Witch accusers, beat punks, jazz singers

Variety is the spice of the life, they say. Well, it certainly holds true for this week’s Las Vegas music calendar, which is so fiery I might come away with a serious case of earburn.

The sonic equivalent of habanero sauce might be Phoenix black-metal band Abigail Williams, slated to burn down Yayo Taco (4632 S. Maryland Parkway) 7 p.m. Aug. 25. If you know U.S. history, then you recognize the name Abigail Williams as one of the Salem witch trial accusers (and the basis of the antagonist in Arthur Miller’s classic play The Crucible). Taking the historical figure’s name for his band, frontman Ken Sorceron released the metalcore-influenced Legend EP in ’05, and his inability to mine the same style of music has led to an interesting, varied discography. In ’08, he fired his band and recruited new members to fashion synth-heavy symphonic deathcore effort In the Shadow of a Thousand Suns. Still unsatisfied, Sorceron fired everyone again for his 2010 black-metal CD In the Absence of Light, which received, on the whole, better reviews. Absence of Light emanates a vibe of church-burning Norwegian black metal. No corpse paint or anything fancy in terms of a stage show; Abigail Williams brings musical intensity. If you like underground music, be there.

Speaking of the underground, Nashville’s The Ettes sound like 1950s-era female beatniks discovering Chuck Berry and rock ’n’ roll instead of Coleman Hawkins and bebop jazz. This simple yet compelling garage-punk trio performs 9 p.m. Aug. 27 at Beauty Bar (517 Fremont St.) and is touring in support of a new album, Wicked Will, which is a boisterous thing of beauty. Coming on like the Shangri-Las backed by The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Ettes know how to wrap a killer pop song in thorny blankets of distorted guitar riffs. Fans of the Black Keys, the White Stripes and The Kills are going to straight-up love this band. And I don’t blame ’em. Raw yet accessible.

Finally, legendary jazz singer turned TV-variety-show pop staple Jack Jones plays the Showroom at South Point 7:30 p.m. Aug. 27 and 28. Jones recorded dozens of albums for the Kapp and RCA labels in the ’60s and ’70s. His biggest hit is now-considered-chauvinist, Grammy-winning “Wives and Lovers” (penned by Burt Bacharach and Hal Davis). For my money, his top performance remains “The Shadow of Your Smile” from 1966’s The Impossible Dream. (There’s a live rendition posted on YouTube somewhere.) Outside of Palm Springs, Las Vegas is maybe the only city where Jones really makes regular appearances. Don’t miss a chance to see one of the last real American pop singers before that golden era is forever lost.

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Lead singer Martha Davis summed it up best after the Motels opened their three-song set with “Suddenly Last Summer” by letting the audience know that this tune could have been the theme of the entire night. As she sang, “One summer never ends/One summer never began” it was as if we were our own 1980s summer movie with our feet in the sand or our legs knee-deep in the pool, watching bands whose heyday was 30 years ago play their hits.

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