No less than the Austin Chronicle decreed blues-rock duo Not in the Face as having put on one of the most memorable shows in the history of the Texas city’s renowned 20-year-old rock club Emo. So my anticipation was sky high as bottle rockets and firecrackers screamed and popped in the alley behind the Beauty Bar. I wasn’t let down. Ginger-mulleted singer/guitarist Jonathan Terrell and gruff drummer Wes Cargal played like the shit-kicking honkytonk bartenders they are by day, executing a frenzied and ferocious set of hard, heavy rock. From the stomping gutbucket majesty of “Brass Tacks” to the Paul Westerberg country-punk of “Downtown Girl,” the two musical compadres generated a helluva fine racket for a small but spirited crowd. Maybe it was the free PBR and overdone hot dogs the Beauty Bar kept offering on the occasion of Independence Day, or perhaps it was the cool vintage black-and-white teen-exploitation film projections the band brought with them, but I swear that, at least live, this band sounds every bit as good, or maybe even better, than the Black Keys. If I hadn’t still been thoroughly hungover the next day, I swear I would’ve rushed to Not in the Face’s follow-up gig at Double Down Saloon. Ultimately, the band provided exceptional Fourth of July pyrotechnics. ★★★★☆
A Peek at Life Is Beautiful 2017
Gorillaz are coming to Las Vegas for the first time ever. 2016’s Grammy winner for best new artist, Chance the Rapper, will return. English rockers Muse will bring their dizzying live show to the streets of Downtown. And that’s just the top of an eclectic bill that features more than 70 acts, along with comedy, interactive art installations, a group art exhibit featuring the work of Mark Ryden, Tara McPherson and Shepard Fairey and much more. Last year saw more than 137,000 attendees trod the festival footprint. Who’s ready for more?
Best of the City 2016
Our seventh annual celebration of all things Las Vegas, from the best place to fix your speeding ticket to the best Bloody Mary.