here, you're actually outside, and not looking at painted ceilings. Ambience was the thing here, and for a romantic mood, you couldn't beat the lake view. If there are future events at Lake Las Vegas, count me in, as I cannot imagine a better venue to catch a couple of decent bands for a cheap price than the floating stage at Lake Las Vegas. Make a note, though, that bug spray will be your friend, as the skeeters started to come out near dusk, which ultimately led us to pack it in a bit early.

The evening was capped off by performances from a few indie bands, and the most amazing thing of all, Rochelle dug them! The rock scene isn't necessarily her thing, and yet we had a great time. The bands, for a bunch of guys trying to claw their way to contracts, were actually quite good, bordering on impressive. We caught a three song set from local band Left Standing, whose nifty onstage stunts made up for their somewhat predictable (but ultimately enjoyable) rock. We caught a sound test by the band The Speaks, and I could tell that they would have been the band I would have most enjoyed had we been able to stay longer. They had a bit of a harder edge, and they seemed to be a crowd favorite. Look for them to maybe make some noise in the industry(if they aren't already, I'm not the hipster I once pretended to be). We caught a few songs from Gone for Good, and they were also quite impressive. Imagine a Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Green Day fusion, and you have their sound. Their pink haired guitarist/singer had great stage presence, and any number of their songs would have been right at home on a re-imagined "Swingers" soundtrack. They made me feel like a punk rock lounge lizard.

With the options outside of taking dates to Station Casinos dwindling, it was nice to be outside by the lake, seemingly half a world away from the teeming humanity of Las Vegas, taking in a hidden gem.
(Special aside, these two young ladies were apparently contestants on a secret gameshow called "Guess How Hammered We Are!". They were like the spinning hippies at a Phish show, if those spinning hippies were on ten cans of Red Bull, and doing freak dancing instead. They were the true winners in this battle of the bands.)

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