Horror punks, blues cheats, lounge leaders

Cool Vegas bands I rarely get to see live are emerging from their practice spaces this week. I look forward to having them rip my ears clean off.

Vegas nerd-punk trio 3d6 casts its geek ’n’ roll bones at Double Down Saloon at 10 p.m. Dec. 14. They’re joined by a new find—horror-thrash-punk group Xomby. This undead-obsessed three-piece has been kicking around for a couple of years, and I’m told the band’s debut CD is almost finished, having been recorded at ex-Cult drummer Lez Warner’s U.S.-U.K. studio. Xomby plagues listeners with tunes such as “End of Days,” in which an insane street preacher rambles a vision of a black future, and “All Your Flesh Belongs to Me,” a twisted love song told from a stalker’s point of view. If you’re a fan of TV show The Walking Dead, you should run to see these wretches.

Crazy Chief dons the war bonnet at 11 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Lounge in the Palms for what will likely be the loudest rock band to ever play that cozy casino nook. The Chief took some scalps back in September during their debut performance at Neon Reverb, and I’m a huge fan of a recent song the band posted on its Facebook page—“Strange Lovers.” It has a hypnotic Sex Pistols-whipping riff (thanks to guitarist Jesse Amoroso) and a soulful Jim Morrison vocal (courtesy of front man Drew Johnson), and I can’t play it enough. The Chief wields another wicked riff-monster, “Crystal Eyes,” that’ll keep you awake. Hard, heavy rock with a singer-shaman edge.

The Lucky Cheats deal an ace-sweetened musical hand when they open for retro-rock legends the Blasters at Vinyl at Hard Rock Hotel at 9:30 p.m. Dec. 16. The Cheats are a Vegas-based full-service blues-party ensemble led by singer/bassist Luke Metz and powered by harp-blower Jeffrey Koenig. They’re a guaranteed good time. Original songs such as the Chicago-style “Light That Blinds” and the Southern-fried, riff-driven “Hellfire Healing” are difficult for dancing feet to resist. Metz remains an underrated songwriter and a real admirer of vintage American pop and R&B. I’m confident anyone who likes to simultaneously drink and shake his or her ass will crave this crackling quartet.

Suggested Next Read

A Working Theory of Love shows innate and wholly human intelligence

Book Jacket

A Working Theory of Love shows innate and wholly human intelligence

By M. Scott Krause

Scott Hutchins’ A Working Theory of Love is all about artificial intelligence, but virtually everything in this novel rings true. The characters are rich and fully drawn, the premise feels timely and plausible, and the plot is layered and emotionally satisfying. This first novel (Penguin Press, $26) manages to be smart and funny while asking serious questions—“What does it mean to be human?” and “What does it take to maintain a loving relationship?”—and challenging readers to consider the emotional weight of words and the repercussions of silence.