REVIVAL REVIVAL: The Faint play their 2001 album Danse Macabre from start to finish at the House of Blues on Nov. 24 ($32). Here, now, are a few fun facts about the Faint. One: The Danse Macabre album is a new-wave throwback—which means that when you celebrate this decade-old record, you’re actually getting nostalgic for nostalgia. Two: The Faint used to include among its members one Conor Oberst, who left to form Bright Eyes. And three: Tickets to this show are actually only $23, but Ticketmaster adds a $9 service fee.
LIMELIGHT RUSHES IN: I remember when Rush—at the MGM Grand on Nov. 23 ($68-$171)—released its synthesizer-heavy album Signals, in 1982. Can you guess what the consensus opinion was among my friends, nearly all of whom were pot-smoking, 12-sided-die-rolling Rush fanatics? They thought that the Canadian trio was creatively bankrupt. And at the time, I thought they could be right. I liked Signals fine, but it was no Moving Pictures, no 2112. Since then, Rush has released 10 studio albums, which sounds like a lot until you consider that the band cut nine records in its first decade. But the engine at the band’s core hasn’t died. What we thought was Rush losing its teeth back in 1982 was really the band finding its humanity. Rush has recorded some great albums in the intervening years, from 1984’s Distant Early Warning to this year’s Clockwork Angels, and they’ve done it without sacrificing bombast or chasing trends. The melancholy fact is that someday, Rush really will give up and retire—but they’ve yet to go bankrupt creatively, and I doubt they ever will.
NOW ON SALE: We sure love our divas here, you know? We’ve had Madonna, we’ve had Axl, and now we’re getting Lady Gaga at the MGM Grand on Jan. 25-26 ($70-$230). By then, she’ll have cut a jazz record with Tony Bennett—true story; I just read it in Billboard—which means that Axl should probably think about cutting a big-band record while he’s in town, just to keep things even.