Where: 7220 F St.
When: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday through Saturday; closed Sundays
Cost: No cover
Info: anthonyssteakhouse.com/ozone; 402-331-7575
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Um, yes, a 17-piece band plays Monday nights at the Ozone Lounge! Where have you been for the past four years?
Michael “Gooch” Gurciullo's Las Vegas Big Band indeed numbered 17 players, I personally counted, making them the largest lounge act I've ever seen, by far. It's a crescendo of an evening when you're faced with the full blast of such orchestrated musical force. Big Band means big sound, and the ensemble's professionalism makes it easy to see why it's become a fixture at Ozone, the lounge side of Anthony's Steakhouse.
Gooch himself has a notable musical history, including a stint as a featured soloist with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and a run at Clint Eastwood's Mission Ranch in Carmel, Calif. His Las Vegas credibility came from touring with Wayne Newton's orchestra, plus building his first Las Vegas Big Band. The Omaha native returned to his home state in 2008 to settle down — and has since settled in at the Ozone.
The Big Band does draw a mix of younger and older folks, from 20-somethings to those who have been enjoying jazz standards longer than the young'uns have been alive. The common thread in the audience is a drive to dance, an ageless and timeless activity. The floor had couples on it most of the evening, moving in sync, regardless of whether the band was playing.
The set list includes a sampling of original material and classics, slow and subtle tunes and big and brassy numbers. Plus, if you hustle in this Monday, the last show before the holiday, you'll be treated to some seasonal tunes as well. And, while 17 band members make for a lot of musicians to get to know, Gooch makes a point to introduce his players and announce solo spotlights when its each player's time to shine.
Monday with the Big Band kicks off Ozone's six nights of live music, with genres on a weekly rotation. Tuesdays are for acoustic sounds, and Wednesdays are nostalgia nights, featuring '60s era music. Smooth jazz flows on Thursdays, and Friday and Saturday nights are for good ol' rock 'n' roll. Shows kick off between 6:30 and 7 p.m. on weeknights and 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. With all those genres and never a cover charge, if you can't find something you like, you might not like music.
The Ozone offers plenty of positives as a live music venue. The sound is balanced, there is plenty of space to sit, stand or dance, and the lighting is comfortably dimmed. A full bar stands at the ready and boasts a cleverly named menu of specialty martinis. Dude-O-Politan anyone? It's made with Three Olives Dude vodka, a hooch formulated to taste Mountain Dew-esque. It's the darndest thing.
Oh, and you can feast from either the Ozone's casual bar menu or the Steakhouse offerings. Dinner and show. It's a decent way to spend an evening.
Coming up at the Ozone: Chad Stoner performs a Groove Christmas tonight for you smooth jazz lovers out there. Pop cover bands are on deck for the weekend, featuring Taxi Driver on Friday and the female-fronted eNVy on Saturday.