Skateboard punks, Sea Kings and masked men

Still recovering from Neon Reverb, as are you guys, I hope. But there’s no rest for the wicked! Down some more Red Bull, Axe yourself (or, ladies, “refragrance”) and get your asses to at least one of these intriguing shows:

On March 18, Riverside, Calif., desert-rock band The Sleeping Sea King conquers Meatheads (1121 S. Decatur Blvd.) with a muscular, uptempo attack that will appeal to fans of Queens of the Stone Age. These guys sent me an e-mail about their show, directing me to their MySpace page, where I found a bunch of clutch-stripping songs that make me want to drive at top speed down Highway 50. Right now “The Guillotine” is my favorite Sea King track, with Joey Kohorst’s smoky vocals (which evoke Jim Morrison), Andre Morales’ punishing beats, and sinister riff after sinister riff packed like sardines into four rawking minutes. Let’s see if they bring it live.

If that’s not ghoulish enough, you have another March 18 option in the form of my favorite creature-obsessed Las Vegas surf-punk band, Monster Zero. These masked and face-painted men return to Double Down Saloon (4640 Paradise Road), which means the following: reverb-drenched guitars, rad costumes, fog machines, audio clips of B-movie dialogue, and incredible pop songs such as “In 3-D,” a metaphor that either describes a disaster movie or a disastrous relationship—or both. Vegas needs more acts with showmanship to match their musicianship, and Monster Zero has the perfect balance. Bonus: The band takes its name from a Godzilla flick.

Hektor Esparza is one of the coolest guys I know. A longtime skateboarder and rock-music critic, Esparza is always up to something awesome and life-affirming that involves quarter pipes and killer bands. This weekend’s no exception. The third annual Good Games skateboard education and youth festival—tagline: “Skate. Educate. Enlighten”—takes place 10 a.m.-4 p.m. March 19 at Winchester Cultural Center (3130 S. McLeod Drive). This one has it all—skateboarding contests, an appearance by skate legend Mike V, a juried art show, live art demonstrations, nutrition counseling and, crucial to this column, live music by up-and-comers Inherit the Sky. Word has it this post-hard-core band played to few hundred people at 702 Skatepark last month, and buzz is building.

Esparza, skateboarding program leader at Winchester, is throwing the party, which evolved out of his year-round cultural skateboarding program. Each year, he mentors a dozen “at-risk” kids, teaching them to apply their skills and talent as skaters, artists and musicians toward a positive end—namely, by getting an education.

“I saw that skaters were always involved in the arts, but there were often negative aspects about the punk and hip-hop lifestyle that tended to limit young people’s options. The program is about putting back the positive aspects of youth culture into skating and to steer kids in the right direction. Like going to college.”

Some tunes in my iPod’s St. Patty’s Day Playlist: U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” The Police’s “Invisible Sun,” Thin Lizzy’s “Emerald,” Van Morrison’s “Streets of Arklow” and Hothouse Flowers’ “Don’t Go.”

Suggested Next Read

Shocked and Awed by Swamplandia!

Book Jacket

Shocked and Awed by Swamplandia!

By M. Scott Krause

Karen Russell’s debut novel, Swamplandia! (Alfred A. Knopf, $25), is both magical and menacing. It’s the story of the Bigtree family, a group of eccentrics who run an alligator-themed amusement park in Florida. The park’s main attraction is the family matriarch—Hilola Bigtree—who wrestles alligators while her husband, Chief Bigtree, works both the spotlight and the microphone.