Dear Vegas Music Scene,
I’ve come up with a few New Year’s resolutions on your behalf. Keep the following in mind as you work toward developing into a real live-music destination instead of a stop tacked on between gigs in Oakland, Calif., and Tempe, Ariz..
The scene’s first motion? For someone to please do something about the outdoor odor in the alley behind Beauty Bar. Smells worse than the death of rock ’n’ roll back there in the summer and fall. Or maybe it’s only Imagine Dragons’ credibility moldering behind a Dumpster. Either way, a city cleanup crew should pressure-wash each cobblestone until the air becomes breathable.
Neon Reverb needs to pledge—right here and now—to eliminate all crappy local bands from its biannual lineups. A music festival is only as good as its weakest weekend-warrior group. Better to risk musical runoff sluicing from L.A. than from Vegas, since it’ll make Vegas bands appear and sound more awesome. Look, I’m in a band, and we suck. Know why we don’t play Neon Reverb? Because we know we suck. Sucky local bands, take note. Don’t waste the time of Neon Reverb’s kindhearted, admission-paying strangers. (Note: Just because friends and family show up to your gigs doesn’t mean you’re any good. Ask my mom!)
Vegas bands, get signed. Or at least hire a publicist for your vanity label. Sure, your album’s available on Amazon, iTunes and various other bullshit online distribution points that trickle-down pennies into your bank account. But the reason you’ve only sold three downloads is because no one’s heard of you and never will (ignore the fantasies of how we’ll all be discovered via social media). Hell, look at local doom-metal outfit Demon Lung. Europe’s Candlelight Records handed them money to go into the studio and make an album, and the band barely tried to get signed. The members work cubicle-bound day jobs and play underground shows at Yayo Taco, a freakin’ taqueria that holds maybe 40 people tops. Now the Lung’s set to tour England and Germany. Meanwhile, too many great indie-rock bands (looking at you, Black Camaro, Dirty Hooks, Deadhand and Halloween Town) throw their records online and expect something to happen. It’s not. Get your skinny-jeaned asses in gear, people!
Finally, let’s resolve not to complain about what we have in Vegas. A few weeks ago, I saw Mercy Music perform an acoustic set in a hair salon in the Arts Factory, saw Dead Prez rock LVCS on Fremont Street and listened to an advance of the new album by Rusty Maples. I cherished every second of it. Every week provides something new and cool to love about music in this town. With new festivals (Life Is Beautiful) and new venues (Fremont Country Club) coming this year, the future’s bright. We should support these and other endeavors. Love it or love it, I say.