On Sept. 16-19, more than 100 bands and countless music fans participated in the fifth run of Neon Reverb, a biannual nonprofit festival at 10 downtown venues. Here’s what we liked best:
Surf meets Indie: San Francisco-based Wisconsin natives the A B & The Sea brought us to tears when they covered the Beach Boys’ classic “Don’t Worry Baby.” Their own 1960s-inspired tunes rocked, as well.
The Big Red Party Bus: Red Bull’s double-decker didn’t give you wings, but it gladly gave you a lift! With DJ Supra on deck, the new dance-party-on-wheels boogied through downtown, dumping and loading festival-goers at venues along the way.
The Education Tour Bus: If a short, yellow school bus stole your favorite parking spot, blame the Texas boys of the band Education, who have been trekking the states in the bus, educating crowds with their catchy folk songs and allowing fans to hang in their ride.
The Aruba Endures: The night before the highly anticipated Soft Pack and Crocodiles show, host venue the Aruba Hotel/Thunderbird Lounge underwent renovations, provoking much anxiety. “The fiasco was an excellent edition of crazy sauce,” said James Woodbridge, one of the fest’s founding fathers.
The Pool Party at Gold Spike Hotel: It was the first-ever Las Vegas pool party where fake tans, hair extensions and enlarged breasts didn’t exist. Yeah Great Fine and The Smiles rocked the crowd. Don’t be surprised if next time someone jumps in the pool yelling, “I am a Golden God!”
Leopold and his Fiction: “I think we got a good crowd in here tonight!” yelled an overly enthusiastic Daniel James, singer/songwriter of the poetically gritty trio, whose get-you-out-of-your-chair-and-dance performance defined rock ’n’ roll.
Grade A Bands: A slew of internationally known artists—The Walkmen, Crocodiles and Abe Vigoda—raised the caliber of bands, attracting more music lovers and keeping us on our toes to find out what Neon Reverb will bring us next spring.