Reunion strut: A Stray Cats primer, in time for Viva Las Vegas

Frontman Brian Setzer leads the Stray Cats to town on April 21.
Photo: Dawn Villella / AP
Annie Zaleski

Who: Retro rockers the Stray Cats—guitarist/vocalist Brian Setzer, bassist Lee Rocker and drummer Slim Jim Phantom—originally coalesced on Long Island, New York. But like many U.S.-formed acts in the late ’70s and early ’80s, the trio found success after moving to England.

Sound: The band helped launch the early-’80s rockabilly revival, thanks to hotrodding tunes obsessed with cool cars and Carl Perkins, but also incorporated vintage soul, blues and R&B. Had Sun Records been an ongoing entity when the Stray Cats emerged, chances are the group would’ve found a home there.

Spin: Although the Stray Cats’ ’50s rock ’n’ roll homage “(She’s) Sexy + 17” hasn’t aged well, the band’s faithful approach to throwback sounds—see the doo-wop-tinged “I Won’t Stand in Your Way” and the jaunty blues strut “Runaway Boys”—gives their music a timeless air. Start with 1982’s blockbuster Built for Speed and 1983’s Rant ’N Rave With the Stray Cats—and absorb the group’s live power with 2004’s The Very Best of the Stray Cats: Rumble in Brixton.

Now: This Viva headline appearance marks the Stray Cats’ first North American show since 2009, although the individual band members are still immersed in music. Rocker has a thriving solo career, while Phantom plays live and recently launched a new SiriusXM show, Slim Jim Phantom’s Rockabilly Rave Up. Setzer, meanwhile, tours solo and with the jump blues troupe The Brian Setzer Orchestra.

STRAY CATS with Jerry Lee Lewis, Duane Eddy. April 21, 3:30 p.m., $35-$40. Orleans, vivalasvegas.net

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