Rockabilly stilettos, Pentagrams, and L.A. Dragons

The heat has been surprisingly bearable this summer. But in a fit of greediness, I snuck out of town last week for the even cooler climate of Brian Head, Utah. Of course, I missed a few good shows, but I needed the reprieve and so did my eardrums. Now I feel energized again and ready to jump back into Vegas’ sonic maelstrom with you. Let’s do it.

Ah, psychobilly, one of my favorite genres, blending classic rockabilly with dark punk rock. Danish-American trio Nekromantix has been playing this style of music for more than 20 years and keeps getting better, funnier, weirder. Case in point: The band’s brand-new, Vegas slogan-referencing album What Happens in Hell, Stays in Hell contains 13 sexually lurid, hilarious and grotesque songs that sound like something Elvis Presley would write if his corpse reanimated inside a meth lab attached to a Southern blues club. Besides being something my 5-year-old would announce for no reason, “Bats in My Pants” is powered by pyrotechnical kit-smasher Lux, something of a YouTube sensation. Indeed, Orange County resident Lux, who joined forces with frontman Kim Nekroman in 2009, gives the band serious oomph, sonic and visual. See, the lovely Lux performs wearing stiletto heels—no big deal, except she’s playing double-kick drums. Now that’s tough. But she makes it look easy and very sensual. Watch her videos at and catch Nekromantix at House of Blues, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 11.

Among the first—if not the very first—American doom-metal acts, Arlington, Va.’s Pentagram is set to conduct satanic ritual abuse upon Cheyenne Saloon at 9 p.m. Aug. 14. Starting in the early ’70s, Pentagram unleashed many demos and rehearsal tapes into the heavy metal underground, but didn’t record a proper full-length debut until the mid-’80s, by which time more than a few doom acts (Saint Vitus, Trouble) had sprung up. But Pentagram’s 1985 debut, Relentless, is a must-buy, since it perfectly rekindles the lost fire of early Sabbath with slabs like “All Your Sins” and “Dying World.” This show will be hugely attended, so get there early.

I was sad and then I was happy when I learned my favorite Vegas synth-rock band Imagine Dragons had lost members and then gained some others. Yep, married couple Brittany and Andrew Tolman played their final show with band July 29 at South Point. But frontman Dan Reynolds, guitarist Wayne Sermon, and bassist Ben McKee are still together as the core unit to welcome incoming members Daniel Platzman on drums and Theresa Flaminio on keys. The Dragons have, for all intents and purposes, moved to L.A., where they’re recording with Grammy-winning producer Alex da Kid (Eminem, Rihanna) and slated to play the Roxy on Aug. 20 as part of the Sunset Strip Music Festival. After that, a West Coast tour as headliners.

Suggested Next Read

A Tree Grows on Charleston


A Tree Grows on Charleston


R.J. Reynolds taped a sheet of college-ruled notebook paper to a cocktail table near the outdoor stage that said, “To perform, just write your name.” The June night was young and attendance was sparse—the first three performers recycled a few times. The house band jammed, a self-proclaimed math geek vivisected his romantic dystopia and somebody read from a collection of somebody else’s poems. This was the scene in the Arts Factory’s backyard at the ninth Talky Trees, a multimedia art gathering every first Saturday of the month. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to hang around.