Club review of Vegas, Renfrew Ferry, Glasgow
Author(s): Paul English
Copyright holder(s): Derek Stewart-Brown: on behalf of The Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail Ltd
VIVA Glas-Vegas! That's the monthly cry from a swingin' band of west coast clubbers in search of a life-affirming dance experience in Glasgow - where mums don't need to be left at the door.
For years, the soul-enriching voyage which is fast becoming THE event at the Renfrew Ferry, was exclusive to lucky punters in the capital city, who had 12 excuses a year to dress up in their best cocktail dresses/Italian suits/garish secondhand clobber, and dance along to Andy Williams and Shirley Bassey.
Desperate to get in on the act, bus-loads of gallus Glaswegians made the four-weekly pilgrimage to Edinburgh bedecked with feather boas, maracas and cowboy hats.
Now they don't have to. Vegas, you see, has gone west and it's arguably the best alternative club night in town.
Why, you ask? Let's begin.
You could easily take your mum. No, really. One cigar-puffing besuited good-time guy admitted he has to tear his 58-year-old mother off his arm once a month on Saturday nights, as he gets ready for his Vegas voyage.
"I wouldn't mind if she came, she'd love it," he grinned. "It's just that she doesn't know I smoke.
"I'm going to take her one night though. It's too good to miss."
The young Vegas crowd get off on pretending they're a wee bit older then they really are, swinging their hips to tunes they toddled around living room record players to when they were still in their nappies
The slightly older Vegas crowd - including those well into their '40s - relive nostalgia, recalling a time when The Love Boat was on every week.
They cruise along the Ferry boards to Jack Jones' theme from the series, howling out the chorus to Sweet Caroline from the bottom of their dodgy rhinestone boots.
And, as if those honey-sweet tunes weren't enough, every week there are famous people there too. Well, almost.
If the flyers are anything to believe then you would half expect to return home with your autograph book packed full of signatures from some of the smoothest swingers California ever sent to downtown Glasgow.
Instead, you'll encounter Frankie Sumatra, Dino Martini, Little Sammy Jnr and The King - all parodies of some of the greatest, glitzy names America has given the world of entertainment. (Other than the hysterical George W Bush, obviously.)
If you're lucky, the spangly-jacketed Dino Martini might even open the door of your taxi when you pull up outside.
And the special treatment carries on as you walk the gangplank (down past a clutch of fat cat's luxury yachts, out of the water for winter) onto the Ferry.
Okay, they might look like they're in the equivalent of the sailing boat's knackers yard, but the point is - for a second at least - they add to the mood of sheer extravagance.
Where else in Scotland do you have to walk past huge, expensive boats to get into a nightclub?
You can almost picture Frank Sinatra and his mob (pardon the expression) lounging about on these beauties during a cruise round the Bahamas. Depending on how you're attired, you could be in for another big surprise - a financial one. Yup, there are discounts for those who've made the effort.
And so many do. An average night at Vegas Goes West will witness cowboys and cowgirls, guys in suits, Afros and trilby hats, enough feather boas to run the length of the river, shades, maracas, cigarette holders, bunny girls with cleavage-hiking feather bustiers and scores of supremely spangly-jacketed men smoking cigars.
Add to that, the usual Vegas suspects including Lola Las Vegas, Bugsy Seagull, Senor Love Daddy and Viscount Bisquet and the realisation hits that Vegas Goes West is like no other Saturday night in town.
The last swinging riverside Saturday saw the old Ferry succumb to the cruel weather, with the toilets icing up and Frankie Sumatra's DJ set stalling during a momentary power freeze.
But even a hiccup like that couldn't dampen the mood. There really is a feel of "anything goes".
Last time around, there were even a gang of lads who applied their own post-modern twist to the Vegas legend, dressing up as the characters from the classic novel Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas.
There is a drawback, however. When you're dressed up like this, blending in at a pre-club venue will always be a tricky venture. Unless, of course, you're heading for your pre-club pina coladas in city centre '70s cheese joint Flares, where Afro wigs and Elvis quiffs are more than acceptable.
But make no mistake. Vegas is not Flares. All the venues have in common is a floor full of beery feathers at the end of the night.
Both places are "playing" at going back in time, but the difference is that Vegas is more realistic.
From the minute you've been greeted at the door, grabbed a fistful of Elvis Dollars, gambled them away at the Stardust Casino, won a beer or two for your efforts, and come up trumps at the limbo dancing competition, you will be wondering how it can possibly be that you are just five minutes' drive away from Govan.
The next voyage docks at the Renfrew Ferry tonight. So make sure you're there as the Clyde glimmers in the Vegas showlights, and glints to the sound of Sinatra's Moon River. Viva indeed.
Vegas Goes West, monthly @ The Renfrew Ferry, 0141 885 2123.
Price: Tickets, pounds 8.00, pounds 6.00 dressed in theme, from Ticketlink 0141 287 5511, The Ticket Centre, Candleriggs or Virgin Megastore, Buchanan Street.
Dress code: Don't be a bore. Head down to Glasgow second hand stores Flip, Kojac or Mr Ben and get yourself properly kitted out.
Music: Buster Poindexter, Sammy Davis Jnr, Elvis Presley and Neil Diamond to name but a few.
Other info: For Vegas mixes and some wicked cocktail recipes go to www.ren-com.com/vegas
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Club review of Vegas, Renfrew Ferry, Glasgow. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 February 2024, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1624.
"Club review of Vegas, Renfrew Ferry, Glasgow." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 23 February 2024. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1624.
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