Don’t Smoke ’em if you got ’em

Extreme Thing Sports & Music Festival is back, providing the 15th annual outlet for Vegas’ suburban youth to rage against the machine. It requires more than savage riffs and melodic vocals to make it in hardcore, though. Apparently it helps to turn your back on tobacco.

As part of Extreme Thing, And She Whispered is headlining XPOZ’s Local Band Stage on March 27 at Desert Breeze Skate Park. The still-in-their-teens quartet beat more than 100 acts for the paramount slot during February’s month-long Battle of the Fans contest held at Area 702 skateboarding facility. (Six other Vegas bands will also perform: The Afterparty, The Murder Ballad, Sanity Is Lost, A Fight at Daybreak, Otherwise, and In Shadows Embrace. National headliners on the main stage include The Used and Five Finger Death Punch.)

Not every band can play an XPOZ event. Chain-smoking groups needn’t apply. After all, XPOZ is a youth tobacco-prevention program aimed at Southern Nevada teens. Instead of the old scare tactics—say, displaying pictures of charred lungs in high school classrooms—the coalition approaches kids through music and bands.

XPOZ program director Malcolm Ahlo insists being smoke-free isn’t a requirement, but it’s strongly encouraged. “We ask [bands] not to use tobacco during the show or in promo pictures,” he says.

Why does XPOZ target hardcore kids? According to Ahlo, research tells us that kids who enjoy hardcore music have higher smoking rates than other teen populations.

Apparently, burgers are OK for kids—at least for now. Denver-based “fast-casual” chain Smashburger celebrated its Vegas location’s grand opening on March 20 with a 10:30 a.m. live set by California’s Later Days. Sadly, what was supposed to be a competition for finding Vegas’ best band ended with an emo act from Malibu announced as the winner. Oh well, the cheeseburgers are good, anyway.

Speaking of cheese (the awesome ’80s glam-metal kind), Poison frontman (and future Celebrity Apprentice contestant, autobiographer and diabetes survivor) Bret Michaels is playing Star of the Desert Arena at Buffalo Bill’s Resort & Casino on March 27. What songs compel people to flick their Bics? Michaels-penned power ballads such as “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and “I Won’t Forget You.” Don’t singe my hair, fellow fans!

Finally, with all the anti-smoking and lighter talk, I leave you with a few cigarette songs you don’t have to say no to: The Smithereens’ “Cigarette,” The Replacements’ “More Cigarettes,” Patsy Cline’s “Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray,” Otis Redding’s “Cigarettes and Coffee,” Bon Jovi’s “Last Cigarette,” Brownsville Station’s “Smokin’ in the Boys Room,” Rufus Wainwright’s “Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk,” Tex Williams’ “Smoke, Smoke that Cigarette” and Marvelous 3’s “Cigarette Lighter Love Song.”

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