FANS READY FOR OFF AT HARD ROCK HOTEL
January 27, 2012
KISS fans ready to paint the town (and their faces) at Sunday’s KISS Off at Hard Rock Hotel

By John Katsilometes

There will always be a forum for anyone blessed with a lengthy tongue, musical acumen, and a willingness to slather on layers of face paint.

KISS By Monster Mini Golf is making certain of that.

This weekend marks the “KISS Off” finale, scheduled for 2-6 p.m. Sunday at Body English at Hard Rock Hotel. The free-admission, open-to-the-public contest is to award the top KISS tribute band on the planet, or at least the top KISS band among the 200 entries submitted to company officials, who then tracked more than 29,000 votes online to determine the top four entries.

That fortuitous four, and their representative countries/states are KISS Forever (Hungary), Mr. Speed (Ohio), Rock and Roll Over (Texas) and KISSteria (Australia). Opening will be Las Vegas’ own Las Vegas KISS. The finalists will be judged on talent, performance, appearance, showmanship and, of course, evening gown competition (hashtag-sheckykats).

The latter is a joke, yes, but there is a serious prize awaiting Sunday’s contest winner. The victorious band will perform at the opening of KISS By Monster Mini Golf on March 15. Those who don’t win will need to find their own gigs that night.

KISS By Monster Mini Golf is more than just an 18-hole, glow-in-the-dark, indoor putt-putt course with a giant tongue leading to the 18th hole. Also featured will be an arcade game area, a gift shop, a wedding chapel and a cafe. See, KISS is no longer just a band. It is a way of life.

Appearing at Sunday’s event will be longtime KISS lead guitarist Tommy Thayer, the current Spaceman character of one of the most popular bands in the history of contemporary music. He’ll serve as the judge of the KISS Off, as few musicians not named Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley understand KISS sensibilities more than the band’s current lead guitarist. The man once painted Stanley’s house, long before he painted his own face, so his dedication to the cause cannot be questioned.

Folded into the event are the finals of the Lady Demon spokesmodel competition, where six demonic lovelies compete for the right to don a custom-designed, $10,000 KISS-inspired, studded, black-leather wedding dress on the black carpet at the grand opening of the attraction.

Those who don’t win will be forced to dress as the Bay City Rollers, and again that is a joke.

Judging the Lady Demon finals are golf attraction founder Christina Vitagliano, 97.1 the Point personality Steph MacKenzie and Las Vegas celeb photographer Erik Kabik. The hosts – and this is of particular interest – are Brian “Lowercase g” Thomas (you might know him as Lucky the Leprechaun at O’Sheas, or maybe from his poolside appearances as the immortal Baby Carlos), along with Tricia McCrone and myself. In a fortuitous bit of timing, Tricia and I have interviewed Thomas for this week’s episode of “Kats With the Dish,” which airs at 6 p.m. Friday on KUNV 91.5-FM.

For those interested in paying more than, well, nothing for the uniquely KISS experience, a $99 VIP package is a meet-and-greet with Thayer, an autographed 8-by-10 photo (by Thayer) of Thayer, a KISS “swag bag” of undisclosed goodies (hopefully there is an old KISS Army patch buried in there), one free ticket to play the indoor course, and a pass to Vanity Nightclub for a party hosted by – of course – Thayer.

But the whole experience should be priceless, and the attire is – succumbing to the obvious – dress to kill.