“I’ve got cousins here,” Ruby Suns frontman Ryan McPhun informs Thursday night’s Beauty Bar crowd, the front-left corner of which then screams. McPhun grins. “Can you guess where they are?
A New Zealander with family in Las Vegas? It’s true. Before McPhun moved overseas in 2003, he lived in Ventura, California, and frequently made trips to Vegas to visit his maternal grandmother, along with several cousins, for various holidays. “We would go often for a Christmas get-together or Thanksgiving or something,” McPhun told the Weekly in a phone interview from New Zealand last week. “We would spend most of our time there in the ’burbs.”
Two of McPhun’s cousins—and their respective spouses—have turned out to see the Neon Reverb headliners’ late-night set, which consists of poppy, electronically layered concoctions (think: what a late-’70s Lindsey Buckingham might have created with a laptop at his disposal). The Suns’ performance, which features live instrumentation and programmed backing tracks, doesn’t sparkle like the band’s recorded material, but the sizable crowd seems to enjoy it just the same. McPhun reminds us of dancing’s warming properties, and many take him up on the suggestion, making the one-time frequent Vegas visitor comfortable in his return trip to town.