It’s weird and kind of cool: Whenever I sit down to work on this column, I always worry there’ll be nothing to write about, that the Vegas music scene will suddenly reveal itself to be a stale puff of machine-generated fog. As soon as I examine the calendar, however, intriguing shows abound. Here are a few.
After a nine-month hiatus due to a lengthy search for a new guitarist, the Vegas alt-rock band that almost broke through, As Yet Unbroken, returns to the stage—or at least the local dive-bar circuit. Comprising four artists in the realms of tattoo, fine-art and comics, As Yet Unbroken had been tearing up the scene with a number of well-received shows before momentum stalled. Now the band has recruited six-stringer Peter Stauber, who debuted at Boomers earlier this week along with a batch of new songs. Catch these guys for free at 9 p.m. July 2 at Aruba Hotel. Alert: The band includes drummer/Vegas Seven contributor Pj Perez, so if he ever wrote a negative review of your art show or band gig, now’s your chance to pelt him with fruit. Heck, I’ll even bring the produce!
Detox from all that testosterone on July 3, when South Korean girl group Wonder Girls will wow House of Blues. For me the guiltiest of pleasures, these five beautiful singers delivered the sweet 2009 single “Nobody,” the first song by a K-pop group to ever enter the Billboard Hot 100. They’ve opened for the Jonas Brothers (and are managed by the Jonas family), and are immensely popular in Asia. The goal seems obvious: to break Wonder Girls in the States, which will become a whole lot easier once their still-delayed full-length English-language album is released. (Setback being the departure and replacement of a member back in February.) Until then, they’re touring on the sugary power of “Nobody” and two other great tunes, “Tell Me” and “So Hot,” as well as a new track called “2 Different Tears” and a cover of Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t Cha.” This all-ages show begins at 6 p.m. with doors opening at 5. Admission is $35.
Lastly, awesome and as-yet-unappreciated alt-country artist Kasey Anderson plays the Double Down Saloon on the Fourth of July. This Portland kid strikes me as a young Steve Earle with a similarly huge talent for urgent, whiskey-scarred melodies and compelling narratives. His new album, Nowhere Nights, is rife with haunted characters and voices, many of them wounded by events outside of their control (the never-ending Iraq War in “I Was a Photograph”) and others squarely within (the bleak kiss-off of “Bellingham Blues”). Don’t miss this one, people.
Your iPod loaded with patriotic tunes? Here’s part of my playlist: Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.,” Don McLean’s “American Pie,” Tom Petty’s “American Girl,” and Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.” Fire up the grill!