Pizza rock in a taco shop

Plenty of very cool, beneath-the-neon shows happening in Vegas this week, fellow Soundscrapers. Here’s one you should definitely check out:

Yayo Taco (4632 S. Maryland Parkway) is a quiet, unassuming taco joint in the university district by day; by night, though, it’s an eardrum-smashing live music venue with an emphasis on punk and metal. Of course, Yayo doesn’t always compete with McCarran International Airport. Occasionally a milder but no less passionate indie-rock outfit slips in, as is the case May 21 with Austin, Texas-based (and appropriately named) Look Mexico, who will be making their first trip to Vegas.

The band knows a thing or two about delivering powerful sound in a small eatery. Before Look Mexico transplanted to Texas earlier this year, the quintet recorded its brand-new sophomore album (which I reviewed in our April 8 issue), To Bed to Battle, in a pizza shop basement in northern Florida.

“We went crazy and bought all kinds of stuff at an old mattress shop and dragged it down in there to prop up against concrete walls,” says guitarist Ryan Slate during a recent phone chat. “We made our own sound-absorption panels and basically turned the place into a studio.”

Slate says the band took its time getting just the right guitar and drum tones. They experimented with different amplifiers and instruments until achieving what more than a few critics have called a “diverse” approach to the six-string attack.

“We all came up listening to punk, roots music and oldies,” Slate says. “More recently, we’ve been influenced by bands that rely on a lot of creative guitar textures—bands like My Morning Jacket and The Walkmen.”

Given its name, Look Mexico should have no problem gorging on tacos, right?

“I love Mexican food,” Slate says. “Right now, I deliver pizzas in Austin, so I’m ready for something else. After this interview, I’m grabbing a burrito, man.”

Interesting show at Cheyenne Saloon (3103 N. Rancho Dr.) on May 23: Tempe, Ariz.’s humorcore act Psychostick, plus Green Jellÿ. The latter is the comedy-metal band that, amid the chaos of the grunge revolution, managed to somehow score a hit in 1993 with “Three Little Pigs.” If you recall, the video for this song was a warped claymation retelling of the classic pigs tale, only with appearances by Rambo, reefer-smoking swine, and a motorcycling wolf. Back in September, Jellÿ released its first album in 15 years, Musick to Insult Your Intelligence By, for which the band continues to tour. With any luck, there’ll be a stage show that falls somewhere between GWAR and Spinal Tap. In other words, prepare to laugh.

Suggested Next Read

The Losers (PG-13)

Movie Review

The Losers (PG-13)

Hot on the trail of Kick-Ass’s experiment in vacant violence, The Losers is equally wrongheaded. A team of U.S. Special Forces, led by Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Clay, gets double-crossed and then joins up with a mercenary named Aisha (Zoe Saldana) who insists they seek revenge against CIA baddie Max (Jason Patric). The film’s politics, like this entire effort, are sketchy. Each character seems to have sauntered in from a different movie.