Underground Metal Moves from Yayo Taco to Favorites

Yayo Taco, the university-district restaurant that has recently hosted the best underground metal and punk shows in the history of Las Vegas, remains closed. Shuttered by the Southern Nevada Health District on February 28, Yayo has a history of earning demerits and penalties. And of being shut down for violations.

Last year, the taquería’s owner, Cho Yiu, took public his ongoing battle with the district’s inspection system, getting the attention of KTNV Channel 13 chief investigative reporter Darcy Spears in September. It was a war Yiu couldn’t win. With Yayo’s future unclear, promoters who had been booking national and international bands at Yiu’s restaurant moved the music to Favorites, a dive bar just blocks away. Losing these always-attended events clearly affected Yayo. Earlier this month, local punks organized a benefit show to help Yiu pay a $700 fine to reopen. But Yiu insists he will stand on principle and not bring Yayo online until the district revises its poor rating of his restaurant. Of course, Yiu has previously closed Yayo for weeks at a time to go on extended surfing jaunts. Maybe after hanging 10 in Costa Rica, he’ll return to dishing tacos and hosting kickass concerts in Vegas.

Two underground shows you shouldn’t miss: First, California death-metal thrash-revengers Gravehill dig into Cheyenne Saloon at 8 p.m. March 16. Fronted by Metal Maniacs writer Mike Abominator, these guys offer a blood-drenched stage show à la GWAR and cruelly imaginative songs such as “Consumed by Rats.” I emailed Abominator about his lyrics that, unlike those growled by other metal bands, are intelligible. He replies: “[‘Rats’ is] about a serial killer living in the sewers. He kidnaps victims and brings them down into his infernal dungeon of terror filled with rats. He kills his victims by cutting them, letting their blood flow and leaving them tied up for the rats to finish off.” Seriously, how could you possibly skip this?

Second, Phoenix grindcore act Landmine Marathon detonates Bunkhouse Saloon at 9 p.m. March 19. The band kicks off a weeklong West Coast tour here before joining Napalm Death, Dying Fetus and Phobia at the Obscene Extreme festival in Mexico City. This Bunkhouse show marks the debut touring appearance of new Landmine Marathon vocalist Krysta Martinez, who replaced outgoing singer Grace Perry in October. The band’s most recent disc, 2011’s Gallows, was hugely praised, and the Marathon is writing new material for a follow-up. I’ve confirmed the band will road-test brand-new songs!

My all-time favorite Yayo show was probably San Francisco black-metal band Deafheaven in January 2011. What’s yours?

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