Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk said: There will always be an underground. In Vegas this week, below-the-radar shows are teeming.
Look for two especially gnarly underground metal shows at Favorites (4110 S. Maryland Parkway). First, Tucson’s Godhunter descends at 9 p.m. March 1 with locals Demon Lung, China, Lotus and Blister Unit. Godhunter’s 2012 disc, Wolves, is a sludge-rock-monger’s wet dream, full of down-tuned guitars, dinosaur-stalking-the-forest rhythms and throat-shredding vocals. The quintet even brings a bit of the blues in John Lee Hooker-meets-Helmet groove of “Dead Hooker on the Side of the Road.” Then, at 6 p.m. March 3, New Jersey “raw-fi” black metal unit Krieg kills eardrums with Salt Lake City’s Odium Totus and Vegas outfits Breath of Sorrows, Spun in Darkness and Sarcalogos. Krieg has been kicking around since the mid-’90s, releasing a series of well-respected albums and EPs. The band started out playing primitive, noisy black metal but has gradually expanded its palette to include ’80s elements of goth-rock and shoegaze. This show will slay.
On an altogether different musical note, alt-country performer The White Buffalo stampedes into the Hard Rock Café on the Strip at 9 p.m. March 2. The White Buffalo is the stage name of Jake Smith, who last year released his second full-length Once Upon a Time in the West. The album has some terrific tunes on it, including the banjo-powered, faster-than-a-locomotive “How the West Was Won,” about triumphing over personal adversity—and the bottle—in order to find love. Smith is a classic outlaw songwriter in the tradition of Johnny Cash and Steve Earle, so if you need a serious shot of dark yet enjoyable whiskey-fueled cowboy-rock, shoot this.
Swedish technical-metal juggernaut Meshuggah joins Intronaut and Animals as Leaders in raising unholy hell at House of Blues at 6 p.m. March 3. This time last year, Meshuggah released its seventh album, the crushing, colossal-sounding Koloss. So many tracks from this album are absolutely skull-pummeling—the lurching riff-frenzy of “Demiurge,” for instance. But my favorite song right now is “Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion,” a rhythm-staggering slab of sheer brutality that makes me pity House of Blues security because the moshpit there will be sick. Sick, I say.
San Francisco noise-rock, post-punk darkwavers The Soft Moon easily eclipses all other live-music options at 10 p.m. March 6 at Beauty Bar. Stripped-down, menacing and bathed in jet-black, The Soft Moon offers a harder take on industrial-influenced rock than anything Interpol ever did. At the same time, this is definitely the goth event of the year, one that’ll certainly appeal to everyone—from vampire-fiction readers to dark-fantasy role-play gamers to Morrissey fans to The Killing Joke-sters. Let me sum it up: I’m dusting off my Joy Division T-shirt for this. You should, too.
Your Vegas band releasing a CD soon? Tell us in the comments.