Double Whammy: Jonny Lang and Amy Schumer at Emerald Queen Casino

By Christian Carvajal on March 16, 2015

There's a knee-jerky, punchline quality to the news that an artist will perform at a casino, a category of venue that falls one notch above the state fair in the public consciousness. Either way, that condescension's unfair. Consider, for example, the case of Emerald Queen Hotel & Casinos. Over the past few months, that Tacoma institution has hosted one killer act after another. Cheech and Chong played there in November, as did Alice Cooper. EQ's New Year's Eve headlining act was Three Dog Night. Then came Cedric the Entertainer and Willie Nelson in January, Air Supply and Brian McKnight last month, and Smokey Robinson two weeks ago. Granted, some of these performers have been around the block more times than the Good Humor man; still, their reputations are justly deserved. And if you think hot new artists never play casinos, listen up. The next few paragraphs will come as a shock.

Fargo, North Dakota native Jonny Lang has had five albums in the Billboard top 50. He recorded his first blues guitar album, Smokin', at the tender age of 14. Two years later came Lie to Me, an album that went multi-platinum and earned raves from major critics. After a Grammy nomination for Wander the World in 1998, he won the award for Turn Around. He's toured with Aerosmith, Blues Traveler, B.B. King, the Stones, and other iconic artists. Lang's most honest testimonial came from fellow singer and guitarist Jimmy Thackery, who admitted, "He plays so good I want to break his fingers." Yowza.

Then, only one night later, Amy Schumer will be in the motherlovin' house. If I need to tell you who Amy Schumer is, you must not own a TV. Her Comedy Central series Inside Amy Schumer was nominated for an Emmy. Both Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone praised it as one of last year's best series, especially a firecracker of a sketch about a Call of Duty-type video game. Schumer wields one of the 21st century's most distinctive, vital, quotable comic voices, and it's won her gigs from Cosmo to Fox News to a slot in the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot. That's right, Amy Schumer will soon be given her very own proton pack. For a comedian in her 30s, that's like being named one of the apostles.

Kudos to you, Emerald Queen. Keep ‘em coming! And if, let's say, a certain Volcano blogger and promo writer were to crack an obvious joke or two about your upcoming featured acts Keith Sweat and (OMG!) Whitesnake, I hope you'll understand it was all in good fun.

JONNY LANG, 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 20, Emerald Queen I-5 Showroom, 2024 E. 29th St., Tacoma, $35-$85, 360.753.8586

AMY SCHUMER, 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 21, Emerald Queen I-5 Showroom, 2024 E. 29th St., Tacoma, $50-$120, 360.753.8586