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.

Suggested Next Read

Def Leppard

Concert Review

Def Leppard

By Matt Jacob

Yes, they performed one ’80s hit after another—they even strategically closed the pre-encore set with their iconic anthem “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” And yes, the fist-pumping dudes and hip-swaying chicks who packed the arena ate it up, singing along word-for-word throughout the entire 90-minute, 16-song set just as they did the first time they saw this British quintet a quarter-century ago. For that reason alone, Def Leppard received high marks for its Labor Day weekend performance.