If you regularly read this column, you know how I feel about holidays: The only good one is Halloween. Scary costumes. Candy. Cool tunes. Other celebrations—even if they’re based on turkey slaughtering and zombie messiahs—can’t come close. The best part about All Hallow’s Eve is that bands perform after the trick-or-treating’s done. Here are some shows sure to carve a satisfied grimace on your haunted pumpkinhead.
Rockabilly monsters Three Bad Jacks deal musical aces at 10 p.m. October 31 at The Dive (4110 S. Maryland Pkwy.). This fiery trio takes the vintage format of Sun Studio-era Elvis Presley, then bastes it with punk, soul and blues until the result is a track as commanding as “I’ve Been Around” (from the band’s most recent disc, 2011’s Pictures and Memories From Home). Singer-guitarist Elvis Suissa is a double threat—great songwriter and blistering performer. Also on the bill: Misfits tribute act Horror Business, plus locals The Swamp Gospel and Dead at Midnite.
If that’s too much morbidity for you, Las Vegas-based political pop-punk band Agent 86 (whose roots go back to the California punk scene of the 1980s) headlines a Double Down Saloon bill at 10 p.m. Agent 86’s songs are straight-up-the-middle, three-chord affairs that sometimes boast reggae and metal flourishes and always take swipes at abusive authority and brain-dead American culture. They’ll be joined by local horror-punk/crossover-thrash trio Xomby, performing tunes about, well, zombies, vampires and creatures that go bump in the night.
Detroit psychobilly purveyors the Koffin Kats dig their claws into Cheyenne Saloon at 8 p.m. The trio released its seventh album, Born of the Motor, last week, and it’s a frightful affair, full of tomb-rattling riffs and mausoleum-collapsing drums. The title track’s a standout, as well as the plasma-draining-for-cash anthem “Giving Blood.” I’m seriously grease-slicking my hair for this event.
Beyond Halloween, there are more intriguing shows. Manchester, England, alt-pop band The 1975 plays Vinyl at 9:30 p.m. November 2. These guys deal in sweetened electronic rock with titles such as “Chocolate” and “Sex,” which means: Bring your boy/girlfriend. Also that night: Heavy metal supergroup Kill Devil Hill—featuring drummer Vinny Appice (Dio, Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell) and bassist Rex Brown (Pantera)—storms LVCS at 9 p.m. Their second disc, Revolution Rise, was just released and kicks biker butt. Finally, also on November 2, the horniest nerd-punk band in Vegas (and the world), 3d6, again rolls onstage at the free-to-attend Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival at 2:45 p.m. in the main theater of the Clark County Library (1401 E. Flamingo Rd.). If you like catchy odes to loose Star Trek femmes (“The Whore of Enterprise D”), your musical funny bone(r) should live long and prosper here.
Your Vegas band releasing a CD soon? Email Jarret_Keene@Yahoo.com.