Entertaining the Island: Pelican West - Valley Morning Star : Slice Of Life

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Entertaining the Island: Pelican West

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Posted: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 12:00 am

This October marked the 20th anniversary of the band Pelican West.

Originally from Pittsburgh, the band visited South Padre Island when they were booked for four weeks at the Radisson in 1996. The management at the Radisson knew a good thing when they saw it and hired Pelican West full time.

For a decade Pelican West entertained thousands of tourists and locals as the hotel's house band. In 2007 they decided to strike out on their own. They opened their own nightclub and named it after the band.

"When we got this building," says guitarist Craig McWhinney, "we completely gutted it. We pulled out all the electrical and plumbing systems and brought in an engineer to remodel the mezzanine."

The result was an upscale, high-tech dance club and live music venue.

McWhinney said Hurricane Dolly had advantages. "There were some things we wanted to do with the building when we first got it. Having to repair the damage from the hurricane has allowed us to do that now.

"There's a lot the customers won't see, like renovating the bar area to make it more efficient."

While the club was closed for repairs, the band had been entertaining at other venues on the Island. "It's the first time we've been able to play other places like Wanna Wanna and Amberjack's," McWhinney said. "That's been great and the local support has been overwhelming."

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Submit Slice of Life suggestions to Managing Editor Lucio Castillo or City Editor Charlene Vandini at 430-6244 or charlenev@valleystar.com.