Local Entertainer Spotlight
by Robert Sluys
Seattle: the gift (city) that keeps on giving! Say what? Well, don’t most of us start our days with a quad skinny almond latte, courtesy of Seattle’s very own Starbucks? And then, we spend all day on our computers powered by Bill Gate’s little hobby, also known as Microsoft. And who can forget the recent THUMPING administered by the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl? Well, it’s time to add another name to that illustrious list of world class Seattle creations: MPULS.
MPULS? It might look like your spell check is broken, but not at all! I’m referring to the dynamic new Hot 100 dance group that has taken the Las Vegas club scene by storm; kind of making the ‘Hawks look like just another junior varsity team. MPULS, for you Scrabble playing purists, is also known as IMPULSE. Different sexy spelling, but the same sexy act. If you haven’t been to Club Madrid inside Sunset Station on a Saturday night to experience Seattle transplants Brooke Allyson and Jim Shank’s unique combination of the latest dance hits presented in a nonstop show format, what are you waiting for? Look, it’s no secret that many Las Vegas entertainers come to town from all over the planet seeking fame and fortune. After all, Sin City is the entertainment capital of the world! And it features some mighty fine buffets and hospitality as well. Brooke and Jim did just that- came to town seeking fame and fortune. So, let’s take a moment to get to know Brooke and Jim, shall we?
The duo met in 1994 when they were both students at a community college in Auburn, Washington, having auditioned for its Professional Entertainment Training program. Jim sang and also played bass in several grunge bands. Grunge bands: yet another gift to the world from Seattle. Brooke was a wide-eyed 18-year-old girl with talent and a dream. As these things tend to play out, they were married a few years later. And so started their partnership that thrives to this day. Their first project was a Top 40 band entitled “The Goods”. And they were! They soon started playing the Washington
casino circuit. With virtually every town or city named after a Native American tribe, well, you can imagine the opportunities for gigging- exactly what young performers need to cut their
teeth. We’ve all heard about the Beatles playing 8 hours per night 7 nights a week for several years in the seedy clubs of Hamburg. And look how that worked out for them!
As Brooke and Jim developed their craft, they were asked to produce specialty acts for some of the prominent casinos, and so, in 2007 Live Music Entertainment was born. Soon thereafter, “That 80’S Show” (fully costumed and complete with characters) became a mainstay at the largest casino in Washington. Other acts such as “Galaxy 54”, “Repro” and “Vanity” hit the stage, and were all tremendously successful. After conquering and dominating the Seattle market with their award-winning productions, there was only one place to go…Vegas, baby.
And now, in less than two years, MPULS is on the scene in a big way. With recent performances at The Blue Martini, The
Fremont St. Experience, Red Rock Station, Bally’s, The Paris and their residency at Club Madrid, it is easy to see why Vegas is embracing a group that audiences love watching, listening and dancing to. “It’s all about having fun. Daily life, job worries, stress people want to go out and have a good time with friends, dance, have a cocktail or two and just enjoy the moment away from all of the nonsense” says Brooke. Her words apply not only just to the audience, but the performers as well, which include Alex Karpenko (recently arrived from Russia) who dazzles on guitar, drummer Jake Magness laying down the beats, Bob Sluys keeping the groove percolating on the bass, and DeeJay Tanastadi spinnin’ and scratchin’.
“One of the things that sets us apart and which our audience loves is that we morph our song list into a nonstop dance party! Kind of like a D.J. is spinning us. Most bands play a song, stop, chit chat, take a sip of their drinks, fiddle around with their knobs, retune their guitars and announce what song they’re gonna play next. I think that we in the business refer to that as ‘killing the dance floor’”, Brooke laughs. “We’ve put a lot of work in over the years learning exactly how to format a killer set; from tempos, stylistic appeal, energy and what key the song is in, all to ensure not only a smooth and seamless flow, but to maximize everyone’s enjoyment! Going from Rihanna to Pink to PitBull to LMFAO to Robin Thicke to Bruno Mars to Lady
Gaga- well, you get the picture!”
Not only are Brooke and Jim doing what they love, as are the rest of MPULS, they love being in Las Vegas, too. “Jim and I decided recently that this is where we want to
be,” continued Brooke, “we want to make Vegas our home, not only to perform in, but to raise our kids here as well. We love the climate and there are so many activities for everybody. Jim’s an avid fishermen, you’ll often find him in his boat out on Lake Mead at around 6 a.m. when the rest of us are sleeping! Our kids (Gabe, 10 and Willow, 7) are musically inclined and creative. We’re just a regular family, but when we take the stage…watch out!” Watch out, indeed!
Check MPULS out on facebook- www.facebook.com/impulsevegas