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The Real Nasty keeps party going late

The Real Nasty (Red Room, Saturday night) is on grass and living large.
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Those who imbibe with “Whiskey for Breakfast” should plan a nap after lunch Saturday because there’s a late-night, don’t-miss show at North Shore.

The Real Nasty plays the Vinyl after-party in the Crystal Bay Casino Red Room on Saturday, Dec. 3. When the Oakland band last was in Tahoe, it was for its Crown Room debut during a surprise spring snowstorm. So with winter weather returning along with the trio, what have the boys been up to? Plenty. The Real Nasty completed its second national tour and released a third album, “Dirty Dollars.”

The band comprises upright bassist-songwriter Ryan Lukas, drummer-cajon player Matthew “Smitty” Smith, and acoustic and Telecaster guitarist Jacob Groopman. Its first release was a double album, one side rock, the other country. “Strangers and Friends” followed in 2009, and it leaned toward the band’s rock inclinations, as does the new record. The next will tilt again toward country, Lukas said.

“My writing lately is on the country-blues side,” Lukas said. “I keep going back and fourth.”

When the Real Nasty goes country, especially with Groopman on lead vocals, it sounds and feels like the New Riders of the Purple Sage. The album cover and merchandise art drawn by Mark Gregory also is reminiscent of New Riders albums of the early 1970s, along with those by the like-minded Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen.

The comparisons were made not only by Lake Tahoe Action, but by concertgoers on the last tour, which was in Colorado, the Midwest and Southeast.

The Real Nasty has two primary songwriting topics: women and alcohol. The new record’s “Drunk Love” is a contender to stand next to “Whiskey for Breakfast” as one of the band’s top anthems. “Heartbreaker, Baby” also is a highlight.

With a publicist, booking agent, website and a growing fan base, the Real Nasty is clearly on the rise. It appears to possess an intangible characteristic for staying power: “We spent five weeks together and there was very little to no drama,” Lukas said. “We are all really close friends and enjoy hanging out.”

“We all get to play to our strengths in the band while exploring new territory,” Lukas said. “Smitty is the business mastermind and a great drummer. Jacob is on point with putting the tours together and our online presence and is a ripping guitar player. And I am the writer and artistic director.”

The Real Nasty has close ties to both the north and south shores of Lake Tahoe.

“It’s like playing at home,” Lukas said. “Tahoe is one of the first places we played. It’s always warm and familiar and there are friends up there. It’s healing.”


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