Fabled storyteller, fictional beast, punk princess

Feeling bad that I neglected to mention that Ministry of Love released a video weeks ago for the title track of their recent EP, A Promise for Forever, out on Negative Progression. (My favorite moment is when bassist Patrick Trout, late for band rehearsal, misses the city bus and falls to his knees.) View the YouTube video and buy the EP at MinistryOfLoveMusic.com, but don’t expect much else. Ministry of Love played its last foreseeable show at House of Blues on Aug. 17 as singer Meg Vitale is undergoing thyroid cancer treatment.

Aesop was an ancient Greek storyteller whose tales of animals in conflict and competition (“The Tortoise and the Hare”) have served as the primary children’s-lit template for centuries. He’s clearly a source of inspiration for the imaginative, verbally dexterous urban fabulist and San Francisco-based hip-hop artist known as Aesop Rock, who rocks Las Vegas Country Saloon at 9:30 p.m. Sept. 1. His recently released album Skelethon is dark, abstract, deeply personal and yet undeniably appealing in its gritty textures. The startling kung-fu music video for “ZZZ Top” is a great place to begin if you haven’t yet heard of this underground rap star. Or just come to the show and watch this guy crush the mic. A master in his prime.

Imagine Dragons slay Hard Rock Café on the Strip at 10 p.m. Sept. 5 in celebration of their full-length release Night Visions. I beat up this band for their too-poppy EP back in February, but I must admit their single, “It’s Time,” is growing on me. Also, they’re clearly blowing up into the next Killers. The Dragons are local, which means I hope they succeed, even if British hip-hop producer Alex Da Kidd polished off these guys’ rough edges and defanged them. But they’re still, at their core, a rock band, and front man Dan Reynolds keeps the band’s presence elevated and arena-aimed. This is your last chance to catch this group in a smallish club.

Belinda Carlisle was a punk-rock princess (with the Go-Go’s) before becoming a late-’80s/early ’90s pop queen, so I give her plenty of credit. She’s sung cool duets with Pat DiNizio (of the Smithereens) and Evan Dando (of Lemonheads) over the years that I really savor, but essentially I want to hear her deliver the hits, including “Heaven Is a Place on Earth,” a song I last heard the last time I frequented a roller-skating rink without irony. So, like, decades ago. Carlisle’s last album (2007’s Voila) is a collection of French pop covers, with studio performances by no less than Brian Eno. Still, I don’t expect her to perform more than a song from that release. Carlisle crashes Henderson Pavilion at 7 p.m. Sept. 6 with Flock of Seagulls and Men Without Hats, and she looks great at age 53.

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A&E Fall Preview


Additions (hello, The Smith Center), subtractions (good-bye, Phantom) and relocations (rent that U-Haul, Blue Men) mark the shifting entertainment landscape: Our new performing arts center opens the cultural floodgates, while the Strip welcomes newbies such as Rock of Ages and married music-makers Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, and waves ta-ta to that vengeful masked romantic and our favorite Peep, Holly Madison.



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