Tour Buzz

THE POOL GUYS: You had better appreciate all that Las Vegas does for you, youngster. There are but a handful of places on this planet where you can attend poolside concerts on warm summer evenings. Vegas boasts two such shows this weekend, both of them winners. Ben Folds (pictured) plays poolside at the Cosmopolitan on July 15 ($35), and Chris Isaak makes beachhead at Mandalay Bay on July 16 ($40). Folds’ show is the more enticing of the two: The witty singer-songwriter is touring behind a great album (Lonely Avenue, his collaboration with novelist Nick Hornby), he’s drawing generously from his catalog (according to Setlist.fm, his June 15 show in Dallas included such faves as “Narcolepsy,” “Steven’s Last Night in Town” and the deathless “Brick”), and he’s got the improvisational chops a performer needs to transform a pool show into a pool party. True, Isaak is no slouch by comparison—he’s one of the most charming performers you’ll ever see, velvet-voiced and funny as hell—but he’s more of a sit-down-and-watch-me type. Folds demands your full engagement, and he gets it.

DEAL OF THE WEEK: On July 15, Cee Lo Green headlines Swarm the Strip, a Jack Daniel’s-sponsored party at MGM Grand’s Wet Republic. The cover is a mere $20, which is pretty damned cheap for a Grammy-winning soul singer and television star. You can say what you will about Jack Daniel’s various beverages (I haven’t touched one in years), but it’s awfully nice of the distiller to give us the chance to gather at the MGM to sing “Fuck You” at the top of our lungs—and at a bargain!

HOLA, EIGHTIES: The House of Blues welcomes Mœnia on July 14 ($25-$29). This show is unusual for two reasons—the first and least of which is that it’s happening at the House of Blues, a venue that scarcely plays host to anything these days aside from glam-metal-parody outfit Steel Panther (11:30 Friday nights, locals free). Even more unusual is the provenance of Mœnia, a three-piece synth-pop outfit from Mexico City: Well, they’re a synth pop band from Mexico. Until today, I had no idea that this largely British musical idiom existed outside Europe, Australia and urban America, but Mœnia has that certain 1980s sound—a little bit of Depeche Mode, a whole lot of OMD—that makes you want to reach for the Aqua Net. Why not?

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As a critic, it’s not hard to develop some level of contempt for the material you review. Books, movies, music—for every buried gem, there’s a mountain of garbage demanding your time but completely unworthy of your attention. Vegas native Andrew Kiraly knows the feeling. As former editor at both Las Vegas CityLife and the late Las Vegas Mercury, he’s written more than his share of music columns, features and profiles. Cut Kiraly, and he bleeds alt-weekly ink.

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