Stenchcore, Zeppelins and Wolves

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, not with anxiety, but with the giddy realization that I have the best damn job in the world. This column affords me an opportunity to write about, review and alert you, dear reader, to every kind of musical artist and band stopping in Vegas—some acclaimed and well-known, many off-the-radar and underappreciated. I couldn’t do this without readers, so please keep your e-mails coming. It’s a long way down from Soundscraping to burger-flipping (whenever that dark day arrives), so help me confirm this wasn’t a dream.

Speaking of burgers, it’s Memorial Day weekend, when we honor dead U.S. war veterans by cooking meat on backyard grills and drinking too much. No disrespect to our nation’s fallen heroes, but all that’s kinda morbid, so instead I’ll say a prayer for them and head downtown to Beauty Bar for a show sponsored by 10,000-subscriber podcast Coverville. The May 26 livestream begins at 9:30 p.m. and is the first in a series of concerts hosted by Coverville’s Brian Ibbott. Local acts The Clydesdale, Mother McKenzie and Big Friendly Corporation’s Jeff Ford and siblings Melissa and Ryan Marth will perform rare covers, cool arrangements of classic songs and more. If you can’t leave the house for whatever reason, the show will be streamed live at, or you can just download the June 7 “777” edition via iTunes.

Robert Plant made it clear we shouldn’t hold our collective breath waiting for a Led Zeppelin reunion. He has too much integrity for that—or too much in his bank account already. Lucky for us Zep fanatics, late Zep drummer John Bonham had a son. This month, that son, a celebrated drummer in his own right, pays tribute to his father and the greatest hard-rock band of all time with Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, which concludes its summer tour 8 p.m. May 28 in the Access Showroom at Aliante Station. There’s three reasons you should be at this show: First, it’s produced by Annerin Productions (the folks behind The Pink Floyd Experience), which means you get giant screens displaying, according to a press release, “mood-setting home movies and photos, transporting audiences though a personal journey into Bonham’s past as the son of the great drummer.” Second, Bonham’s band—Tony Catania (guitar), Stephen Leblanc (keyboards), Michael Devin (bass), James Dylan (vocals)—kills. Third, “Stairway to Heaven” was released 40 years ago this year; betcha they will play the hell out of it.

Because of allergies, my sinuses are in need of clearing, so I’m going to have them blown away at the Guitar Wolf show at the Hard Rock Café on the Strip at 8 p.m. May 31. This Japanese garage-punk trio is responsible for inspiring me to crank more than one stereo system to speaker-breaking levels. I refuse to listen to Guitar Wolf with earphones because I know I will be tempted to permanently damage my hearing. The band is touring in support of its latest album, 2010’s Space Battleship Love, and you gotta love any band that claims the following as a songwriting approach: “Go up to the rooftop and wait until you receive telepathy from UFO.” Wow, is all I can say.

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Everything Must Go is benign comic Will Ferrell’s bid for respect as a serious actor. After a career dedicated to rotten movies, he seems to crave critical approval for at least trying to prove he can do something besides make dumb faces and rude noises. Unfortunately, like Jim Carrey, he faces the immaturity of an undemanding low-brow fan base that loves to see him make a fool of himself and wants nothing extra—no acting, no intelligence, nothing that (God forbid!) might be construed as good taste.