Snotty Punk, Spooky Blues, Sunshine Pop


I’m writing this in the satisfying aftermath of two great Brit-rock concerts last week at Mandalay Bay—Iron Maiden in the Events Center and The Cultat House of Blues. The latter was especially rewarding given that the band played two sets, the first comprising the entirety of their 1987 breakout album Electric. I screamed along with every lyric, embarrassing my friends and killing my voice. I sound like Batman after gargling razors.

This week, there are some intriguing off-the-Strip rock shows I’m stoked to see.

First is punk-rock mainstay Guttermouth. The Huntington Beach-born band is set to crank their guitar amplifiers and display their trademark naughty-schoolboy humor in Triple B at 7 p.m. September 20. Arguably the most sarcastic bunch of musical slackers ever assembled, Guttermouth is notorious for living up to their name by getting kicked off huge touring punk festivals (Vans Warped) and slagging on other bands (in songs like “My Chemical Imbalance”). But when you get down to it and listen past their defiance, Guttermouth remains a pop-punk act that heeds songcraft. Even when the chorus goes, I’d like to tell you tastefully/Your ass is an enormity. Also on the bill: Agent OrangePiñata Protestthe Quittersthe Seriouslys.

Next is Vegas swamp-blues trio The Swamp Gospel (with Crazy Chief and the Mapes), who will proselytize at Motor City Cafe (4080 Paradise Rd.) at 10 p.m. September 21. If you haven’t seen the band yet, the Gospel delivers rollicking trad-rock with the weird intensity of a serpent-handling, strychnine-swilling hill-country preachers. Singer-guitarist Prophet Greene combines the spiritual fervor of classic-country crooners the Louvin Brothers with the snarling perv-fervor of the Cramps on songs such as “The Devil Got Religion” and “Sweat Out Your Sins.” This band continues to grow on me like Southern blight fungus. I mean that in a good way, of course.

If you’re in the mood for a real throwback, though, the Buckinghams play the Suncoast at 7 p.m. September 22. Retaining two of its original members (Carl Giammarese on guitar/vocals and Nick Fortuna on bass/vocals), the Chicago sunshine-pop group responsible for ebullient oldies “Susan,” “Kind of a Drag” and “Hey Baby, (They’re Playing Our Song)” has at least eight or so radio hits we’ve all heard at one time or another. They’ll likely play those along with some fun and deeper album cuts such as “Expressway to Your Heart.” Great pop music is timeless, I say.

Jimmy Eat World and Matt Pond splash into House of Blues at 6 p.m. September 25. The latter’s 2013 disc, The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand, is one I’m still spinning. Especially the track “Love to Get Used,” a kickdrum-pounding anthem that celebrates a desire to be desired, to be consumed and exhausted. Let’s hang on to abandon, sings Pond. Let’s hope we lose control/To be out in the open, baby/And let go of the rope. Pond’s an indie-rocker who’s exchanged cynicism for loud guitar and big hooks. I’m ready for more of what he’s offering.

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