Why doesn’t Vegas get good live bands? Sure, we’ve got our locals and our lounges, but most touring acts pass us by, speeding from Arizona to California, only stopping in Nevada for a Big Gulp and a piss. So, if I could ask for one thing this holiday, it’d be these seven shows …
Faith No More at The Joint. It’s been 30 years since Faith No More’s first hit, three decades of lineups, breakups, reunions and general weirdness. Next year, they’ll release a new album—which will be mighty if it resembles first single, “Motherfucker.” May they play Vegas and may they do their versions of both Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” and the Commodores’ “Easy.”
The Dirtbombs at the Bunkhouse. The Motor City’s finest live band covers vintage soul, Detroit techno and bubblegum pop, along with raucous originals. I can’t think of anything more fun than doing shots, eating mac n’ cheese and digging the Dirtbombs’ dragstrip rendition of Thin Lizzy’s “Ode to a Black Man” or their own Marvin-Gaye-meets-Johnny-Rotten ode to love, “Stupid.”
The Fucked Up at Dive Bar. The best frontman in hardcore is a chubby Canadian stoner. Who knew? The man known as Pink Eyes heads up a cyclone of a sextet that’s melodic and pummeling, profound and insane, joyous and furious all at the same time. If they don’t come to us this year, you should go to them, wherever they may be.
D’Angelo at the Brooklyn Bowl. We’ll always have a spot in our rotation for “Brown Sugar.” The enigmatic neo-soul superstar has been given to lengthy sabbaticals and album delays that last longer than your K-12 career. His recently released disc, Black Messiah, features contributions from Questlove and trumpet great Roy Hargrove, among others. D’Angelo is planning a string of European dates this spring. He needs to bring his show—and a few of those guest stars—to Vegas.
Sleater-Kinney at Life Is Beautiful. Calling them the best female rock act puts them in too small of a league: Sleater-Kinney can kick the ass of any band, be they male, female, Hobbit or have someone named Grohl in them. Life Is Beautiful isn’t ideal—that would be playing every venue in Vegas, from The Beat to the Thomas & Mack … but since the odds of getting them here at all are slim, I’m pinning my hopes on our benevolent Downtown overlords.
My Bloody Valentine at the Boulevard Pool. Maybe the sound system isn’t perfect, but wallowing in this band’s cascades of ethereal feedback against a backdrop of shimmering neon, glittering bulbs and flashing LED would be sublime sensory overload. I also want to hear the 15 minutes of ear-splitting screeching reverb known as “You Made Me Realize” echo off the Strip’s towers.
Tom Waits at The Smith Center. Waits spent the beginning of his career posing as a lounge singer, sent his songbook here with The Tempest last year and has written several great tunes about our city. But, apparently, Waits has never played Vegas. This is a situation that must be remedied, so that we may also partake of junkyard percussion, skronk guitar, barrelhouse piano, exquisite songwriting and epic charisma.
Why stop there? Bring Rocket from the Crypt’s horn section and Elvis hair to Fremont Street! Bring Bridget Everett singing raunchy, hilarious lounge songs to Inspire! Bring Bianca Del Rio and her Rolodex of Hate to the Sands Showroom! Bring Nick Cave to sit by my bed and croon “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” as I fall asleep …