The StepHounds Bring Tap Dance, Bluegrass & Rock to The Palm PV
Gary R. Beck - Beck's Best

January 17, 2017

The StepHounds are a bluegrass and rock band which puts forward their music differently. These two brothers are tap dancers, guitarists, vocalists and composers. There was erected a small wooden square in the center of the stage upon where the men take turns tap dancing rapidly and quickly. Their performances are ecstatic and dramatic.

As tap dancers, the guys have performed at Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall and NFL halftime shows. This is an unusual show as they bring a breath of fresh air to Puerto Vallarta's theater district. The brothers are Anthony J. Russo on guitar and vocals Phillip Russo on lead guitar and background [for the most part] vocals.

They opened with "Straighten Up and Fly Right", written by Nat King Cole in 1943 and still sounding superb. Then the guys pounded out Stevie Ray Vaughn's Texas Shuffle "Pride and Joy": "She's my sweet little thing, she's my pride and joy. She's my sweet little baby, I'm her little lover boy." The room was swinging with the rhythm and vocals.

"No Diggity" was a bouncy fun tune which showed the brothers in very good form. Surprisingly they demonstrated Western/folk with the old disco hit "I Will Survive". It was barely recognizable yet terrific in its easy flow. A looper was employed to record rhythmic tapping to the playback, thus adding an added dimension to the performance.

Anthony expressed how much famous black dancers influenced them during their musical journey, especially Mr. Bojangles [Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (1878-1949)], referred to as the father of tap dance. A superlative version of "Mr. Bojangles" came from the stage in lyrics and tap dance pulsations. Anthony unveiled his own composition "The One That Got Away". With two additional songs as "Valerie", a small CD has been released and is for sale here. A song from Amos Lee "Sweet Pea" took everyone back to toe tapping, guitar strutting consciousness.

Entertainment Director Amy Armstrong has taken the aim to introduce various genres of entertainment to widen our community and brought these brothers from Missouri to test the waters. She emerged and sang "Summertime" with them and overwhelmed the room with her power and poise. A medley of Beatles compositions was awesome, especially "I Will" and "And I Love Her". Western rock returned with a cut from Chris Stapleton "Might As Well Get Stoned". They respect this singer/songwriter and include his material in many shows here and across the United States.

The brothers bring a fresh breeze here. The talented brothers deserve our support.

You can catch the StepHounds at the Palm Cabaret on January 24, 25 at 4:00 pm, January 25 at 7:00 pm, and January 22, 27, 28 at 9:30 pm.

Tickets are available online at The Palm Cabaret or at The Palm Box Office which opens daily at 11:00 am. Telephone is (322)222-0200.

The Palm Cabaret and Bar is located at Olas Altas 508 in Vallarta's Old Town Romantic Zone.

For more reviews of performances in Puerto Vallarta, visit More of Beck's Best: Theater, Cabaret and More!

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