Imagine Dragons, imaginary band names and food-truck karaoke

It’s my birthday on May 13, and I honestly don’t know what to do with my aging rock-critic self. I should probably see too-smart Elvis Costello run his veritable chainsaw through a musical dictionary at the Palms. But I’m leaning toward catching my favorite Las Vegas band, Imagine Dragons, celebrate the release of their new EP.

Forgive the hyperbole, but It’s Time contains eight of the best rock songs I’ve heard this year, particularly the soaring, guitar-chiming “Amsterdam,” which gives Coldplay a run for their epic, anthemic pop songwriting money. Dan Reynolds and Brittany Tolman’s harmonizing on the chorus makes the hair on my neck stand up, and I just can’t understand what’s left for this remarkable quintet to accomplish locally. They’ve won every battle of the bands, been featured in every newspaper and earned every distinction. Damn, they’ve even opened for Weezer and Interpol. If Universal doesn’t sign these guys, then I give up. The party starts at 8 p.m. at the Hard Rock Café and includes another terrific Vegas act, synth-pop quartet Parade of Lights. Tickets are $13 and this is an 18-and-up show. Screw it, I’m going. For more info, visit

Jealous you didn’t come up with the band names Nunpuncher, Sacrilicious or The Swirlies? Think you have a better, crazier, funnier fictional rock moniker in your head? Then consider entering Andrew Kiraly’s contest to promote his forthcoming debut novel, Crit. E-mail your best imaginary band name to by May 15. The winner will enjoy dinner and drinks with Kiraly, receive a signed copy of Crit and, most importantly, achieve “literary immortality.” That’s right, according to a news release: “The winning band name will appear in a scene in this much-anticipated novel about rock ’n’ roll, Las Vegas, lounge singers and shoplifters.” Warning: You’ve got to beat my entry—Scratcher Balzac. See if you can top that, Soundscrapers! Entrants are also encouraged to create imaginary logos and fliers for their bands in jpeg format to be posted on the Crit Facebook page and at The winner will be announced at the Crit launch party July 8 at Artifice.

It’s about time someone brought together the until-now-disparate worlds of karaoke, food trucks and hot-dog binging! Brace your gut and eardrums for Ellis Island’s Food Truck Smash-Up from 5 to 10 p.m. on May 28. Five of the top food trucks in town—Lulu’s on the Move, Fukuburger, Sloppi Jo’s, Slidin’ Thru and the Cheese Steak Truck—will set up shop in the parking lot while a karaoke contest rages inside the lounge. There’s also a hot-dog-eating contest with a $1,000 cash prize, plus a bunch of raffles. To enter the weiner-scarfing battle, you must pre-qualify at 5 p.m. on May 18 or 25 in the lounge. Look for me this Wednesday; I’ll be wearing my white Cowboy Mouth T-shirt for maximum ketchup stainage. No one can down a sausage like me! For more info, visit

Suggested Next Read

Lovers, imbeciles, anarcho-punks


Lovers, imbeciles, anarcho-punks

By Jarret Keene

As a music critic, I get a ton of review CDs in my mailbox. Ninety percent of it ranges from bad to pretty good, but every now and then a beautiful jewel of an album arrives, transfixing me so much that I want to learn more about and champion the band in question. My current dark-horse release is Lovers’ Dark Light.