So-called indie music continues to jump the proverbial shark. Consider the wild success of Vegas band Imagine Dragons. People label ’em as “indie” despite their first full-length, Night Visions, being honed by a commercial hip-hop producer. Well, now there’s Youngblood Hawke, also tagged as alt-rock, swooping down upon the mainstream. This Universal Republic-signed L.A. band, which plays Beauty Bar at 10 p.m. Oct. 11, takes its name from a Herman Wouk novel about a Southern writer who only ends up famous after dying. This shouldn’t be the band’s fate judging by Hawke’s impossible-to-resist debut single “We Come Running.” It’s got a big hook, dulcimer-backed synth lines and a beat to which even EDM zombies can groove. (Oddly enough, the band sounds very similar to pre-sellout Dragons.) Hawke is soaring on an airstream of buzz and hype.
Tribute nights, featuring Vegas bands covering songs by legendary artists, have moved to Artifice. This weekend (9 p.m., Oct. 13, free), the focus is threefold: Ramones, Blondie, The Clash. DJ Rex Dart will join Absinthe’s Penny Pibbets, The Lucky Cheats, Dreaming of Lions, Deadhand, The Objex, Candy Warpop and others in paying homage to yesteryear’s punk/new wave icons. Shoegazer-rock ensemble Warpop have a new singer, Amy Pate, whom I haven’t heard, so here’s my chance, even if she’ll be interpreting other people’s music. I look forward to hearing some cool sets and catching up with old friends.
The music is performed by a live band, and the voices are definitely raw and perhaps even bleeding profusely in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The Stephen Sondheim-composed musical thriller appears at Onyx Theatre thanks to Off-Strip Productions, a local nonprofit theater company. Sweeney starts its run (8 p.m. Oct. 12-14) as part of Off-Strip’s Affordable Broadway Series, with advance tickets priced at a super-reasonable $20. Since I’m hardly an admirer of musicals—“Tomorrow” from Annie gives me migraines—I hope to appreciate a show devoted to murder and cannibalism. (Subjects upon which my favorite death-metal bands dwell.) I haven’t seen the Tim Burton film adaptation, which is to my advantage, I think. Info at OnyxTheatre.com.
Time to stir up some shit: Punk band Battle Born apparently took umbrage at the Killers naming their new album after them. (Not really. Battle Born is also the name of the Killers’ Vegas studio and the slogan for the state of Nevada.) So the hardcore crew returned the favor by writing a song called “The Killers.” Thing is, Battle Born’s tune kicks ass. Listen at SoundCloud.com/battleborn/the-killers.