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How did Tommy Rocker become an ‘emerging’ act?

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Tommy Rocker at Tommy Rocker’s.
Photo: John Katsilometes

During one of the pre-opening media tours of Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, PR practitioner Alex Acuna led our group into a still-dusty Book & Stage and informed us that the concept for booking acts was to seek emerging artists. Catch them before they get famous. And in its infancy, the hotel has followed that ideal, as such rising bands as Best Coast and Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears have rocked the hybrid music club/sportsbook.

And playing Book & Stage March 21-22 is Tommy Rocker and Conched Out.

Hmmm.

Now, Rocker has many qualities. He's an astute businessman, a generally congenial person and a dependably fun-loving singer and guitarist. But emerging? As an artist? Not really. The only thing Tommy Rocker emerges from is his vintage, cherry red 1970 V.W. bus. Conched Out is essentially a good-time band that bashes out party rock in the spirit of Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefer Band.

These guys are not in line for a record contract. A street party, sure. Anywhere there's a conga line full of Corona-quaffing Parrot Heads eager to snake through a parking lot, Rocker is ready to perform. So what's happening with this gig at Book & Stage?

As Rocker noted in a quick e-mail just hours ago, he and Conched Out were hired by the hotel because -- in a deserving twist of fate -- The Cosmopolitan parking lot is located just two blocks from Rocker's club on Dean Martin Drive, just south of The Rio. A couple of cartwheels, and you're there. Thus, the business has been given a needed boost by what Rocker describes as "tons of casino employees."

That could mean, say, four employees, depending on the size of the employees. But that parking lot locale has allowed Rocker to forge a relationship with many Cosmopolitan staffers. They love his act, he loves ... well, work.

As Rocker says of his debut at Cosmopolitan, "We're going to draw as many locals as we can those nights." It shouldn't be too hard. Nope. As they say, just pull in and park it.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at twitter.com/JohnnyKats.

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