Close to Modern

Hard Rock Café on the Strip, Sept. 9


Keep an ear out for what this band will become. They formed in 2003, as an instrumental project between guitarist Fernando Lara and bassist Danny Rodriguez. The duo added vocalist Miguel Martinez and drummer Howie Howell to their lineup in 2009. Since then, the quartet has been cultivating a raw-yet-precise style akin to Joy Division and The Cure.

CTM’s set at the Hard Rock Café was made up of songs guaranteed to make you fall in goth with them. The whirling guitar, hard-hitting snare and strong bass line lured my body into dancing. The small crowd gazed upon the stage as Martinez serenaded them with unrequited-love songs. CTM saved the best for last with their new song, “Stay.” Lara’s aggressive guitar-playing, Martinez’s howling, Rodriguez’s fierce bass and Howell’s sped-up tempo on “Stay” took the band down a colorful musical path.

Close to Modern will play the Beauty Bar on Sept. 24. Look out for their self-titled EP, which is scheduled to be released in a few months.

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It was a true rock ’n’ roll show as the Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter took to the outdoor stage overlooking the Strip. Backed by his band, Relentless7, Harper offered his distinctive vocals and funkified jam sessions. The packed poolside crowd swayed in unison as the 41-year-old segued from his latest single, “Rock ’n’ Roll is Free,” into “Diamonds on the Inside” before breaking into the soft and elegant “Masterpiece,” one of a few new tracks performed.



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