Jazz giants, loud orcs and Russian prog

I’ve been covering live music in Las Vegas for a decade now, so I can tell you that the quality and range of acts stopping through town has dramatically elevated. A few years ago, I had to scrape the bottom of the barrel (Avenged Sevenfold, anyone?) for shows to recommend. Now, perhaps due to Vegas’ ever-increasing visibility as Poster City of the Damned or Emblem of the Last Fun Spot in America, I get to be selective.

Although I didn’t mention the band in my column two weeks ago, let me take a quick moment to chastise all you aging punks for failing to acknowledge the Oct. 9 appearance by Italy’s Raw Power at Las Vegas Country Saloon. Raw Power is a hard-core punk band that did pretty well in the U.S. during the Reagan years, touring with Circle Jerks and D.O.A. Counted three-dozen heads in the room, so you missed out. Don’t do it again! Visit LVCountrySaloon.net for more shows.

On a different note, legendary fusion bassist Stanley Clarke (Return to Forever, Animal Logic) and his band of young guns—including lovely Japanese pianist Hiromi Uehara—play Aliante Station on Oct. 22. The Clarke band’s eponymous effort, released just a few months ago, is polished, funky and relaxed, and easily among the best jazz CDs of 2010. Expect to hear a few bop tributes in addition to RTF material.

Finally, one for the artsy indie post-rockers. Also on Oct. 22, Chicago’s Russian Circles will lay waste to that little bar on Charleston Boulevard called Meatheads. This three-piece instrumental band can make the heavens collapse they’re so powerful, and they’ve earned nothing but positive reviews for their third full-length last year titled Geneva. The dynamics and interplay between bass, drums and guitar is truly breathtaking, and once you hear and can comprehend the eight-minute “When the Mountain Comes to Muhammad,” you won’t settle for insipid pop music again.

On Oct. 23, a horde of black-metal bands invades Cheyenne Saloon for “Hallow’s Eve Fest,” along with Santa Cruz, Calif.’s A Band of Orcs, who try to beat GWAR at their own costumed game—except that these monsters are more fantasy-oriented than sci-fi-inspired. They also play in a technical thrash or death-metal style, despite wearing elaborate orc outfits and submerging themselves in fog-machine clouds. I am so psyched that I bought a costume.

In the Downtown Fremont area, Idaho’s Wolvserpent plays the Brass Lounge on Oct. 24. Forget Halloween; just step inside the fright show of this ambient doom metal duo, where eerie synth loops and tribal drums and fractured guitar lines combine to create sonic darkness. Can’t wait to feel the gloom engulf me!

How am I going to make it to all these shows this week? Let’s just say I’ll be spending more money at Starbucks than on tickets.

Got a spare Interpol ticket? Contact jarret_keene@yahoo.com.

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Phantom of the Suburbs


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Tony Award-winner Anthony Crivello is one of the few Las Vegas stars you’d never recognize at the grocery store. In fact, his transformation from human to Phantom is so complete that during VIP tours, people comment that he wasn’t in the show. It’s not just the makeup, latex prosthetics, bald cap and wig that alter his appearance, but the character acting as well. After watching such a tortured soul onstage, meeting the vibrant and fun actor is almost shocking. The athletic Crivello has a surprising sense of humor and a wise-guy personality.