Sunday, April 21, 2013

Defendants, Black Jetts, Pat Todd, Lucky Cheats - Triple B, Saturday April 20

Las Vegas can always use more music venues, so we were happy to hear about Backstage Bar & Billiards (Triple B) opening a few months ago, though this was the first night we were able to make it out to the club. It's a nice, new space, dark and black, outfitted with Anvil cases as furniture and with a good stage with lights and a real sound system. Fair drink prices (not cheap but not expensive, either) and nice staff made it a reasonably comfortable place to go out, though I'm still more at home at dive bars!

This night was a Rank Outside Records showcase - a label run by ex-Lazy Cowgirl leader Pat Todd, who has put out CDs by all of the bands on the bill this nights along with many others. Opening was an LA group, the Defendants, a tight pop-punk-ish group whose sound was sorta a mix of the Lazy Cowgirls and the Zeros. Unfortunately, the sound throughout the night never really jelled so the songs didn't really stand out, but a good way to start the night.

Local Vegas heroes the Black Jetts followed with the debut of new members, including cool cat Davis, the Cowtown Guitars' guitar tech, keyboardist Bess (I hope I got her name right - nope, it is Beth, not Bess) and sit-in monster drummer (borrowed from the Lucky Cheats) Larry Reha (and Larry is their permanent drummer), aiding and abetting guitarist Roy Page (Cowtown's amp tech) and singer Gabe (again - hope I got the name right - you guys need to put more info on your Facebook page!). The sound was still muddy for the Jetts, but they are a heavy punk'n'roll group, loud and aggressive with lots of power and real songs. There were some equipment issues and I wish that the mix was a little clearer cuz I think that they have some real possibilities with two guitars and keys, so I can't wait to see them again! Nice people too!

We've known Pat Todd from about the time he moved the Lazy Cowgirls to LA from Indiana in the mid-80's and it's great that he is still rockin' along and playing the music that he loves. The current Rank Outsiders is slightly less punk and more country than the Cowgirls, but still sounds like Pat! He now has original Cowgirl bassist Keith playing with him and I believe that was the Creamers drummer Bob sporting a beard behind the kit along with guitarists Nick and damn, I still can't find the other guitarist's name - update your Facebook page guys! Anyway, classic Todd songwriting, nice vocal harmonies, some added acoustic guitar on a couple tunes in the middle of the set, and cool r'n'r fire.

Closing the night was our pals, the Lucky Cheats, who I've gone on & on about countless times and who are one of our fave bands in town. By the time their set time came along, a couple of the guys had imbibed a beverage or two, but were still playing spot-on, but were hollerin' and stompin' a little more than when they get up on stage cold. Another equipment problem marred the set when Jeffrey's harp amp broke, meaning he had to play into a PA mic and the soundman could never get it high enough in the mix - and, of course, the harp sound was quite different, as well. But they soldiered on and were the one band that really got the people up and dancing.

Once the room sound gets dialed in a bit better this could be a really fun venue. Hope to see more here soon!