I had a lot of fun at Insert Coin(s) in the short time I’ve been in Vegas. The music at the venue, which shuttered July 9, was always on point—open-format with heavy helpings of old-school hip-hop. Though fairly rare occurrences, the live shows were intimate and exciting. Foreign Exchange, who had never played Vegas before, goes down as one of the best concerts I’ve witnessed here. The operators weren’t afraid to take risks, bringing acts such as Denitia and Sene, Hiatus Kaiyote, Slum Village and Pete Rock—all acts that rarely rock Vegas—to Fremont East.
Though my time with Bunkhouse was shorter, it was easily a locals favorite. It was great for smaller bands and perfect for larger acts who wanted to give their fans a more exclusive experience, which is what Mayer Hawthorne recently did with his side project, Tuxedo. Rakim, RJD2, Busdriver, Fat Tony, Bad Rabbits, J-Live—I’d need at least 10 hands before I run out of fingers to count all the dope shows at Bunkhouse. Many others and I were really fucking bummed when it closed abruptly July 20.
Hopefully Bunkhouse gets a buyer, and Insert Coin(s) finds a 1-up. In the meantime, the shows must go on.
Old-school heads should hit Triple B on August 12 for Black Sheep, which provided one of the most iconic songs of rap’s golden era with “The Choice Is Yours.” While the song’s been used in commercials, frontman Dres is no novelty act. He’s delivered a few understated releases over the years with his signature slick delivery, and popped up on high-profile projects such as the Slaughterhouse EP and Handsome Boy Modeling School’s White People. Expect equal parts party vibes and consciousness. If you can’t get with this, maybe you can get with …
One of the most anticipated acts touring this summer, D’Angelo, plays the Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan on August 21 on his Second Coming tour. The enigmatic soul singer dropped his first album in 14 years, Black Messiah, in 2014 with his band The Vanguard. The album received instant praise. Rightfully so—it’s a revival of classic R&B, funky and vibrant, silky and soulful. Thank whoever you pray to and go see the musical deity at work. Who knows when you’ll get a chance to see him again.
My newest R&B crush (sorry Jhené), Bay Area songstress Kehlani has a two-night stop at Vinyl August 22-23 with NOLA emcee Pell. Named the First Great R&B Album of 2015 by Billboard, her recently released You Should Be Here is full of sensual (“The Way”), joyful (“Wanted”), feisty (“How That Taste”) and heartbreaking (“The Letter”) songs. I’m absolutely smitten. Catch me in the front row with a bouquet of flowers and an engagement ring. Please say yes.