Local bands playing covers of famous alt-rock groups are going strong at the Royal House. Following two very successful evenings involving the music of the Pixies and Talking Heads, this week’s tribute-night (9 p.m. April 27) focus is Nirvana. Two bands I hope to see channeling the teen spirit of the late Kurt Cobain are China (pulverizing grunge) and Asterionella (psyche-rock shoegaze). Indeed, these ’90s-throwback groups are perfectly suited for laying into tunes that have aged far better than your college flannel shirts.
Another highlight will undoubtedly be punk-edged Deadhand, whom I continue to champion in this column because they’re simply the best unsigned rock band in town, hands down. I spoke with frontman Brendan Scholz, who confirmed he and his gang of crackerjack musicians will unleash five (mostly) Bleach-era songs—“Downer,” “Territorial Pissings,” “School,” “Negative Creep” and “Sappy” (a.k.a. “Verse Chorus Verse”). I saw Nirvana in the flesh way back in the day, and I’ll go so far as to say this: Deadhand’s the better live band. Seriously. They’re that good.
Haven’t even thought about ska (the most irritating musical genre outside of polka) in years. In fact, the last ska-punk show I recall attending was the Aquabats at the long-since-defunct, all-ages club Tremorz more than a decade ago. It was tons of fun, and because the band released a strong new-wave/pop-punk album last year, Hi-Five Soup!, which my 3-year-old son can’t get enough of, I’m treating him and myself to seeing them at Viva Ska Vegas (noon April 28, Henderson Events Plaza & Amphitheatre). My favorite recent track is “The Shark Fighter!” with its kid-friendly lyrics: I fight ’em in the water ’cause that’s where they are/When I smell blood, I come running/Then I put them in a shark cage. The band also has a new live-action comedy TV series on The Hub called The Aquabats! Super Show! For more info and complete list of bands performing, visit VivaSkaVegas.com.
A quick shoutout to Canadian all-female goth-metal. That’s right, Kittie is set to sink its claws into Cheyenne Saloon (10 p.m. April 29). This feisty quartet released its sixth studio album, I’ve Failed You, last year, and it boasts great songs, including thrash-inflected “We Are the Lamb.” Kittie roars like a lioness, not a LOLcat; bring earplugs.
Finally, next week catch straight-out-of-Tokyo noisegrind duo Sete Star Sept as they set fire to Yayo Taco (7 p.m. May 3). Kae (vocals/bass) and Kiyasu (drums) generate a helluva racket for just two musicians, and I’m always hot to see any international group that manages to play an underground Vegas venue, what with the hassle of getting past the Department of Homeland Security. This extreme band deserves an audience of extreme audiophiles, so whatever you do don’t let this show fall off your calendar. Local grind merchants God’s America open.