Thursday, May 23, 2019

recommended gigs

Thursday May 23 - TV Party Tonight Pre_PBR show with TSOL, the Grim and the Wolfhounds with a showing of the movie Slog and video all night from VJ Atomic at the Double Down - Free but get there early!

May 23-27 - Punk Rock Bowling festival - lots of cool shows on the festival stage and in the clubs - check out their listing!

Friday May 24 - Monster Zero with Dr Phobic and the Phobictones at the Golden Tiki
Friday May 24 - Franks'n'Deans at Mickie Finnz
Friday May 24 - Sheiks of Neptune, Graveyard Bandits, Electric Children, Mamut at Evel Pie

Saturday May 25 - Franks'n'Deans at Mickie Finnz

Monday May 27 - Save Ferris, Monkey, Franks'n'Deans at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Wednesday May 29 - the Rhyolite Sound with Mike and the Moonpies at the Bunkhouse

Friday May 31 - The Delta Bombers, the All Togethers, Shanda and the Howlers at Islands Bar and Lounge
Friday May 31 - the Hypnotiques at Tiki di Amore
Friday May 31 - the New Waves at the Golden Tiki

Saturday June 1 - Trevor and the Swingin' Johnsons at Tiki di Amore
Saturday June 1 - Johnny Zig and the Force at GOAT
Saturday June 1 - Le DomiNiki with the Hideaway and Damaris Jams at the E-String

Sunday June 2 - the Hypnotiques at the Golden Tiki

Friday June 7 - Cromm Fallon and the P200 with Pet Tigers at the Bunkhouse
Friday June 7 - Thee Swank Bastards at Tiki di Amore

Sunday June 9 - Kid Congo and the Pink Money Birds, Slim Cessna's Auto Club and The Psyatics and Ted Rader's Magic Family at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Wednesday June 12 - Johnny Zig and the Force at the Double Down

Friday June 14 - the Psyatics at the Double Down

Saturday June 15 - the Implosions, Lambs to Lions, Sheiks of Neptune, the Time Crashers at the Center for Science and Wonder

Friday June 21 - Thee Swank Bastards at Tiki di Amore

Saturday June 22 - Bob Log III with the Swamp Gospel at the Bunkhouse

Friday June 28 - John Mayall at Sunset Station

Sunday July 7 - the Hypnotiques at the Golden Tiki

Tuesday July 9 - Johnny Zig and the Force at the Sand Dollar

Saturday July 20 - the Psyatics at the Double Down

Tuesday August 6 - all-female surf from Canada, the Surfrajettes, the Hula Girls and the Hypnotiques at the Bunkhouse

Friday August 16 - the Psyatics at the Double Down

Sunday August 18 - George Clinton and Parliment Funkadelic at the Brooklyn Bowl

Saturday Sept 21 - Johnny Hootrock with the Vooduo at the Double Down

Tuesday Nov 5 - Redd Kross with the Melvins and Shitkid at the Bunkhouse

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Tav Falco - Cabaret of Daggers

Celebrating the anniversary of the Panther Burns with his "40th Year Howl" tour, Tav Falco has also just released his latest album, Cabaret of Daggers. Tracked in Rome with his current line up of the Burns, Tav then recorded the vocals at the legendary Sam Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis and the record is one of the most varied of his career while still maintaining the obvious Falco unapproachable style.

The modern Burns is a team of crack musicians - guitarist Mario has the perfect sound, bassist Giuseppe grooves appropriately without over playing, drummer Riccardo swings'n'sways and keyboardist Francesco (who was not part of the current tour, but was with him last time in America) adds the perfect flavoring to the proceedings.

The romantic'n'charming Falco always enjoys a good tango and opens this offering with "Nobody's Baby", a piano-led cabaret tune which then brings us into a comparatively straight forward reading of "Sally Goes Round the Roses", again with Francesco's bouncin' piano work leading the way but done as a duet with a lovely female vocalist, making it somewhat reminiscent of Great Society's version - at least to these ears. I kinda love his take on the updated gospel/blues of "Old Fashioned Morphine", a variation on "Gimme That Old Time Religion", with pop culture references and some properly heavy guitar work. Admitting that it was one of the biggest challenges of his career, Tav takes on Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit". Backed by a sparsely simple'n'effective piano'n'guitar jazz treatment, he is highly emotive on this racially charged number that is still far too relevant today. One of my faves from the live show is his original "New World Order Blues" with tribal drums and a dynamic arrangement in which he spouts his current, anti-fascist, anti-Trump political views - almost an update to his classic "Bourgeoisie Blues". Side one of the vinyl ends with a spot-on run-through of "Sleep Walk", with Mario playing with a perfect tone, giving a break from the heaviness of the last couple of numbers.

Another highlight is the bass-driven groove of "Strange (Uber Tango)" - again, I loved this live, despite the absence of the accordion, which here gives it a Parisian feel although in concert the sparseness works, as well. The repetitive bass line and elementary drums truly draws you in and won't let you go - amazing what a basic arrangement can create. More terrific, jazzy interplay between guitar and piano for the jazz-croon number "Born To Be Blue" - you could imagine these cats playing behind Julie London in a cabaret and while Tav's vocals are a bit more...interpretive than the old school crooners, he is still fantastic here in his own right. This basic feel continues in the rhythmically hypnotic "Red Vienna", except for the more Germanic waltz style and the political bent to the words. We're back to the American South for the highly effective, reverbed blues of "Sugar Mama Blues" with more amazing guitar work that leads into the David Lynch-ian brooding instrumental "Master of Chaos Theme" - a fantastic soundtrack to a non-existent movie.

No matter what type of output they are providing, the Panther Burns are always a selective taste and this record might not be for fans of his earlier, somewhat Psychobilly-ish approach. But, Tav has always worked in a variety of styles and for those who are open to a more laid-back Burns, this latest effort is still classic Falco. And make sure you see the band any chance you can - they are a phenomenon!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Cromm Fallon - Electric Bloom

Cromm Fallon has been a fixture of the Las Vegas scene for almost as long as I can remember and well before he could legally hang out in a bar, fronting and/or playing guitar in mod/garage combos such as Acton Town, the Astaires, the Van der Rohe and numerous others. On this disc, released by Rum Bar Records, he presents his solo vision, playing almost all of the instruments - drums are by musician-about-town Aaron Archer and there are a couple of friends providing a little extra coloring - and performing all vocals (except for one guest spot), as well as penning all of the tunes.

Although primarily garage-based rock'n'roll, Fallon freely admits to plenty of other influences, from jangle-pop to shoe-gaze to psychedelic and more. There's plenty of over-driven guitars, but also some sweet 12-strings ringing out, along with a bit of moody organ, a ballad or two and lots of stompin' rockers.

The record opens with the 12 string folk/garage/pop "Second Bloom", that has more bite than most 12-string numbers, while still retaining Byrds-ian melodies. "East Bay" is a damn catchy, hip, garage-riff-stomper which moves into more mid-tempo folk/garage/psych in "Scars From You" followed by a moody, organ-fueled psychedelic trip into insomnia with "No Sleep" that is highlighted by a vicious guitar break. Cromm creates a straight-ahead garage-crunch-rocker with start-n-stop power chords and a wild, rave-up ending on "Out of Control" and then "The Next One" is kind of a 70's punk meets garage duet with Darenda Weaver that is Wire-like brief'n'to-the-point.

"Electric Change" is a fuzz-sludge-pounder with plenty of psych overtones, most obviously in the trippy, Pink Floyd-ish, organ-led middle breakdown, "Circles" has a nice melodic lick and a kinda circular chord progression that builds upon itself with hip coloring throughout, "Death Room" is a bit of a shoe-gaze-y ballad and then everything concludes with a cool, Electric Prunes-meets-Velvet-Underground-meets-Post-Punk number called "Hired Suicide" with buzzing lead guitar, haunting organ, a driving beat and a rockin' instrumental build up..

This is a damn strong debut and although there are a variety of influences showcased, they are all contained within a cohesive vision. Cromm has a fine, fairly unique voice, although it can be a bit monotone-ish, he still manages to imbue melodies into the tunes and does some good work with harmonies and call'n'answer vocals and the songwriting and playing is solid throughout. This record is getting a lot of attention already and I'm looking forward to seeing how it will all work on a live stage with Cromm's new backing band, the P200.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Rip Mike Wilhelm


R.I.P. Mike Wilhelm, 1942-2019
 ---
From the Charlatans through the Flamin' Groovies and more - a legendary character.

The Unwieldies at the Huntridge Tavern, Saturday May 18, 2019


I don't get to see my fave local acoustic act, the Unwieldies, nearly as often as I should, as they most often play out in Boulder City and it takes a lot for me to go to the other side of the city. But, the Huntridge Tavern is one of my fave watering holes/hang-outs and it's always nice to have an excuse to drop by this cozy dive.

Husband/wife team Rob'n'Danielle are the core of the Unwieldies, with Rob playing stand up while Dani adds her lovely voice and acoustic guitar. The duo is now joined by Jack (also in the Psyatics with Rob) on violin (adding a unique sound to the combo), Richard on dobro and newest member Jesse on drums and banjo - sometimes simultaneously!

The sound is more-or-less folk/Americana but with hints of Tom Waits, pop, and multiple other influences. They specialize in lyrics with fine turns-of-phrases and soaring melodies with Rob's Waits-ian voice counter-balancing Dani's clear, pretty tones. The set was primarily taken from their CD's along with covers like "Billy Jean" (which works better than you would think!), "The Thrill is Gone" (taking on a whole new life with these folks behind the wheel) and an excellent take on Elvis Costello's poignant'n'heartbreaking "Veronica".

I really enjoyed the addition of drums and banjo to the tunes and look forward to seeing Jesse fully integrate with the Uns. The Huntridge is a neighborhood bar, with people floating in'n'out throughout the night, but the Unwieldies managed to bring in friends'n'fans and make true believers of those who just happened to be enjoying a local drink. Absolutely one of Vegas' best groups and definitely one of the best acoustic acts in town.






Thursday, May 16, 2019

recommended gigs

Friday May 17 - Thee Swank Bastards at Tiki di Amore
Friday May 17 - Thee Swank Bastards with Soldiers of Destruction, Gob Patrol and Stagnetti's Cock at the Double Down

Saturday May 18 - Le DomiNiki with Mizz Absurd at the Goldmine Tavern
Saturday May 18 - the Unwieldies at the Huntridge Tavern
Saturday May 18 - the New Waves at Tiki di Amore
Saturday May 18 - Johnny Zig and the Force at GOAT

Wednesday May 22 - Dirty R'n'R Dance Party presents Spirit Mothers at the Bunkhouse

Thursday May 23 - TV Party Tonight Pre_PBR show with TSOL, the Grim and the Wolfhounds with a showing of the movie Slog and video all night from VJ Atomic at the Double Down - Free but get there early!

May 23-27 - Punk Rock Bowling festival - lots of cool shows on the festival stage and in the clubs - check out their listing!

Friday May 24 - Monster Zero with Dr Phobic and the Phobictones at the Golden Tiki
Friday May 24 - Franks'n'Deans at Mickie Finnz

Saturday May 25 - Franks'n'Deans at Mickie Finnz

Monday May 27 - Save Ferris, Monkey, Franks'n'Deans at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Wednesday May 29 - the Rhyolite Sound with Mike and the Moonpies at the Bunkhouse

Friday May 31 - The Delta Bombers, the All Togethers, Shanda and the Howlers at Islands Bar and Lounge
Friday May 31 - the Hypnotiques at Tiki di Amore
Friday May 31 - the New Waves at the Golden Tiki

Saturday June 1 - Trevor and the Swingin' Johnsons at Tiki di Amore
Saturday June 1 - Johnny Zig and the Force at GOAT
Saturday June 1 - Le DomiNiki with the Hideaway and Damaris Jams at the E-String

Sunday June 2 - the Hypnotiques at the Golden Tiki

Friday June 7 - Cromm Fallon and the P200 with Pet Tigers at the Bunkhouse
Friday June 7 - Thee Swank Bastards at Tiki di Amore

Sunday June 9 - Kid Congo and the Pink Money Birds, Slim Cessna's Auto Club and The Psyatics and Ted Rader's Magic Family at Backstage Bar and Billiards

Wednesday June 12 - Johnny Zig and the Force at the Double Down

Friday June 14 - the Psyatics at the Double Down

Saturday June 15 - the Implosions, Lambs to Lions, Sheiks of Neptune, the Time Crashers at the Center for Science and Wonder

Friday June 21 - Thee Swank Bastards at Tiki di Amore

Saturday June 22 - Bob Log III with the Swamp Gospel at the Bunkhouse

Friday June 28 - John Mayall at Sunset Station

Sunday July 7 - the Hypnotiques at the Golden Tiki

Tuesday July 9 - Johnny Zig and the Force at the Sand Dollar

Saturday July 20 - the Psyatics at the Double Down

Tuesday August 6 - all-female surf from Canada, the Surfrajettes, the Hula Girls and the Hypnotiques at the Bunkhouse

Friday August 16 - the Psyatics at the Double Down

Sunday August 18 - George Clinton and Parliment Funkadelic at the Brooklyn Bowl

Saturday Sept 21 - Johnny Hootrock with the Vooduo at the Double Down

Tuesday Nov 5 - Redd Kross with the Melvins and Shitkid at the Bunkhouse

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Panther Burns, Headwinds at the Bunkhouse, Tuesday May 14, 2019


It had been four years since the last appearance of the unapproachable Panther Burns in Las Vegas and it was well past time for another plantation-fryin' celebration of the mighty Memphis master of cool!

A last minute cancellation opened the doors for local combo Headwinds to start the evening. Featuring local musician-about-town Cromm Fallon (this young man is in and/or fronts too many bands to mention) on bass, this three piece is a lo-fi / emo / shoe-gaze /noise-punk group with distorted guitar, simple poundin' drums, and some nice bass runs. For me, the songs were a bit too rudimentary and without enough hooks to grab me and other than Cromm, there was no real style or presentation. Maybe they just weren't the right band for this show and would fit in better on a different bill. Or maybe I'm just too old!





One thing that the Panther Burns have in spades, though, is style and right from the start, Tav's three piece backing band laid down a stylish groove with a cover of "Apache" while Falco watched from the wings. An excellent rhythm section (with bassist Giuseppe playing a violin-shaped Hofner to go with Tav's trademark guitar) locked in behind some perfect guitar tones'n'licks from Mario and led into "Smokestack Lightning" for Falco's approach to the stage. Tav picked up his guitar (a replacement Hofner, as he was robbed as the tour was about to start) and joined in with some searin' licks and a fine beatnik/poetic monologue. This melded into "Oh, How She Dances", the side-show barker spiel from the record intact and a fantastic swing from drummer Riccardo. The set had quite a bit of variety, with a number of tunes from their latest record, Cabaret of Daggers, as well as plenty from his huge catalog. Voodoo tunes like "Is It True What They Say About Marie Laveau" mixed with old school, romantic dance croons and poppy, comparatively fairly straight-forward rock songs. Loved the dynamics of "Give Me Old Fashioned Morphine" (somewhat based on "Old Fashioned Religion"), the cover of Memphis Minnie's "Me and My Chauffeur Blues" was spot on, Alex Chilton's "Bangkok" was a nice homage to the co-founder of the Burns and Charlie Feathers' Jungle Fever" built into a fun instrumental with a funky bass solo. Another instrumental ("Sleepwalk", if I remember correctly) allowed Tav to stroll through the club (embarrassingly mostly empty - Vegas really has no respect for living legends) and he came back for the closing tour de force, an anti-Trump rant about the "New World Order".

Throughout the set Tav never failed to entertain, whether he was emoting the lyrics of a song, or splicing some vicious, off-kilter guitar, or combing his hair (a performance in itself), or showing off his fabulous dance moves. The band was one of the best I've seen him with (although that's difficult to say, as he has had some amazing players over the years), and they grooved appropriately with him throughout the night, following his lead and giving him the perfect backing. This combo is nowhere near as clamorous as some that he has had, but they can perform many different styles, which is excellent for the man's set these days - a combination of rockabilly, country, soul, blues, cabaret and old-fashioned rock'n'roll.

Las Vegas has been lucky enough to get some truly superior shows coming through our humble town this year (probably one of the better years for touring acts since we moved out here) but the locals had better start showing up for these amazing performances or even more groups will skip our city on their tours. That said, it was great to see the local rock'n'rollers who did come out for this event and especially our old friend Carmen who came all the way from LA for a dose of the Burns! In any case, thank you to the Bunkhouse for this mind-altering night!