Animal Collective, Morrissey and Ty Segall are live acts you expect to see performing at indie-rock extravaganzas such as Pitchfork Music Festival and Coachella, sure. But Vegas is drawing the best thanks to an established festival (Neon Reverb), bookers with good taste (Brandy Vinyl, who nabbed the Melvins for October) and the Cosmopolitan’s continued coolness. Here’s a list of upcoming shows that we had better see you at—or else we’re confiscating your hipster credentials!

Concert Cheat Sheet

Four shows that will impress your friends.

Imagine Dragons CD-release party, Sept. 5, Hard Rock on the Strip, $17-$20, all-ages, 733-7625,

iHeartRadio Music Festival Sept. 21-22, MGM Grand Garden Arena, $72-$423, sold out, but you can win tickets at

Alice Cooper, Nov. 30, The Pearl at The Palms, $49, 944-3200.

Jane’s Addiction, Sept. 7, Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan, $50, 698-7000,

Tour Buzz

(Fall Preview Edition)

THE DIVAS: In the rush to celebrate Madonna’s Oct. 13-14 return to Las Vegas (MGM Garden Arena, $48-$383), another diva is nearly being overlooked—a diva with more Grammy wins (nine to Madonna’s seven) and a stronger singing voice than Madge ever had. That’s Mary J. Blige, and she’s performing at the Pearl on Sept. 7 ($112-$218), with another R&B powerhouse, D’Angelo. This is diva warfare, and Madonna may have to pull another “wardrobe malfunction” to even the odds.

THE BASSIST: If by Nov. 3 you haven’t checked out Vinyl, the new live-music venue at the Hard Rock Hotel, then this show by Mike Watt and The Missingmen ($15) is a must. Actually, it’s a must anyway: Watt is punk royalty, a veteran of the Minutemen, the Stooges and Firehose. He is the template from which all new bassists should be cast.

THE CROONER: Morrissey plays the Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan on Nov. 23 ($84). Why go? “This Charming Man,” “Everyday Is Like Sunday,” say when. And he’s making noise about retiring, so this may well be your last autumn fling with the Mozz.

Industry Nights: The Cosmopolitan hosts Sunset Sessions Nov. 8-10, which for the first time is open to the public. This industry event involves music directors from every media—TV, film, video games and advertising—along with record-company execs and music journos. But the real reason to drop in on this gathering is the Main Stage at Boulevard Pool, featuring a variety of artists such as the Parlotones, Susanna Hoffs and Steve Earle over the course of three evenings. Get this, though: You can’t buy tickets. Instead, you gain admission by committing time or donating money to a local nonprofit group. Cool, huh? More info at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas.

Garage Rocked: Your favorite Vegas weeklong indie-rock extravaganza Neon Reverb (admission cost varies, see for updates) returns Sept. 11-16 with at least one headlining band that’ll make your hipster heart skip a beat. Indeed, neo-garage rocker Ty Segall’s hard and heavy release Slaughterhouse emerged earlier this year to rave reviews, and he has yet another disc ready for 2012, Twins, set to hit record stores and the Internet in October. Other great Neon Reverb shows to anticipate: AgesandAges (Bunkhouse, Sept. 13), Moonface and Foxygen (Beauty Bar, Sept. 15), and Hunx & His Punx and Shannon and the Clams (at the Festival Wrap Party, The Bunkhouse, Sept. 16).

A New Wave of Ant: Adam Ant is back, and judging from YouTube video clips circulating out of the U.K., he’s on his game. He’s back in the pirate garb and favoring the loud, raw Antmusic—“Zerox,” “Prince Charming”—over the processed R&B shit that killed his career. See him at the Hard Rock Café on the Strip, Sept. 14 ($28).

Animal Magnetism: One of today’s most acclaimed art-rock acts, NYC’s Animal Collective, claws its way into House of Blues on Sept. 25 ($30-$33). This experimental-psychedelic-electro quartet will be touring in support of their ninth studio album, Centipede Hz, slated for a September release. The disc’s first single, “Today’s Supernatural,” is grindingly, blindingly good and suggests the Collective’s HOB set will be louder and more freaked-out than what we’ve experienced before.

Guaranteed Results: Peter Gabriel is performing his classic album So at Planet Hollywood on Oct. 5 ($76-$271). There’s no possible way this show could be anything but amazing. Even if he screws up “Red Rain”—which he likely won’t—there’s still “Sledgehammer,” “Don’t Give Up” and “Mercy Street” to redeem him.

Indie Darlings: Critics loved the 2009 debut album by The xx. Now the band is coming to do an Oct. 10 poolside show at the Cosmopolitan ($37)—and they’ll be playing music from a hotly anticipated second album, Coexist. Will critics swoon? They should, and so should you. This New Order-ish dance rock band is the real fucking deal.

Sonic Punishment: Legendary sludge-punk-metal masters the Melvins ($20-$25)—the Washington-state band that inspired Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain to pick up a guitar—make their way to Las Vegas County Saloon on Oct. 23. They just released their 18th album, Freak Puke, which includes a cover of Paul McCartney and Wings’ “Let Me Roll It.” These guys rarely play Vegas, so don’t miss this one. Oh, and please bring earplugs!

Punky Holiday Tradition: Ring in the holidays with the buzzing, beer-fueled punk rock of Social Distortion, performing at House of Blues on Dec. 20 ($40). They’ll play festive songs such as “Prison Bound,” and Mike Ness will tell stories about how much cooler punk used to be. Glad tidings!

Disc Scan

Fall albums on our radar …

AUG. 28: Local death-doom merchants Spun in Darkness team up with Virginia blackened-thrash trio Gravewürm for a split CD called Vengeance From Beyond the Grave on the Horror Pain Gore Death label. This is Spun’s sludgiest, heaviest, most old-school material to date.

Vegas Seven named Most Thieves the Best (Local) Breakout Band last year for a reason: This stadium-ready indie-rock group kicks ass, and their debut full-length album Unnecessary Maps is brimming with soaring rock tunes—“Muscle Memory,” “An Ocean Between,” “Archimedes.” Put this one on your must-buy list.

SEPT. 18: Local stars the Killers raise the rock ’n’ roll flag a bit higher with their fourth proper album, Battle Born, marking the band’s return after four years of studio silence. Lead single “Runaways” is pure driving music.

SEPT. 25: Punk-pop stalwarts Green Day begin the grandiose project of releasing three albums in five months with Uno!

OCT. 2: North Carolina neo-folk outfit The Mountain Goats go concept with Transcendental Youth, about the misfits and weirdoes of the world who strive (and fail) to fit into a straitjacket society. Literate and loose, the Goats are always good for a lo-fi thrill.

Suggested Next Read

Incompetent Incumbents


Incompetent Incumbents

By Michael Phillips, Tribune Media Services

Talk about your undecided voters. The new Will Ferrell/Zach Galifianakis vehicle The Campaign can’t make up its mind about dumb vs. smart; crass vs. crass-with-a-conscience; or cheap caricature vs. satire stoked by a sincere call to action. Comedies with something to say often go about saying it a dozen different ways, but this intended skewering of lowball politics and America’s corrosive cynicism regarding our elected officials, and how they got that way, struggles to film a cheap sight gag to decent effect.