New York City Fresh Fest. What’s being billed as “an all-star roster of hip-hop pioneers from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s” is going to turn our hot summer frowns upside down. How can we not start the fall right with Salt-N-Pepa, Whodini, Doug E. Fresh, Kool Moe Dee and Sugarhill Gang? That’s a whole lotta old-school rap that can’t be ignored, especially if you grew up during those years. In the meantime, we’re going to dig up our parachute pants and hone our break-dancing and pop-and-lock moves. 5 p.m. Sept. 3, Henderson Pavilion, 200 S. Green Valley Parkway, HendersonLive.com, 267-4849, $49 ($39 advance).
Neon Reverb. The live-music lineup this fall is heavy on local bands—but what a great chance this is to see soon-to-be-breaking-big indie-rock group Most Thieves, hear the reunion of slam poet/lawyer Dayvid Figler’s ’90s quirk-punk posse Tippy Elvis and attend a CD-release party for the acclaimed Halloween Town. Headliners are legendary electro-punk act Atari Teenage Riot and Killers drummer Ronnie Vannucci’s new band, Big Talk. On top of such awesome sonic offerings (which take place all over, from Beauty Bar on Fremont Street to Gypsy Den in the Arts District to Royal Boutique Resort near the Strip), there are films, theater, poetry and stand-up comedy. If this twice-a-year fest isn’t too careful, it may become the next South by Southwest. Various times Sept. 8-11, multiple venues, NeonReverb.com, prices vary.
iHeartRadio Music Festival. Normally the arrival of Ryan Seacrest into Las Vegas makes us want to throw up a tiny bit in our mouths. But this time the American Idol host (with the help of Clear Channel) is bringing some truly great musical acts with him. (Not Black Eyed Peas; they’re beyond redemption). It sold out fast because of this two-day lineup: Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Alicia Keys, Kenny Chesney, Jennifer Lopez, Carrie Underwood, Jane’s Addiction, Nicki Minaj, John Mayer, David Guetta, Rascal Flatts, Bruno Mars, Sublime with Rome, Usher and Sting. This unusual musical shebang is Clear Channel’s celebratory launch of a new digital radio effort called iHeartRadio. Who cares? We just want tickets to this thing! 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23-24, MGM Grand Garden Arena, iHeartRadio.com.
Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival. We know that secretly you’re a big ol’ nerd who desires to wear chain mail, brandish a two-handed sword and rescue lovely maidens from the maws of evil dragons. Or whatever. Well, you can do all that, and drink ale and listen to cool live music at this year’s Vegas Ren Fair, which has moved to Silver Bowl Park. Irish/Celtic rock bands Wicked Tinkers, Tempest and Lexington Field will perform. From those giant turkey legs to hard-core jousting, this event looks like a good time for the whole family. 10 a.m. Oct. 7-9, Silver Bowl Park, 6800 E. Russell Road, LVRenFair.com, 455-8200, $10 (1-day), $25 (3-day), senior and child discounts.
Identity. House music invades Vegas again, this time on the Strip’s south end, with a stellar lineup of DJs and electronic artists that is just way too irresistible—Kaskade, Afrojack, Steve Aoki, The Crystal Method, to name a few highlights. Yes, we know it’s hot, but the only real way to cool down is by having a mind-blowing time shaking your ass off indoors to the pounding beat. Check out our can’t-miss checklist. Noon, Sept. 5, Mandalay Bay Events Center, 632-7777, $55.
Prince Kuhio Ho’olaule’a Festival. The city of Henderson hosts the Valley’s biggest Pacific Islands celebration. More than 50 live-music acts will perform, including headlining acoustic trio Holunape, one of Hawaii’s top groups. Holunape mixes ’40s- and ’50s-era Hawaiian tunes with original songs to create a relaxed, island-life vibe. There will also be crafts, food and fun for the whole family. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 10-11, Henderson Events Plaza, (200 S. Water St.), HendersonLive.com, 267-2171, free.
UNLV Jazz Ensemble I Concert. We don’t usually recommend student bands, but these young jazzers aren’t your everyday college crew. America’s premier jazz rag, DownBeat, named these kids one of the top ensembles in the country. This concert celebrates the release of a new UNLV Jazz Ensemble I CD, Bea’s Flat, (which boasts renowned guest artists Bob Sheppard on sax and Bobby Shew on trumpet). Music from the CD will be featured at the concert, with seven out of the disc’s nine tunes being student arrangements. Tentatively 2 p.m. Sept. 25, Artemus Ham Concert Hall, UNLV campus, pac.unlv.edu, 895-2787, $10.
Benise: The Spanish Guitar. This one’s too wild to miss. Legend has it Nebraska-born Roni Benise moved to L.A. to become a rock star and instead fell in love with nylon-stringed classical guitar and street-busking. PBS made him a star with the Emmy-winning special Nights of Fire!, and now the guy, who resembles a flamenco Fabio, is acclaimed for his “Latin Riverdance” productions. This one has it all—elaborate dance, orchestral pieces, highly lavish visuals. 8 p.m. Oct. 7, Henderson Pavilion (200 S. Green Valley Parkway), HendersonLive.com, 267-4849, $10.
The Lord of the Rings in Concert: The Fellowship of the Ring. Composer Howard Shore’s Academy Award- and Grammy-winning score for the already-legendary Peter Jackson adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel finally arrives in Las Vegas. More than 250 musicians (Munich Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Chorale, Phoenix Boys Choir, conductor Ludwig Wicki, soprano soloist Kaitlyn Lusk) perform live onstage, creating a sonic wallop to match the epic film, which is projected digitally on an immense 60-foot screen. If you call yourself a true nerd, you’d better be here. 8 p.m. Oct. 14, Orleans Arena, OrleansCasino.com, 284-7777, $35-$125.
Immolation, Jungle Rot, Gigan. Those with sensitive ears should skip this one, since it’s essentially a mini-death-metal festival. But these three bands each released a much (and deservedly) praised album in the last year, and it’s unlikely you’ll catch a better lineup of musically aggressive Satan-worshipers in one Vegas venue for a long time to come. (OK, they don’t really hail Lucifer, but it’s fun to stereotype.) Once you hear Immolation’s lurching, crepuscular “The Rapture of Ghosts,” you may be surprised how addictive this subgenre can be. 7 p.m. Oct. 21, Cheyenne Saloon, 3103 N. Rancho Drive, 645-4139, $12.