Sunday, August 15, 2010

Las Vegas Shakedown, Saturday the 14th, August 2010, The Beauty Bar

For the second night of the Shakedown, we situated ourselves at the Beauty Bar, as the Country Saloon was hosting what appeared to be a night of psychobilly, which didn't appeal to us too terribly much. The BB is a fun little dive bar, and is much less professional than the Country Saloon, with barely functioning restrooms, no lighting system, an ok PA and an outdoor stage which means that you freeze in the winter, or broil in the summer, as people - especially the non-Vegas residents - did this night.

Again, due to home responsibilities and the need to catch up on our sleep, we didn't get downtown until almost 9:00, intending to get there for the Dragons. We made it in time to see most of the set of the Zodiac Killers, a Rip-Offs spin off who used their same insult-the-audience-while-barely-playing-simple-punk-rock-songs schtick.

But then came the mighty Dragons, absolutely the highlight of the weekend for me! I truly think these cats were one of the, if not the, best American r'n'r band of the 90's (Thee Hypnotics being the best British band and the Hellacopters being the best Swedish band) and it still amazes me that they were never snatched up by a major label. Just shows the failings of the record company system in this country. They had it all - charismatic stage presence, superb playing and incredible songs. All of these were highlighted again this night, with some of their best tunes (minus my fave, "High", which was a little disappointing, but with their vast repertoire, it's difficult to please everyone), tons of high energy and tight interaction. Lead guitarist Kenny flies all over the fingerboard of his Flying V, while Mario leads the way and Steve and Jarrod hold down one of the best rhythm sections on the planet! Can't say enough good about this band - see them if they do any more reunions!

After that breath-taking set came Throw Rag. Neither of us have seen the group in ages - possibly decades - and they were more punk and less swampy-blues than we remembered and not bad, just nothing that really stood out.

Melanie's raison d'etre for the weekend was the Humpers, one of her fave bands ever. They came on and everything immediately reverted to chaotic anarchy as lead singer Scott Drake lept into the audience within seconds and retained his microphone for maybe half of the set after that. Fun-filled madness ensued as they tore through their most well-known tunes and had the crowd jumping and singing and catching Scott throughout the night. Far from the tightest set of the weekend (lead guitarist Billy in particular seemed to have succumbed to some Vegas temptations before the set) but certainly one of the more enjoyable.

We didn't make it to the Mau-Maus closing set - we're just getting too old for these long nights! We'll see what we make it through tonight!