Space-rock Christmas carol

I credit Seven writer and As Yet Unbroken drummer Pj Perez with turning me on to local modern-rock trio Atlas Takes Aim. In June, the band self-released it debut CD, The Way Out Is Through, and instead of sending me a review copy like any sensible band, they blogged and Twittered about the momentous occasion. Thankfully, Perez made me see their Dec. 9 set at Feelgoods.

Comprising singer/guitarist Mason Ian, bassist wife Billie “The Girl” Bundschuh, along with cataclysm-inflicting drummer buddy Joel Blickenstaff, ATA overlays soaring, emotional vocals over post-punk arrangements, with Blickenstaff’s invulnerable Dave Grohl-ish performance nearly stealing the show. The (War-era) U2-invoking “Undertow,” streaming at, encapsulates the band’s forceful, passionate sound.

But the song that impressed me most was a cover of the Christmas carol “O Holy Night” (available for download on ATA’s site). This underrated, largely-unheard-of power trio did it up in full-blown epic space-rock style. So wildly imaginative was the interpretation that it took me a minute to figure out why the melody was achingly familiar.

The Las Vegas WorldFolk Foundation wraps up its Music Klaus Benefit Concert Series this holiday season at 8 p.m. Dec. 23 at Boomers (3200 W. Sirius Ave.). Bringing together musicians, poets and artists to provide holiday cheer to the needy, this inaugural event involves the collection of toys, gifts and cash for the Shade Tree Shelter. (Previous Klaus shows have already occurred at the Shade Tree, Sam Ash and Borders Town Square.) Performing at Boomers will be Jayme Watlington, Maurice Lebeau, Aleh, Another Dying Breed, Epitaxy Band, Chris Duran, Blues on the Rox and the Dan Jones Trio. Admission: $5 or present an unwrapped toy at the door.

Finally, 2010’s Christmas albums were a dull bunch compared to previous years. But one CD I can’t keep myself from spinning is Indigo GirlsHolly Happy Days. Great harmonies without a bunch of hokum. And via e-mail I received some holiday music ideas from readers, too. Artist Stephen Hendee suggested The Legendary Tigerman’s “Fuck Christmas, I Got the Blues,” while musician/writer Joshua Ellis offered “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl. Local psychedelic dub druid freesoulJAH insists he can’t get enough of Frank Sinatra’s “Silver Bells.” Throw Atlas Takes Aim’s “O Holy Night” in there and I have a quite the mix!

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Next Big Thing


Next Big Thing

Robert Knight was the last man to photograph Stevie Ray Vaughan in concert before the guitar virtuoso’s untimely death. The final thing Vaughan said to him was, “You’ll know me when you hear me.” This is where the film Rock Prophecies begins, with Knight’s journey to find the next Stevie Ray. The Las Vegas Hilton recently ran a special screening of the documentary about rock ’n’ roll photographer Robert Knight, who has a gallery in the North Tower of the Hilton.