Shredding, Spellcasting and Shandaleer-ing

Two weeks ago I advised readers to check out Tokyo retro-rockers The Heiz at Double Down Saloon and Seattle nerd-rockers Kirby Krackle at the Vegas Valley Book Festival. Well, many of you showed and said hello. (Shout-out to Shelby, Tyrone and Hailey.) But I failed to mention a First Friday gig at Twelve 21 gallery featuring local indie-rockers Halloween Town. Despite a new band and a PA that wouldn’t cut it at a backwoods demolition-derby concession stand, frontman Ryan Pardey presented eight songs from his just-released CD. The musicians haven’t gelled yet, but Pardey himself is firing on all cylinders. Halloween Town’s laying low for the holidays, but visit for updates.

Enough recap. Here’s what you dare not miss this week. Guitar wizard Raj Rathor has been kicking around town since ’95, playing in bluegrass combo The Pickadillos, in the jazz-powered Raj Rathor Quartet, in a torch-song duo with his beautiful and gorgeously voiced wife Diana Smith, and in flamenco outfit Los Hombres. Now Rathor strips everything away with a delicate-yet-shredding solo-instrumental album, Tales of Time and Eternity. The fleet-fingered ax-man throws a CD-release show 6 p.m. Nov. 18, at Garfield’s (2620 Regatta Drive, Suite 118), a cool nautical-themed restaurant in Summerlin. When Rathor handles his acoustic Yamaha 12-string (with electric pickups) and starts his bottleneck technique, it’ll send chills down your spine. Pat Metheny and Django Reinhardt fans will love this. To hear samples, order Tales of Time and Eternity or for more info, visit

Portland, Ore.’s Spellcaster is a barely-out-of-their-teens quintet of power-thrash revivalists who recently conjured a full-length album, Under the Spell, for indie label Heavy Artillery. Under the Spell bursts at its tight-leather-pants-stuffed-with-cucumber seams with moshpit-inducers such as “Chainsaw Champion,” about the dark near-future when people pay to watch combatants kill each other with tree-felling equipment. B-grade horror-flick theme song “Nite of Hellbeast” is hellaciously funny, too. Find your inner ’80s headbanging teen when Spellcaster summons its magical-mystery metal at Bikini Bar (3355 Spring Mountain Road), 9 p.m. Nov. 18, with Toxic Artillery, Tyrants of Torment and Zodiac. Judas Priest lovers, take note!

Local rockabilly and country-blues cover band the Shandaleers keep things swinging in the Bunkhouse Saloon (124 S. 11th St.) at 9 p.m. Nov. 23. They have a few recordings posted on their site that sound killer: “Hillbilly Doll” by the Belmont Playboys, which sounds like The Band backing up Chuck Berry after drinking way too much moonshine, and Tammy Wynette’s “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad,” which strikes me as perfect background music for cooking meth in a trailer behind a Boulder Highway honkytonk. In sum, this gritty quartet should be a hoot, and I hope they bust out some Wanda Jackson numbers. (Please, guys?) The Shandaleers share a bill with Koffin Kats, the Returners and Holding on to Sound, so arrive on time.

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Flame On


Flame On

By Jarret Keene

High on Fire is one of those few heavy metal bands that everyone can get behind—blue-collar construction workers who buy their steaks at Wal-Mart and trust-funded hipsters who shop for organic tofu at Whole Foods. The band, which sounds like Conan the Barbarian punching a monster truck through a horde of armed and bloodthirsty orcs, demonstrates an authenticity of spirit you rarely encounter in today’s studio-refined, software-polished hard-rock scene.



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