Voodoo lounge


David Pollock talks to Vegas as they gear up for another high swinging night at Ocean Terminal with special guests Royal Crown Revue

(Picture: Royal Crown Revue)

Where many clubs appear on the scene hoping to make a big splash, Edinburgh-based swing institution Vegas is safe in the knowledge that its long-established reputation for fabulousness will have the crowds flocking no matter what. With regular dates already up and running over two cities, the Vegas bandwagon shows no sign of stopping any time soon. Indeed, the team behind it are looking into expanding yet further afield, and starting their own venue in their home city.

‘It’s going pretty well,’ says Ewan McNaught (aka Vegas top dog Frankie Sumatra) with a note of understatement. ‘We’re still enjoying doing it, the crowds that come along are all having a good time, and it’s great to be part of a club that’s lasted so long. It’s going to be our tenth anniversary in September - we’ll be putting on a big party to celebrate some time around October.’

Regular Vegas dates are held monthly at Ego in Edinburgh and The Ferry in Glasgow, while this month sees another of the club’s semi-regular extravaganzas taking place at Edinburgh’s Ocean Terminal. While there are no plans to call a halt to any of these residencies, the big news is that Vegas will soon be opening their own Edinburgh joint.

‘It’s something we’ve been trying to do for a while,’ says McNaught, ‘and we’re hoping to do it around the time of the Edinburgh Festival. We’re opening a bar and restaurant with a live music element called The Voodoo Rooms. It’s a joint venture with the guys who run [fashionable Edinburgh bars] Dragonfly and The Villager - they’ve been friends of mine for a while. It’s going to be upstairs at the old Café Royal, and we’ll be spending a bit of money giving it a complete refurb, because we want to restore it to its former glory and give it a bit of a contemporary twist too.’

While Edinburgh will have to hold its breath until summer for this new venue, the Vegas experience is ongoing at a club near you. The upcoming Ocean Terminal event features a special appearance by Los Angeles’ Royal Crown Revue, forerunners of the swing revival alongside the likes of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, who have, until now, only played one UK date (at the Reading Festival). It’s quite a coup for Vegas to lure them over the Atlantic.

‘They’re one of the only bands of that type we haven’t managed to book at Vegas,’ says McNaught, ‘so we really wanted to get them. I’d tried a few years back, but they weren’t sure that coming over for just one club date was viable, so I’ve managed to grab them for gigs in Edinburgh and London now that they have other European dates lined up. I’ve never seen them myself, but concert footage and reports from people who have suggest they’re going to be great. The Counsellors, who are a very good local lounge outfit, will be supporting.’

With a new semi-regular night starting in Aberdeen and plans to revisit old residencies in London and New York, it looks like Vegas is all set to start its tenth year even more fabulously than ever.

Vegas with Royal Crown Revue and The Counsellors is at Ocean Terminal, Edinburgh, Sat 12 May. There will also be a regular Vegas night at The Ferry, Glasgow, Sat 19 May.


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