Cheatgrass, Swamp Wolves, Warbeasts

Jack Johnson fronts a damn-fine rock band called Dude City. So when Johnson emailed to say his 21-year-old cousin, Chandelle (pictured), is a badass singer-songwriter and plays her CD-release party at the Bunkhouse Saloon at 9 p.m. Jan. 12, I pay attention and mark my calendar.

Born in Northern Nevada, Chandelle lived in Vegas for a couple of years, playing in the band Vitamin Overdose before starting to work on her debut. Johnson co-produced it, played on some songs with his Dude City bandmates and released Cheatgrass Prison the day after Christmas on his own Devil’s Tower Records label. Cheatgrass Prison is crowded with dark, soulful folk—none of that weak acoustic-girl gruel. “Moonlight” conjures a haunted drive down the loneliest, most wind-blasted and tumbleweed-kissed stretch of U.S. Route 50. The tambourine-and-guitar blues “The Devil Is a Woman” is gothic and lovely, too. Chandelle’s voice melts into the song’s sidewinding rhythm like red taillights into the blackest night. She’ll be joined by San Francesca, Tarah Grace, Same Sex Mary and Johnson himself, who plays solo acoustic sets under the name Jack Evan Johnson. This show will rule. If you have doubts check out Chandelle’s entire album at

Also at 9 p.m. Jan. 12, there’s an intriguing show at Favorites (4110 S. Maryland Pkwy.). Headlining is Flagstaff, Arizona, sludge-punk outfit Swamp Wolf, touring in support of self-released The Brilliance of a Feral Mind, which came out in August. That’s one way to describe Swamp Wolf’s noisy din: brilliantly feral. But I especially look forward to hearing the locals on the bill—punk group Knockdown Godzilla, a band called Bargain Shark Steak and always-unpredictable-and-fuck-you-for-noticing alt-rockers China.

Old-school thrash-metal monster Warbeast slams into Hard Rock Café on the Strip at 9 p.m. January 15. (This show was initially slated for hope-it-eventually-opens Fremont Country Club. Seriously, what’s up?) The Texas band has been practically adopted by Down’s Phil Anselmo (also ex-Pantera), who released Warbeast’s 2010 debut on his own Housecore Records label and just brought out an Anselmo/Warbeast split last week. (Oh yeah, Down and Haarp are playing this show, too.) Doesn’t get thrashier than double-bass kicking, solo-shredding anthem “Scorched Earth Policy.” Horns up!

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