Sci-fi skatepunk, funereal pop, female R&B

Word on the Fremont Street is a two-day music festival, Life Is Beautiful, is coming downtown next fall. The promoter is Another Planet, known for its successful stages (Jack White, Skrillex) at Outside Lands in San Francisco. Life Is Beautiful also involves the Downtown Project’s marketing arm MAKTUB and Aurelian (which launched the Cosmopolitan’s live-music offerings). There’s a website,, but no lineup. Coachella downtown? Let’s hope.

I’m old enough to recall classic ’80s skate-punk, which I discovered by attending all-ages shows in Florida. An O.C. band I never caught live was D.I., led by Casey Royer, who used to drum in Social Distortion and the Adolescents. D.I. released two gothy, post-apocalyptic records—Ancient Artifacts, Horse Bites Dog Cries—that were hugely influential in punk and metal circles. (Slayer covered a couple of D.I. tunes.) The band’s familiar tracks are “Richard Hung Himself” and “Johnny’s Got a Problem,” but I prefer Cold War-wounded, doom-laden “Purgatory II,” in which Royer intones: God’s creation has reached insanity/All the world’s leaders are such liars/They’ll be doomed, burning flesh/Into the fire. Over the years, D.I. has only released the occasional album, most recently On the Western Front (2007). I’m looking forward to local openers Cherry 2000 (three-piece pop-punk) and American Buckshot (hardcore trio). The latter features Gilbert Estrada, this town’s best drummer. It all happens at 8 p.m. Nov. 23 at Las Vegas Country Saloon.

“Funereal pop” is a tag I don’t see often. So I’m eager for the Casket Girls (pictured) to open up their veritable box of creepy, grainy melodic textures at House of Blues at 8 p.m. Nov. 24. Casket Girls is comprised of Savannah, Ga.-based sisters Elsa and Phaedra Greene and Black Moth Super Rainbow guitarist Ryan Graveface. Together they craft Ouija-summoned tunes like “I’ve Got a Secret,” a girl-group hit from the other side, as well as the electro-dirge title track from the band’s new CD Sleepwalking. Cure your sweet tooth with these Southern coffin queens’ sugary, spectral hooks.

Now for a different genre. R&B/blues singer Nikki Hill might be based in St. Louis, Mo., but she grew up in Durham, N.C., so she comes by her Southern-gospel-soul roots honestly. Hill offers smoky sides of rockabilly, Memphis blues and even Motown pop. Her originals, such as “I Got a Man,” have such a classic sound that I had to double-check to see if Otis Redding had written them. Hill just released her eponymous debut disc via Deep Fryed Records, and she’s touring the country in support of it. She plays Bikini Bar (the old Sand Dollar Blues Lounge) at 8 p.m. Nov. 28.

Suggested Next Read

Richard Cheese


Richard Cheese

By Cindi Reed

Why doesn’t the creamy-voiced crooner have a permanent gig in Vegas? That’s the question that wouldn’t go away while Richard Cheese dolled out his signature shtick—singing lounge versions of popular songs—in the very same place that Steel Panther, his hair-metal counterparts, perform Saturday nights. The cheese-meister displayed all the makings of a Vegas star. He pleased the Old Vegas nostalgists with his swingin’ rhythms, tuxedo jacket changes and prop martini glass.