‘Music’ Category

Neon Outlook: Las Vegas’ live music in December

November 25th, 2008
White Arrows play Revolution Lounge on Dec. 7

White Arrows play Revolution Lounge on Dec. 7

It’s a bittersweet outlook for December’s live music. On one hand, there’s some killer stuff (Nine Inch Nails, anyone? Bloc Party? Wu Tang?!) coming to Las Vegas, and on the other hand, a number of shows scheduled for Jillian’s are homeless, as the venue has officially closed. Some shows have been moved to the House of Blues, others to The Box Office (1129 Casino Center Blvd.), but some are just … up in the air. But the all-ages music scene in Vegas is not dead yet, as the Alley Theater is slated to return soon to the valley. Or, so says its MySpace page. Keep your eyes posted to this space in the future for more on that. Until then, here are some shows that have not been canceled for December (yet…):

Tuesday, December 2
Wasted Space: Zerofingers, The Vermin and Guilty by Association at 10 p.m.

Wednesday, December 3
House of Blues: Five Finger Death Punch with In This Moment and Broken End at 5 p.m. $15, all ages.

Friday, December 5
The Joint: Tesla with Cinder Road at 8 p.m. $35.
Wasted Space: Velicious at 10 p.m.
Wasted Space: Conflict of Interest, Bydeathsdesign at 10 p.m.

Saturday, December 6
House of Blues: Hot 97.5’s OMG Jingle Jam featuring Pleasure P., Bobby Valentino and DJ Unk at 2 p.m. $9.75 – $19.75, all ages.
House of Blues: Wu Tang Clan at 8 p.m. $37 – 55, 21-over.

Sunday, December 7
Wasted Space: All-American Rejects, Jetlag Gemini and The City Lives at 10 p.m. $22.50
Revolution Lounge: White Arrows, DJ InMusicInLove at 10 p.m.

Tuesday, December 9
Wasted Space: CSS at 10 p.m. $15.

Wednesday, December 10
House of Blues: Anthony Hamilton at 7:30 p.m. $27 – 40, 21-over.

Thursday, December 11
House of Blues: Gary Allan at 8 p.m. $40-60, 21-over.

Friday, December 12
The Joint: Area 107.9’s Big Damn Holiday Jam featuring Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, The Ting Tings and Carolina Liar at 7 p.m. $39.50 and up.
Wasted Space: Jesse Dayton at 10 p.m.
House of Blues: Gary Allan at 8 p.m. $40-60, 21-over. (more…)

Neon Review: ‘Day & Age’ by The Killers

November 24th, 2008

The Killers
Day & Age

Day and AgeWe’re going to deviate from the typical, one-sided, subjective album review you’ve come to know and hate for this latest studio effort from Las Vegas’ own The Killers in favor of something far more interesting: a two-sided, subjective album review. Today, VEGASinsight’s Pj Perez welcomes special guest Roger Erik Tinch, art and online director for the CineVegas Film Festival, as we present two very different takes on Day & Age, which hits stores in the United States today.

Pj: As usual, The Killers keep Day & Age lean, with only 10 tracks over 41 minutes (not counting the bonus tracks which we media types don’t get to preview). But that doesn’t mean they’ve cut the fat musically. Rather, the boys from Sin City try to cram so many different sounds into not only the album but each song – from dance to funk to Latin to rock to pop – that it seems along the way they just forgot to write a good song. It feels as though The Killers are overreaching even more than on Sam’s Town, whereas they’d be best off stripping back the horns and orchestral overtones and simply scratching out some palatable hooks and melodies.

Roger: OK, do some of the songs rip off The Clash? Sure. But four (three studio) albums in and the band is stilling putting together fully encompassed songs, unlike some of my other favorite bands, Coldplay and Radiohead. They rip from the playbook of The Beatles (yes I said it) and make rhythmically catchy tunes on top of seemingly simple lyrics that get more complex the digger you deep. Is it their best album? No, that is still reserved for Sam’s Town, a dystopian cowboy’s guide to the desert. But it is once again a cohesive album that raises the bar on their musical eclecticism without fully changing their “sound.”

Let’s look at the album, song by song:

“Losing Touch”
Pj: Hmm … it sounds like E.L.O. I guess I’m biased against ’70s retreads but totally alright with ’80s do-overs, as I very much enjoyed The Killers’ debut, Hot Fuss. Come on, if you’re going to dip back into the ’70s, at least make it David Bowie or Iggy Pop or, hell, go the Billy Joel route.
Roger: A great introduction to a new sound from The Killers. Pay attention to the sax as that’s the driving force behind the intriguingly fresh soundscape for the lads. (more…)

Saosin: ‘No silent moments’

November 20th, 2008

Saosin guitarist Beau Burchell rocking the HOB, Nov. 18, 2008

It’s 3 p.m. on Wednesday, and two dozen kids are at the House of Blues Las Vegas inside the Mandalay Bay resort and casino waiting for the doors to open. Small groups of young music fans continue to arrive, turning the floor into a sea of black T-shirts with random smatterings of Fruit Loops colors – pinks, blues, yellows and purples flash when someone turns around or lifts an arm to wave to a friend.

In two hours, these kids will fill the House of Blues, but for now, the venue is almost empty as I walk to the backstage area to meet Saosin, the California-based band second-billed on a tour with headliner Underoath, The Devil Wears Prada and The Famine.

Saosin guitarist Beau Burchell relaxes in the band’s RV as bassist Chris Sorenson chops onions and peppers for pre-show guacamole. A fan gave Sorenson a cookbook a few days before but this recipe is one of his own creations.

“Some bands are scared to meet their fans. They’re kind of creepy sometimes,” Burchell said. “But ours aren’t that way.”

Before this tour, Saosin brought the fans into their work. In a deal with clothing brand Hurley, Saosin agreed to stream video of the recording process on the web.

“We’re kind of breaking the taboo about how a record gets made,” Burchell said.

Sorenson agreed, while still keeping his eyes on the project at hand.

“No one knows how much nothing goes on,” he said. “It is a process, but it isn’t always ‘finish one thing then on to the next thing.’ The cool thing is that we did everything ourselves. Fans got to see us move the mikes and get into a giant drum circle.”

Neon Review: The Faint, House of Blues Las Vegas, 11/2/08

November 3rd, 2008

The Faint

The Faint gets kids bouncing. That’s as good a summation of any Faint concert as I can offer. I’ve now seen the Omaha, Neb.-spawned quintet twice, both times at the House of Blues Las Vegas, and each time, the result is the same: 250 or so hipsters in skinny jeans gyrating on a packed dance floor, arms flailing and hands clapping.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and as proven during its 18-song set Sunday night, The Faint delivers consistently, pumping out its not-quite-unique-but-always-welcome mash-up of electronic buzz, punk energy and new wave aesthetics. With lead singer Todd Fink getting his freak on via a mad scientist get-up complete with white lab coat and goggles (paging Dr. Horrible, Dr. Horrible to HOB), the band tore through a nearly gapless set spanning its five-album career.

Following a fun and engaging set from identity-confused rapper Kool Keith (or Dr. Dooom, or Dr. Octagon, or …), The Faint kicked things off with signature song “Agenda Suicide” and didn’t stop writhing or spaz-dancing for 14 more songs. Though the band’s tracks tend to blend after a while, that isn’t really a problem at a Faint concert, because their fans come to boogie, not take notes. And older fare such as “Worked Up So Sexual” and “The Conductor” found as much positive reception as cuts from the band’s latest album, Fasciinatiion, including “Get Seduced” and “Machine in the Ghost.”

Disappearing for a break after “I Disappear,” The Faint returned to the stage after a few minutes of the sweaty crowd chanting “one more song,” delivering songs such as “Birth” and “The Geeks Were Right” before returning to the robotic hibernation chamber from which this Midwest band emerged. We think.

Neon Outlook: Las Vegas’ Live Music in November

October 24th, 2008

Portugal the Man
Portugal the Man gets you pregnant at Jillian’s on Nov. 16

Is it really almost Halloween already? It seems like just yesterday we were telling you about summer festivals and Labor Day events. Sigh … I guess we had better roll out the list of November musical concerts and events now, based on your Google search demands:

Saturday, November 1
Jillian’s: One Pin Short with guests at 6 p.m. $10, all ages.

Sunday, November 2
House of Blues: The Faint, Dr. Dooom (aka Kool Keith) and Mika Miko at 5:30 p.m. $17-20, all ages.

Monday, November 3
Jillian’s: Jedi Mind Tricks, Outerspace and Reef the Lost Cauze at 6 p.m. $17-20, all ages.

Tuesday, November 4
The Joint: The Blackest of the Black Tour featuring Danzig, DImmu Borgir, Moonspell, Winds of Plague and Skeletonwitch at 7 p.m. $28.50.
Wasted Space: Hyper Crush at 10 p.m. 21-over.
House of Blues: Rise Against with Alkaline Trio, Thrice and The Gaslight Anthem at 5 p.m. $32-35, all ages.

Wednesday, November 5
House of Blues: Rise Against with Alkaline Trio, Thrice and The Gaslight Anthem at 5 p.m. $32-35, all ages.

The Day After… helps you live out your PopStar Guitar dreams

October 23rd, 2008

The Day After

If the measure of a band’s success these days is it’s appearance on an interactive, virtual music playing video game – as opposed to those antiquated concepts such as airplay, album sales and concert bookings – then Las Vegas’ own The Day After… has “made it.” The three-piece alternative rock band has landed its song “Car Crash,” from 2006’s album A Different Way to Get By, onto the song list of XS Games’ PopStar Guitar, a new “music rhythm game” coming soon to Wii and Playstation 2.

The Day After… is in good company on the apparent Rock Band knock-off, joined by such bands as Fall Out Boy, Paramore and All-American Rejects. PopStar Guitar differentiates itself from Guitar Hero and Rock Band by offering more pop-friendly song selections, and instead of licensed guitar controller replicas from Fender and Gibson, PopStar Guitar uses proprietary “AirG” controllers – essentially, two wireless Wii handle attachments. Look for the game to hit stores by November.

Neon Outlook: Searchlight, Henri & Odette, Blood Orgy

October 21st, 2008

Big Friendly Corporation
Big Friendly Corporation plays at Beauty Bar Oct. 25.

This week’s just about halfway over, but there are some dope events we kinda figured you shouldn’t miss, so without further adieu, here’s what’s what in Las Vegas this week:

“Bottom For Queen,” a new exhibition by UNLV graduate Daniel Samaniego, debuts this Friday, Oct. 24 at Henri & Odette (124 S. Sixth St.). A reception for the artist will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., and the show will be ony display at the gallery through Dec. 6.

IndieKrush.com and Pulsar Presents brings another edition of Say What?! to Beauty Bar (517 Fremont St.) this Saturday, Oct. 25, joining forces with Los Angeles’ Bring the Ruckus to present “Blood Orgy.” Outside, live bands The Frail, Dream Sequence, Pic Vicious, Big Friendly Corporation and Neon Facade will rock the stage along with fire mistress Jenn-o-Cide and DJ Know Well, while inside, Bul!m!atron, Dskotek, Roccanova, Grimehaus, MDY and Remy the Restless will spin dirty electro, nu-rave and indie tunes all night long. Look for free candy, a photo booth, beer pong and much more. The madness gets underway at 9 p.m., and entry is free for the bar, and only $5 for the live music.

Just around the corner at Jillian’s (450 Fremont St.) that same night, the Second Annual Searchlight and Friends Halloween show kicks off at 6 p.m. This all-ages show features Lydia Vance, Almost Normal, Hang ‘Em High and Damnear Divine along with headliner Searchlight, all for $10. Plus, a $1 raffle will be held, with all proceeds going to the local chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Rock out for a good cause before you shake ya ass over at Beauty Bar!

Neon Review: The Killers, House of Blues Las Vegas, 10/20/08

October 21st, 2008

Photo by Torey Mundkowsky

It would be easy to take the cynical, music-critic approach to reviewing last night’s kick-off concert of The Killers’ fall U.S. tour at the House of Blues in Las Vegas. They boys have made themselves somewhat easy fodder, what with their meteoric rise, direction-shifting, critically confusing sophomore album and mixed reception to the first single, “Human,” from the band’s forthcoming Nov. 25 third album, Day & Age.

But the fact is, Las Vegas’ biggest musical export not named Panic at the Disco put on a terrific performance to a sold-out, energetic crowd on Monday, coming out of the gate strongly with a 90-minute set comprised of 18 songs spanning the band’s career. And as usual, The Killers – Brandon Flowers, Ronnie Vannucci, Dave Keuning and Mark Stoermer for those of you not familiar – made their Vegas show a special event.

Opening band Neon Trees kicked things off with a tight set of glammed-up synth rock that can only be described thusly: Duran Duran covering early U2 with Perry Farrell and Maynard James Keenan’s love child on vocals. Seriously. As good as they were, though, the question must be asked: How did this unsigned band get booked as the only supporting act for The Killers on its first two dates? We’re guessing Neon Trees bassist Branden Campbell had something to do with it – the Bonanza High School graduate played in a few local bands years ago with Vannucci (then again, who didn’t?), including an early lineup of Attaboy Skip.

Set list for Oct. 20 show
  • “When You Were Young”
  • “For Reasons Unknown”
  • “Smile Like You Mean It”
  • “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine”
  • “Somebody Told Me”
  • “Losing Touch” (new)
  • “Spaceman” (new)
  • “Sam’s Town”
  • “Read My Mind”
  • “Sweet Talk”
  • “Bones”
  • “Joy Ride” (new)
  • “Change Your Mind”
  • “Mr. Brightside”


  • “Human” (new)
  • “Shadowplay”
  • “Home Means Nevada”
  • “All These Things That I’ve Done”

By the time The Killers took to the HOB stage about 9:30 p.m., the crowd was more than warmed up – these people received the band as if it was bringing water to a desert-stranded party. According to some early arrivers we spoke to, people were lined up outside the venue since the previous night. That’s dedication, though we’re not sure it’s healthy. Either way, from the opening guitar strum of “When You Were Young,” the audience was in full sing-along, jump-along, whatever-along mode. And from the get-go, Flowers – who appears to have shed about 25 pounds from previous public appearances – gave a non-stop, expressive performance, proving that despite his sometimes-weak vocals, he has become a showman par excellence, a long cry from his shy beginnings. He may have worked too hard – the 27-year-old lead singer wasn’t feeling well enough to perform at the Warfield in San Francisco tonight, that show getting postponed to Dec. 12.

Augmented by 23-year-old Ray Suen on guitar, keyboards and violin, the band tore through fan favorites such as “Smile Like You Mean It,” “Somebody Told Me,” “Read My Mind,” “Bones” and “Mr. Brightside.” Local musician Tommy Marth joined the band for a few numbers on saxophone and background vocals, including the new song “Losing Touch,” a ‘70s throwback that sounds something like Bruce Springsteen teaming up with Bob Seger to perform a Jeff Lynne composition.

After a short break following a 14-song set, the band returned for an encore that included “Human” (which, admittedly, sounds much better live than on disc), Joy Division’s “Shadowplay” and the iconic closing number, “All These Things That I’ve Done.” Flowers paid tribute to his home state by singing “Home Means Nevada,” the state song that every elementary schooler learns by rote in the Silver State. It was a touching moment, even when the singer flubbed mid-song and started over.

Between the local loyalty, earnest showmanship and crowd-pleasing tunes, the band can be forgiven its questionable new songs (we didn’t even mention the all-out disco tune, complete with congas, did we?) and sometime-reliance on the crowd to do Flowers’ job. Love them or hate them, The Killers deliver when most needed, and people keep on loving them for it.

Contest: FREE Eagles of Death Metal show at Beauty Bar Las Vegas

October 20th, 2008

eagles of death metal

Did you know that Eagles of Death Metal is playing a totally free show at Beauty Bar Las Vegas (517 Fremont St.) on Nov. 4? No? Well, now you do. Josh Homme’s band that isn’t Queens of the Stone Age is headlining “Antics,” an Election Day after-party sponsored by Toyota Matrix. Did you know I drive a Matrix? No? Well, now you do.

As this is a party, not only will Eagles of Death Metal be rocking out, but there will also be DJs, T-shirt silk-screening and Rock Band playing inside customized Matrix models. And, of course, a bunch of anorexic boys and girls in skinny jeans drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon. Attendance is free, so long as you RSVP at the special Antics website. BUT …

Want to win some cool stuff as well? How about two VIP passes for the show? An Antics T-shirt? Um … how about we toss in a copy of Eagles of Death Metal’s new CD, Heart On? Sound good? Well, then, enter the VEGASinsight Eagles of Death Metal Contest now. It’s easy: Just drop an e-mail to eodmcontest@vegasinsight.net with your full name, mailing address and phone number, and we’ll pull a random winner from all e-mails received on Oct. 27. The rules are simple: You have to be over 21, and you have to submit your e-mail by 11:59 p.m. (PST) Oct. 26, 2008.

Good luck and remember: Early voting in Nevada started Oct. 18, so quit slacking and get voting!

Neon Outlook: Halloween in Vegas

October 14th, 2008

Apocalyptica shouts … at itself.

If there is one night of the year in Las Vegas that rivals New Year’s Eve for “Most Ridiculous Number of Events Happening at Once,” it’s Halloween. 2008 is no different. It’s only Oct. 14, and already we’ve been inundated with information on dozens of events being held this Oct. 31. From raves and parties to concerts and costume contests, there simply has to be something out there for you if you find yourself in Sin City this All Hallows Eve. Here’s a round-up of our picks — thus far — in no particular order:

House of Blues: Apocalyptica at 7 p.m. $20-22, all ages.

Jillian’s: Cobra Starship, The Sickest Kids, Hit the Lights and Sing It Loud at 6 p.m. $15-28, all ages.

Jillian’s (Hi Life): Super Martian Robots, Van Nuys and Exit Ghost at 10 p.m. $10, 18-over.

Double Down Saloon: The Dirty Panties, Betting on Tomorrow, The Quitters and Million Kids at 10 p.m. Free, 21-over.

Flamingo Hotel & Casino, Sunset Ballrooms: “Devils Night XI,” featuring 20,000 square feet of dance space, Halloween sets, video screens, massive sound and lights and three separate areas. Mainstage: DJ Irene, Charles Feelgood, The Autobots, Robert Oleysyck, Donovan & Duff and Jayrod vs. CJ Allen. Indie Electro Stage: Le Castle Vania, Computer Club, Mezzy, Teen Wolf, James Demon and Kinekt. D’N’B Area: Gigantor (Evol Intent), Infiltrata & MC Dre, Prime Mover vs. Chuck B, King, Feight with The Specialist and Risky Business. Admission is $38.50 and is open to guests 18 and over (must be 21 to drink). Tickets available at Groovetickets.com.

Voodoo Lounge: “Spellbound Soiree” featuring DJ L-1 spinning hip-hop and house on the patio, V51 performing Top 40 hits live inside and a costume contest with $5,000 in cash prizes. Doors at 7 p.m. $20 ladies, $30 gentlemen, 21-over.

Christian Audigier The Nightclub: Tila Tequila birthday costume party featuring DJ CyberKid. 21-over.

Studio 54: “Nightmare on 54th Street” featuring DJ Jose 2 Hype and a costume contest with more than $12,000 in cash prizes. 21-over.

LAX: Halloween Fright Fest featuring Jonathan Davis of Korn. 21-over.

Risqué de Paris: Halloween Bash presented by Superestrella 92.7, featuring DJ Dave Guzman spinning Latin hits and 2-for-1 Bud Light Lime all night. Doors at 10:30 p.m. $20 (free for local ladies), 21-over.

South Padre (Texas Station): “Heroes and Villians” Halloween party featuring DJ BKNY spinning Top 40 and a super-power themed costume contest from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. $5, 21-over, no masks, full face paint or weapons.