With Straight In No Kissin’, Big Talk proves itself as an offshoot worthy of playing on the main stage. In his side project, Killers’ skin-slapper Ronnie Vannucci Jr. ditches his drum kit for six strings and a microphone. And while his guitar playing isn’t as magnificent as his drumming, the 39-year-old makes up for it with catchy power-pop numbers and a lively vocal performance reminiscent of Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo. The album is full of huge, anthemic hooks, such as in lead single, “What Happened to Delisa?” Vannucci Jr. and company channel the playful vigor of the Ramones in “Hold That Line,” and enter noise rock territory with an abrasive, feedback-ridden guitar solo in “All My Lovin’.” “Animal Husband” possesses just the right amount of poppiness to be a radio smash while retaining the rock ’n’ roll swagger the frontman is known to exemplify. In summation, this is an impressive, well-rounded sophomore effort that’ll sit comfortably in the Las Vegas music canon. (Little Oil Records) ★★★✩✩
A Peek at Life Is Beautiful 2017
Gorillaz are coming to Las Vegas for the first time ever. 2016’s Grammy winner for best new artist, Chance the Rapper, will return. English rockers Muse will bring their dizzying live show to the streets of Downtown. And that’s just the top of an eclectic bill that features more than 70 acts, along with comedy, interactive art installations, a group art exhibit featuring the work of Mark Ryden, Tara McPherson and Shepard Fairey and much more. Last year saw more than 137,000 attendees trod the festival footprint. Who’s ready for more?
Best of the City 2016
Our seventh annual celebration of all things Las Vegas, from the best place to fix your speeding ticket to the best Bloody Mary.