Nick and Sophie Tweed-Simmons
River Rock Casino Lulu's Lounge
Nov. 26, 2011
Who would have thought that the offspring of Playboy Playmate Shannon Tweed and KISS demon Gene Simmons would hit the stage at the River Rock Casino as a viable lounge act? Nick and Sophie Tweed-Simmons performed four shows this weekend in Richmond, BC in their official singing debut. The duo, who performed for about an hour each, played classics mostly dating from the 40s to 60s from such artists as Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, The Jackson 5 and Cab Calloway.
Backed by Vancouver’s Joe Fernandes Band with guest keyboardist Teddy “Zig Zag” Andreadis (Guns N’ Roses, Alice Cooper and others), the music was hot and enjoyable on its own, so the addition of Nick and Sophie put the show over the top. The capacity crowds (for all four shows) were enthusiastic and welcoming to the Tweed-Simmons siblings, who were also filming parts of the shows for the next season of Gene Simmons Family Jewels. Gene was also close by during all four shows and looked as proud as a peacock. For the most part, the fans spent more time getting into the music and cheering for Nick and Sophie than they did oogling Gene – and after nearly 40 years of KISS – that in itself is an accomplishment.
Nick started all the shows breaking out with a traditional version of Sway, the 1954 Dean Martin hit recently recorded by Michael Buble. His growly voice suited the song and immediately gave the audience a taste of what the show was going to be like – a lot of older lounge music in the tradition of the masters. And Vancouver welcomed it with open arms and cheers.
A little nervous at times, the 6 foot 8 inch tall, 22 year old, was great with the crowd and even laughed when someone from the audience asked him to take his socks off. “Is that what the kids are into nowadays,” he quickly replied. Nick also looked a tiny bit uncomfortable wearing a suit and tie on stage for an hour, but it gave him some style as he sang these older hits.
The dashing young man is at his best singing upbeat rockers and shines on his take of The Doors Love hit Me Two Times. Fans at the final show also got the addition of Jet’s Are You Gonna Be My Girl, which also suited Nick to a tee. Fans of The Doors and The Tea Party will love Nick’s poetic, deep, story-telling voice.
Sophie is a sweet singer and beautiful young lady, who is very soft and charismatic. She comes across like Etta James with a whisper of Marilyn Monroe’s playfulness. She opened her portion of the show with a powerful, country-tinted version of the Etta James classic Something’s Got A Hold On Me.
Sophie, who appeared a bit more nervous than Nick, was great at changing the tempo throughout the show, ranging from upbeat numbers like I Want You Back from the Jackson 5 and Fever from Peggy Lee, to slower jams like Cry Me A River (Ella Fitzgerald) and the song she sang at her parents televised wedding, At Last (Etta James). She was absolutely at her best with the audience participation song Hi De Ho from Cab Calloway. The song was spiced up and re-branded Hi De Ho Girl.
The duo joined forces at the end for Down In Mexico from The Coasters and an impromptu performance of Elvis' Hound Dog on the last of the four shows.
Nick and Sophie should have made their parents proud with this solid debut, which was an enormous crowd pleaser. While they did seem a bit nervous, especially at first, it didn’t affect the overall show, which was full of great old songs, a killer band and two singers who we’ve seen grow up on our television screens each season. A little more seasoning and this will be a show that could be taken around North American casinos performing to capacity crowds wherever it goes.
Cheers to River Rock’s Howard Blank, who saw the duo perform at Gene and Shannon’s wedding and invited them to the casino to make their debut. He selected a great band for them and Lulu’s provided the perfect backdrop for their singing debut.
Nick Tweed-Simmons (basic set list):
Sway (Dean Martin)
Unchain My Heart (Ray Charles)
Little Sister (Elvis Presley)
Feeling Good (Frank Sinatra)
Under My Skin (medley) (Sammy Davis Jr.)
Land Of A Thousand Dances (Wilson Pickett)
Love Me Two Times (The Doors)
Are You Gonna Be My Girl (Jet) performed at the last show
Sophie Tweed-Simmons (basic set list):
Something’s Got A Hold On Me (Etta James)
Fever (Peggy Lee)
Cry Me A River (Ella Fitzgerald)
Fly Me To The Moon (Peggy Lee/Frank Sinatra)
I Want You Back (Jackson 5)
At Last (Etta James)
Hi De Ho Girl (Cab Calloway)
Down In Mexico (The Coasters)
Hound Dog (Elvis Presley)