Zines, crushed dreams and spooky things

For the first time in the seven months I’ve been writing this column, I’m profoundly disappointed in you, dear readers. The Swell Season, the celebrated folk-rock duo comprising Irish singer/songwriter Glen Hansard and Czech pianist Markéta Irglová (who together starred in the best rock ’n’ roll film ever made, Once), was set to play this weekend, with ads targeting KNPR listeners. The Swell Season’s sophomore record, Strict Joy, was a highlight of 2009, earning uniformly positive reviews. And like more than a few really cool shows slated for Crown Theater in the Rio this year, the Season’s show was canceled due to poor ticket sales. Same thing happened last month to country-rocker Shooter Jennings, Waylon’s son, who just released his career-defining album, Black Ribbons. (This show has yet to be rescheduled.)

Actually, just about every Crown show I wanted to see has been canceled. Now Crown has a new booking agent, Case Colcord, who replaces the departing Joe Rinaldi and is bringing in fewer indie-rock and more mainstream acts. Look for a Sept. 15 UFC event hosted by Five Finger Death Punch and a Sept. 16 Bettie Page fashion show to be announced this week.

In sum, let me get this off my chest: Dear indie-rock brethren, please kill your bullshit, sad-sack $150 per month cable bills and invest in live-music tix for cool bands. Otherwise no one talented will come to Vegas, and the Crown will degenerate into featuring Steel Panther weekly. Seriously, heed my advice: You’ll thank me later.

OK, now for sunnier news. Local spoken-word bard/graveyard-shift cab driver Jeff Grindley has done the community a service by installing the LV Zine Library inside The Beat (the new downtown coffeehouse located inside Emergency Arts). For those who’ve never heard of zines, they were big in the pre-Internet-saturated ’90s, when everyone in their teens and 20s worked at Kinko’s and had access to photocopiers and colorful paper and self-published their thoughts, writings and comics.

Grindley’s library has already grown into the hundreds in the few weeks it has been open. But local punkers will get a particular kick (or Mohawked headbutt) out of the selection of music zines. Twenty-year-old copies of Flipside and Maximumrocknroll are neatly arranged inside adorable shelves, and last weekend I spent much time flipping through their pages and waxing nostalgic. The lost treasure in this library is Tippy Elvis #2, a zine created to promote the Dayvid Figler-fronted punk-rock polka band of the same name. A lot of imagination went into this publication. (There are comic-book interpretations of Figler’s lyrics courtesy of artist and Tippy teammate Sean Jones.)

Not to get grumpy again, but to fully understand what bands lost by submitting to the homogenized promotional fascism of Facebook, you really need to see this thing. Please don’t take zines home! It’s not a lending library, more like special collections. For more info, go to lvzinelibrary.blogspot.com.

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Enjoying a little Shakedown on Fremont Street


Enjoying a little Shakedown on Fremont Street

By Jarret Keene

Fremont Street is about to get all shook up by Las Vegas Shakedown, a supercharged, three-day (Aug. 13-15, $75, lasvegasshakedown.com) “rock ’n’ roll weekend” involving more than 50 punk, rockabilly and roots music acts performing at Beauty Bar and Las Vegas Country Saloon, plus burlesque performances and an art show.