While no ground will be shaking or Richter scales out of whack, John Ascuaga’s Nugget will be throwing quite the New Year’s Eve bash, with special musical guests, the ’70s-incarnated R&B funk band Bootiequake.
The group belongs to Perfect World Entertainment, a company that represents different cover bands specializing in a variety of musical genres and period hits. Bootiequake members like to think of themselves as Perfect World’s “flagship” soul band, having played together for seven years.
Lead singer Steve Bensusen, or “Velvet” as he is called on stage (because he’s “smooth, baby!”), feels confident in his band’s vibe and works to distinguish his group from the disco era.
“Disco?” Velvet told the Sparks Tribune. “That’s Donna Summer. We’re KC and the Sunshine Band or Parliament Funkadelic. Like James Brown (part of their act) is still contemporary, he just changed the culture of music and you can hear that influence today. I think what we’re doing grabs a more youthful audience.”
And that’s just the start of it.
Velvet along with bass player Melvin Brannon (a.k.a. “Brutha July”), drummer Joey Goff (a.k.a. “Buckwild”) and lead guitar player Gary Miller (a.k.a. “Supa Fly”), come prepared with a little funk themselves.
Each member of Bootiequake takes the stage decked out in gold chains, velour pantsuits and even an afro or two, in an effort to tranform into their ’70s funk alter egos, Velvet said.
“Our approach really is as if you went back in time to the ’70s,” Velvet said. “We really try to come out as ’70s rock stars.”
Velvet admitted it can be hard at times to draw the line between cover band and actual band, explaining they take great care not to make their show comical at all.
“You could easily make this into a slapstick kind of thing,” Velvet said. “We’re a concert band though. The music is pretty true, but I take the liberty to change the vocal approach, so there is a sense of originality to it. In the end, though, people know these songs. As a party band, we’re the instrument that gets people off to have a great time.”
Velvet assures that there will be dancing, adding that a New Year’s bash would be incomplete without some funky moves and choreography. And being no rookies to the New Year’s party scene, the members of Bootiquake are looking forward to a crazy time.
“New Year’s is always a great gig,” Velvet said, explaining that they have performed as far away as Guam with even some Mardi Gras performances under their belt. “The most fun thing about it is that people are really, really ready to go.”
So ready to go, in fact, Velvet can recall some crazy New Year’s experiences that included a lot of women on stage, whip cream and even some popsicles.
“We have seen some crazy stuff,” Velvet said with a laugh. “But that’s just it. We do shows where there is such a party atmosphere. It’s not a spectacle, it’s an event. The crowd is part of it.”
The funk party starts at 9 p.m. Wednesday in the Celebrity Showroom and will last until 12:30 a.m. with free champagne and party favors at midnight. Tickets are $35 and are available for purchase by calling (800) 648-1177.