A COMPLICATED JAM: Jam band music isn’t my thing at all, but I confess that I’m kind of soft on Particle, the Los Angeles-based trio that’s playing at the Hard Rock Café on the Strip on Dec. 15 ($15). They favor tight turns over meandering passages, and they use electronics to sweeten their mix; in that way they remind me of Poi Dog Pondering, the ’90s folk band that fell for house music and used it to make something unlike folk or house. Particle may aspire to be Phish, but they think like Rush—they’ve apparently never met a progressive rock rhythm they didn’t like. And it’s hard not to like a band that’s played a show at NASA. Nerds!
GREEN MIND: The Kottonmouth Kings, scheduled to appear at the House of Blues on Dec. 16 ($27-31), is one of those rare bands with no learning curve. Everything you need to know about the psychedelic rap-rock outfit you can learn by spending just 10 minutes on their YouTube channel: They aspire to be Cypress Hill, and they like smoking marijuana. A hell of a lot, broheim, on both counts. This isn’t my kind of thing, either, but I can respect it.
NOW ON SALE: It’s time that Social Distortion follows in the steps of Mötley Crüe and Santana and gets a Las Vegas residency. The venerable Southern California band is ideally suited to a monthly Vegas gig. Their meat-and-potatoes punk is loud, but not so loud that baby boomers will be repelled; they’ll be close enough to their biggest fan base to draw sellout crowds; and they have a true Vegas frontman in Mike Ness, who has a knack for Dean Martin-like storytelling. (Too good a knack: When patrons used to choose Social D live tracks from the Double Down Saloon’s taste-making jukebox, bartenders pressed the rejection button because they tired of hearing Ness talk about what it was like growing up punk.) Anyway, Social D comes to The Joint on Jan. 27 ($28).