‘Music’ Category

The Neon Review: ‘Joe’s Shanghai’ by The Vermin

October 1st, 2008

joe's shanghaiThe Vermin
Joe’s Shanghai
(Wood Shampoo)

What is there to say about the Vermin that hasn’t already been said? After listening to every Vermin album recorded in this incarnation’s 13-year history, they all tend to blend together a bit. That’s not a bad thing. Much like Social Distortion, Dirk Vermin’s namesake band is so good at what it does – playing retro punk rock fast, loud and without apology – that there’s not much need to deviate from the formula.

Oh, sure, the boys throw in a few tricks, such as the jazzy, spoken-word styling of “Where’s Nikki?” or the Rob Ruckus-led country romp “Oh Lord, It’s Hard to Be Humble,” but otherwise, Joe’s Shanghai is 29 minutes and five seconds of unrelenting, four-on-the-floor, growling dirge, equally informed both by late-’70s, sneering British punk and mid-’80s SoCal hardcore.

Highlights include fan favorites such as “Boredom (Was the Reason),” “Molotov,” and the Vermin’s take on M.I.A.’s arrangement of Petula Clark’s “Las Vegas.” And in an interesting twist, the band decided to repeat all 17 songs from Joe’s Shanghai on the 18th track, because, well, why the hell not?

(Full disclosure: Everyone in Las Vegas knows the Vermin, so that’s not necessarily a bias, nor is being a tattoo client of Dirk Vermin, but this reviewer is mysteriously thanked in the album’s liner notes as well, so even though the review’s objective, you might not think so. And to that, we say: Get over it.)

Picks for First Friday Las Vegas’ sixth anniversary

September 30th, 2008

Just one of many “Charming Patterns” on display at Trifecta Gallery.

Is it First Friday already? Well, it will be in two days. And furthermore, it’s October, which means it’s anniversary month for the monthly art walk and street fair — yes, it has been six years since Cindy Funkhouser and Julie Brewer (rest her soul) first brewed up Las Vegas’ longest-running cultural event. So get downtown on Friday and enjoy the nearly-cool autumn evening with a few thousand of your closest friends. Here’s our picks for must-dos the next few days:

Over at Trifecta Gallery, owner Marty Walsh unleashes her own visual works upon the walls of her Arts Factory space with the opening of “Charming Patterns” on Thursday, Oct. 2 from 5 to 8 p.m.

The Fallout Gallery also hosts a pre-First Friday opening on Oct. 2 with a reception for Jeff Gillette, whose new works grace the Commerce Street Studios mainstay this month.

Upstairs from the Fallout, MTZC proudly presents “To Hell With You and All Your Friends,” featuring the work of Cleveland, Ohio-based artist Derek Hess. The opening reception is Friday, Oct. 3 from 6 to 10 p.m. — yes, on First Friday.

And over at Henri & Odette, gallerist Jennifer Harrington offers up the sounds of acoustic guitarist Rustyn Vaughn Lee from 8 to 10 p.m. on Friday, which will surely be welcoming background music for enjoying the art of Amy Guidry.

Don’t forget, as well — the sixth annual First Friday Fundraiser is coming up Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. This year, it’s being held atop Newport Lofts downtown on the Skydeck. Enjoy cocktails, food, entertainment, schmoozing and a silent auction to benefit Whirlygig, Inc. — the non-profit arts organization behind First Friday. Tickets are only $60 in advance (or $75 at the door) — and the view of the city alone is worth the price, we think. See you downtown.

Neon Outlook: Las Vegas’ live music in October

September 28th, 2008

Lips Like Morphine play with Letters Burning and Air Raid Anthem Oct. 5 at Revolution inside the Mirage.

We know how you like it: Hard and fast. So without further adieu, here’s a preview of what’s to come in Las Vegas’ live music scene for the month of October 2008. Buckle up:

Wednesday, Oct. 1
Wasted Space: Filter at 10 p.m. $20, 21-over.

Thursday, Oct. 2
Jillian’s: Heavy Heavy Low Low, So Many Dynamos, KDT and Vannacutt at 6 p.m. $10-12, all ages.

Friday, Oct. 3
House of Blues: Mindless Self-Indulgence, Die So Fluid, Dearestazazel and I Am The Dream at 6 p.m. $17-20, all ages.
Fremont East Entertainment District: Rock the Block featuring Gogol Bordello at 6 p.m. $15-20, all ages.
Jillian’s (Hi Life): Hang Em High, Friday Night Gunfight and Indulge at 10 p.m. $10, 18-over.

Saturday, Oct. 4
Jillian’s: Guilty by Association, Battle Born, Dirty Panties, Zero Fingers and Seventy Sevens at 6 p.m. $10, all ages.
Jillian’s (Hi Life): Skorchamenza, Picture Pilot and Pigasus at 10 p.m. $10, 18-over.

Gallery: Foo Fighters rock a sold-out Joint at Vegas Hard Rock

September 26th, 2008

Photo by Erik Kabik | www.erikkabikphoto.com

For those of you who didn’t catch Dave Grohl and his fighters of Foo at the Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel last night — and we’re going to guess that’s most of you, given the show has been sold out for months — take heart: Our favorite shutterbug, Erik Kabik, was on the scene, capturing all of the alternative rock band’s saliva-spewing fury on camera.

The Foo Fighters return to the Joint tonight to play to another sold-out crowd. We checked on Craigslist, and there are at least a dozen listings for tickets, so get thee to an ATM and pull out at least two Benjamins if you want to try and get in to this one, kids.

Neon Outlook: Atmosphere, Filter and ‘Bubba Ho-Tep’

September 24th, 2008

Bruce Campbell as Elvis Presley
Bruce Campbell plays an aged Elvis Presley in Bubba Ho-Tep.

Get your weekend started on a funky note with Atmosphere, Blueprint and Abstract Rude at House of Blues Las Vegas inside the Mandalay Bay on Friday, Sept. 26 at 5 p.m.

Sunday night, Sept. 28, check out folk-rock quintet Modern Subject and Brit-pop-infused Los Angeles band The Idyllist at The Beatles Revolution Lounge inside the Mirage at 10 p.m.

On Wednesday, Oct. 1, Filter resurfaces at Wasted Space inside the Hard Rock Hotel. The show is at 10 p.m. and cover is $20.

And for you bizarre indie film buffs, the free “CineVegas From the Vault” screening series continues at the Clark County Library (1401 E. Flamingo Road) with a showing of Bubba Ho-Tep on Thursday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. The movie stars Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis as Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy living their advanced years in a run-down Texas nursing home. Good times.

National Product on its fans, MySpace and Vegas slots

September 21st, 2008

Though the band’s name was chosen somewhat ironically, National Product represents the American Dream, Version 2.0. Ever since the first days of Napster, it’s been nearly impossible to make a buck selling records. But National Product doesn’t care. These lifelong friends would rather rely on the traditional American work ethic to spread their brand of rock around the globe. We caught up with lead singer Danny Casler via telephone as his band’s van sped to their next tour stop in Atlanta.

How is your band making its way in the post-downloading music landscape?
Skis masks and assault riffles. [Laughs.] Seriously, one of the things National Product is good about is that we have really close relationships with all of our fans. We do really well in merch. Our fans are awesome in that if they come to a show and we’re sold out of all smalls and mediums, they will buy large and extra large, even if it doesn’t fit ‘em, just because they want to support the band. All the money we make off of our shows goes to pay for our gas. We never stay in hotels because there is no sense in paying $80 a night to stay in a hotel when we could stay with fans and friends. We’re always fed by them. If you’re just doing it smart then you’re not really struggling.

What does “making it” mean to you?
We love playing music and as long as we can make a living out of that and see the world like we’ve been doing—to be honest, we’ve already passed our level of where we felt like we’ve become a success. We’ve had a hit song on the radio. We’ve been to Japan, Alaska, Mexico, the full U.S, and now we’re getting ready to go to South America.

Wow, that’s inspiring.
Yeah it’s pretty cool, [but] some days we’re super down. We’re like, fuck man, being in this industry is so fucking hard. We just got back from Japan. There were a thousand kids there. They knew all the words and we sold a ridiculous amount of records out in Japan. Then you come to the U.S. and because it’s so over-saturated you almost feel like a redheaded stepchild.

How have you been able to connect with the fans?
I sit on MySpace all the time on our rides. If we got a 10-hour drive, I’m probably on MySpace eight out of 10 hours just e-mailing kids and blogging.

Tell me about your influences.
I’m the only musician in the family. What inspired me was that my parents and my grandparents were massive fans of music. My mom was big on ’80s Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe and Richard Marx. My dad was really big on Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, the Beatles. My grandparents were really big on Frank Sinatra. My brother was massive on hip-hop and rap.

How would you describe your sound?
We have slow-tempo rock ballads all the way to your really aggressive, hardcore, in-your-face kind of track. We’ve also got the mid-tempo pop rock tracks. You’ve got five dudes in a band. They all love different things. There isn’t one general song writer. We all have our own creative ideas.

Your tour passes through Las Vegas soon. What do you think about our town?
We love Vegas. We’re close to the guys from Fletch, who are no longer a band, but The Cab and all those guys. We like to party and stuff, but I don’t know if Vegas is really our scene when it comes to all the techno, bright lights everywhere, loud music, everybody going crazy. I’ll probably play our show and hang out with friends. I’ve done Vegas already. If I’m going to do anything, I’ll probably go pay the penny slots. The trick I’ve learned to get lots of free alcohol is to go play the penny slots and then ask for triple shots because they have to give you whatever you ask for.

National Product performs at Jillian’s (450 Fremont St.) Sept. 24 with 1997.

Neon Outlook: Obama, Artexpo, F**K PARIS?!

September 16th, 2008

Laco$te will get you naked. For real.

Yes, I know we’ve been absent here for a bit. But there has been movement on the back end of this site that you may not have noticed. We’re working to expand our Neighborhoods section to include venue guides, photo galleries and more, as well as hiring new talent to bring you even more news, interviews and reviews. Oh, but onto the matter at hand: Here’s some cool stuff coming up in the next few weeks you may want to check out should you be kicking it in Las Vegas. And of course, you should be.

Obamania returns to Las Vegas as Sen. Barack Obama comes to Cashman Field (650 Las Vegas Blvd. N.) at 5 p.m. tomorrow, Sept. 17. If you want to get more insight into this Presidential candidate’s campaign, click here to RSVP for the event, which is free to the public.

Artexpo Las Vegas returns to the Mandalay Bay Resort from Sept. 19 to 21. This three-day art industry tradeshow features more than 30 seminars, networking events, pavilions for photographers and emerging artists, and much more. Visit vegas.artexpos.com for more information or registration.

IndieKrush.com busts out another mind-blowing hipster soiree with “F**K PARIS?!” at Beauty Bar (517 Fremont St.) on Saturday, Sept. 27. Inside the bar, DJs Mr_Peaches, Dmndays, Grimehaus, DJess and VaJayJay rock the dirty electro, nu-rave and indie, while outside on the patio, A.I., Laco$te, The Day After…, Alta Revere, Close to Modern and Kobra Ghodsi perform live. Seriously, the $5 cover for the live music will be worth it just to see Laco$te. Trust us. The nonsense starts at 9 p.m.

Neon Outlook: Live music in Las Vegas, September 2008

September 4th, 2008

War Stories performs at Revolution Lounge on Sept. 7.

In this edition of the Outlook, we’re looking ahead to shows coming up at McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon inside the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, Revolution Lounge inside the Mirage Hotel & Casino, Rox Club (5285 Dean Martin Drive) and Jillian’s Las Vegas (450 Fremont St.).

Friday, Sept. 5

Jillian’s: Fletch, A Bird A Sparrow, Love It Or Leave It, Love You Long Time, Hang Em High and Nural at 6 p.m. $10, all ages.

Saturday, Sept. 6

Jillian’s: Rattlehead, Meltdown, 13 Miles, Blatant and The Blood Syndicate at 6 p.m. $10, all ages.
Jillian’s (Hi-Life Lounge): The Robots Guide to Living and North Swell at 10 p.m. $10, 18-over.

Sunday, Sept. 7

Revolution: War Stories and Searchlight at 10 p.m. 21-over.
Rox: Gorilla Productions Battle of the Bands featuring Nirosis, Degratia, Joshua Judges Ruth, The Offcolor, The Bronte Run, Elliot Szabo & The Group, The Krew and Par-A-Digm at 5 p.m. $10-12, 21-over.

Monday, Sept. 8

Jillian’s: Whitechapel, Through the Eyes Of The Dead, Impending Doom, A Different Breed of Killer and The Seventh Plague at 6 p.m. $13-15, all ages.

Wednesday, Sept. 10

McFadden’s: Shy Tree, The Quitters and Rufus Federation at 9 p.m. No cover, 21-over.
Jillian’s: The Rocket Summer, Phantom Planet, The Secret Handshake and The Morning Light at 6 p.m. $15, all ages.

Friday, Sept. 12

Jillian’s (Hi-Life Lounge): The Opera and Alta Revere at 10 p.m. $10, 18-over.

Saturday, Sept. 13

Jillian’s: As He Defeats, The Stript, Think, Val-Halla and When You Wake at 6 p.m. $10, all ages.

Sunday, Sept. 14

Revolution: The Dirty Hearts and Beatmo at 10 p.m. 21-over.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

McFadden’s: Vegas U2 at 9 p.m. No cover, 21-over.
Revolution: The Films at 10 p.m. 21-over.

Friday, Sept. 19

Jillian’s: Bamboo and special guests at 6 p.m. All ages.
Jillian’s (Hi-Life Lounge): The Yeller Bellies and Black Camero at 10 p.m. $10, 18-over.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Jillian’s (Hi-Life Lounge): Random Eye and Cherry Hill at 10 p.m. $10, all ages.
Rox: Gorilla Productions Battle of the Bands Finals featuring As Yet Unbroken, Mr. Mustache, This is My Curse, Slyther, The Second Chariot, Lidine, Valient Til Death, Ellemarr, Van Nuys, Civil Genocide, DarkSpade and Centaur Rodeo at 5 p.m. $10-12, 21-over.

Sunday, Sept. 21

Revolution: Audrye Sessions and What Laura Says at 10 p.m. 21-over.

Wednesday, Sept. 24

McFadden’s: Someday Broken, Lips Like Morphine, The Day After… at 9 p.m. No cover, 21-over.
Jillian’s (upstairs): National Product, 1997, Summit Grove and Almost Normal at 6 p.m. $10-12, all ages.

Friday, Sept. 26

Jillian’s (Hi-Life Lounge): Revolution A.D., Siamese Graffiti and Go Wank The Broom at 10 p.m. $10, 18-over.

Saturday, Sept. 27

Jillian’s: Lagwagon, MxPx, Only Crime and Tat at 6 p.m. $18, all ages.
Jillian’s (Hi-Life Lounge): Neon Trees at 10 p.m. $10, 18-over.

Sunday, Sept. 28

Revolution: The Modern Subject and The Idyllists at 10 p.m. 21-over.

Neon Outlook: Vegas week in preview, post-Labor Day

September 3rd, 2008

Whew kids. Is Labor Day Weekend over? Given I am back in front of my computer and not doing it up at Seattle’s Bumbershoot music and arts festival, I guess it is. But just because the big holiday weekend is over doesn’t mean that the week forthcoming is anything to sneeze at. Evidence:

Trifecta Gallery (inside the Arts Factory, 103 E. Charleston Blvd.) is hosting a preview opening for its newest exhibition, “Escape Hatch,” by Boulder City denizen Biscuit Street Preacher, on Thursday, Sept. 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. We love his work. You should too.

If independent films are more your style, perhaps you’ll want to check out a free screening of Breakfast with Hunter, a documentary about the late Hunter S. Thompson, showing at Clark County Library (1401 E. Flamingo Road) at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4.

Friday, Sept. 5, is First Friday, of course, and while you’re downtown in the Arts District pretending to check out art, maybe you should wander over to the Commerce Street Studios for the opening of “Spiritual Geometry (the Awakening)” at MTZC (1551 S. Commerce St.) at 6 p.m. This show features collaborative and solo works of Teresa M. Williams and gallery owner Mark T. Zeilman.

On Saturday, Sept. 6, Brooklyn-based dance crew The Dynasty Rockers brings its funky, “uprock” style to the Aruba Hotel and Spa (1215 Las Vegas Blvd. S.) for a stop on its 35th anniversary tour. Things kick off with a barbeque by the pool at noon, the main event from 4 to 9 p.m. in the hotel’s Thunderbird Lounge, and then an Afro-Latino electric soul after-party from our homies in the Kilowatt crew starting at 11 p.m.

Death of Rock ‘n’ Roll? Hardly

August 18th, 2008

These hairstyles are headed for a heartbreak.

I came across an interesting post on a local blog mourning the closing of a number of local music venues — many of which closed years ago — and declaring the “once booming music scene of Las Vegas is nearly gone.” Really? Now, would that be the “booming music scene” that gave false hope to bands such as 12 Volt Sex, Professor Punn and Attaboy Skip? Because the music scene that came after the closure of Mr. Davis’ vaunted venues — The Boston, the Huntridge, Sanctuary — has not only spawned arguably Las Vegas’ most commercially successful music groups (The Killers, Panic at the Disco, The Cab), but has also seen the stabilization of centralized, small-scale venues (The Bunkhouse, Beauty Bar, Jillians) while those overpriced casinos continue to reinvest those ticket sales into music venues such as Wasted Space, Revolution Lounge and the forthcoming Rok nightclub.