One of the more bizarre shows I've ever seen was Kelly Willis playing the lounge at Harrah's Casino in the suburbs of St. Louis. Willis was six months pregnant, propped up on an elevated stage that was literally on top of the bar in Harrah's cheesy "ultra-lounge" setting. The room was far from empty, but was nowhere near as packed as it would have been had Willis played a down-home, in-town venue like Blueberry Hill. The show was good, but what I'll remember about it wasn't that it was good, but that it was just a really weird place to see Kelly Wilils play.
So why would Willis play such a show? Simple: Casinos have the pockets to provide a lucrative guarantee to an artist who might not otherwise get one. Hence, Kathleen Edwards' upcoming (Jan. 14 & 15) two-night run at Snoqualmie Casino's "Sno Lounge." Edwards, who could last be seen locally playing a sensational set with John Doe at the Tractor a couple months back, will likely coax a hundred or so loyalists (Brickner, loosen up your hitchhiking thumb) across the bridge for her shows, but the midweek timing will discourage overnight stays at the spankin' new gaming mecca, and we're not sure the people of North Bend and Issaquah have been pining for her to play their side of the lake. Either way, it'll be a nice payday for Edwards, which is a great thing for a great artist. But it'll probably be pretty weird too.