THE NEW OLD SOUND: I like my metal the way tetanus likes its metal: rusty, but sharp. There’s something about 40- and 50-year-old guys performing songs that they wrote in their 20s that appeals to a writer of fiction: These guys are stuck with the characters they created when they were young and angry, so in performing them as middle-aged men they must unearth new passion in songs they wrote when they were living out of vans and starving. Judging by Soundgarden’s recent show reviews, the resurgent Seattle grunge band is doing just that. In reviewing the band’s July 8 show in Newark, N.J., Billboard’s Jessica Letkemann praised Soundgarden’s “dark, epic power” and “well-machined sound,” gave props to their assured playing, and noted the “raucous, churning moshpit.” It seems likely that the band will enjoy a similar reception at The Joint on July 23 ($66-$200): Letkemann reported that the set list was jammed with crowd-pleasers. Here’s your chance to hear how well a vintage metal can age.
STEELING UP FOR AUTUMN: They’ve visited Las Vegas so many times that it’s easy to forget a show by Steely Dan once seemed like an event. The brainy jazz-rock partnership of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, so very ubiquitous in the 1970s, didn’t exist from 1981 to 1993; the band split after the release of Gaucho. And even though they’ve since reunited and released two acclaimed albums, I still think of the band as an endangered species. You never know which Steely Dan tour will be their last, so you’d best get yourself to the Palms on Oct. 13 ($75-$150).
TRY YOUR LUCK: The iHeartRadio Music Festival, a two-day blowout featuring every major artist who’s been played on commercial radio during the past five years, happens Sept. 23-24 at the MGM Grand. According to its website, the festival sold out in 10 minutes. But don’t change that dial, because organizers seem more interested in giving away tickets than selling them. Visit IHeartRadio.com to try to win yours.