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Kevin Costner brings his rock band to Harrah’s South Shore Room

Rick Chandler
Movie/rock star Kevin Costner and Modern West perform Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Harrah's.
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Back in the day, before “Dances With Wolves,” “Field of Dreams” or even “Silverado,” Kevin Costner dreamed of being a rock star.

And as he chased fame on the big screen, he never put down his guitar for very long. It’s kind of surprising, seeing that the closest that Costner has come to a musically themed film has been as Whitney Houston’s bodyguard in “The Bodyguard.” But yes, the young man’s got music in his soul.

See for yourself on Saturday, July 7, as Costner and his band, Modern West, perform at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe in the South Shore Room.

Costner and Modern West began 20 years ago in a Los Angeles warehouse, where Costner and John Coinman met in an acting workshop. Coinman was a musician with an intense interest in acting, and Costner was an actor with an intense interest in music.

They became friends, began to play and write music together, and soon formed a band — Roving Boy — which got a small record deal in Japan.

Even as he became a bigger star, Costner kept playing music. The band reformed in 2005 as Modern West, adding Blair Forward, guitarist/producer Teddy Morgan and drummer Larry Cobb.

How good is Costner and Modern West? By all accounts, the band is strong, and Costner’s personal charm outweighs his musicianship. But the former is considerable, and the latter ain’t bad.

From a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel review of Modern West’s concert in Milwaukee on June 25:

“The dominant mood was party music, and when Modern West served up a party pounder like “Find That Girl,” Costner didn’t fare too badly. The band was strong enough to carry their star frontman.

“As a vocalist Kevin Costner is a convincing movie star. To put Costner in his natural context, he’s not as polished a singer as the Bacon Brothers, but certainly as competent as Bruce Willis or Jim Belushi. On the rock tunes, Costner’s raspy bark supplemented by Coinman’s harmony vocals carried him through. On the ballads, it was a little hard to disguise the thinness of the voice.”

But one gets the feeling that Modern West puts on a great show — and fan support is so strong that they will soon be putting out a CD.

Costner has ties with Tahoe that go back several years. A frequent visitor, he spent time here during the filming of “The Bodyguard,” part of which was filmed at Fallen Leaf Lake. He also gave a talk to the drama class at South Lake Tahoe High.

“Costner told the crowd that one of the reasons for Modern West was to give him a way to connect with people on a meaningful and personal level,” said the Milwaukee JS article. “He appears to be sincere about connecting with his fans, and the Northern Lights crowd was more than delighted to do their part. When one of the ladies in the crowd yelled out an invitation, Costner shot back, ‘I can’t come out there. … I think you’d keep me.’ “


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