Godzilla flicks, Southern soul, Latin rock

The local live-music calendar is as wild and wooly as ever. Daikaiju, a Godzilla-themed surf-rock band from Alabama, blew my mind at the Double Down Saloon last week, so much so that they made me bust out my old VCR and dust off my VHS collection of giant-monster movies. It made for a nice “lost weekend,” even if nothing got done. Right now my house is a Japanese kaiju film called Attack of the Dirty Laundry Piles. Someone hand me a beta capsule, please!

My sensitive friends insist Drive-By Truckers is today’s finest Southern hard-rock band, but I beg to differ. No one plays sweatier, greasier, nastier, louder, more soulful, Bible Belt-based, guitars-cranked, psychobilly-boogie-metal than Atlanta ’s Nashville Pussy, who play the Hard Rock Café on the Strip with Reverend Horton Heat (8 p.m. Sept. 16, $20). Since 1996, this quartet, fronted by Blaine Cartwright and his beautiful, blonde, barely reformed exhibitionist lead guitarist and wife Ruyter Suys (do not image-search her at work, please) has toured its collective ass off in the States and overseas. The Pussy hasn’t released an album since ’09’s From Hell to Texas, but it’s chock-full of killer songs—particularly protest rocker “The Late Great U.S.A.,” which laments our Land of Liberty’s disappearing freedoms. My favorite lyrics: “Now I’m back in the land of worthless cash/No stops cops and no hash/Touching down in my hometown/You know I love Atlanta G.A./It’s getting harder each year/Drinking watered-down beer/In the late great U.S.A.” Amen.

If the Pussy sounds too hairy, let me suggest that same evening: Caifanes, who bring their new wave-tinged rock en Español to House of Blues (8 p.m.). The word “caifanes” is 1940s Mexican gangster slang for “cool dude,” and no one’s cooler at this interesting subgenre than these five guys from Mexico City. A longtime staple of Latin MTV, the quintet worked with major labels (BMG) and legendary producers (King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew) and dominated Mexican alt-rock for two decades, influencing everyone who followed. Their early work—go ahead and YouTube a song called “Viento”—sounds remarkably like Vegas’ own Killers. Definitely worth checking out.

There’s even more Latin rock with which to shake your culo (that’s “ass” in Spanish, gringos) when Ozomatli oxygenates the MGM Grand Hollywood Theatre 10 p.m. Sept. 17-18 as they support Gabriel Iglesias, a stand-up comedian who people tell me is pretty damn funny. Ozomatli is a massive 10-piece machine that puts everything into the musical blender—rock, jazz, funk, reggae, hip-hop, salsa and anything and everything else they find hanging out in their collective imagination. With a ripping horn section, the band hits you like a ton of sonic bricks in a live setting, and nobody leaves their show disappointed or not having danced. The L.A. band’s last album, 2010’s Fire Away, catches fire with every track, and trust me when I say these shows will be among the year’s best in Vegas.

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Tupac’s 15th Annual Vigil


Tupac’s 15th Annual Vigil

On Sept. 13, it will have been 15 years since the world lost hip-hop legend Tupac Shakur. The mark he left on the music industry is undeniable, and his murder at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane inadvertently turned Las Vegas into one of hip-hop’s historical landmarks. Every year since his death, his fans have descended upon Las Vegas to honor Shakur at the scene of the crime. (This year, the vigil begins at 7 p.m. on the southwest corner of the intersection.)