1. When I get to Backstage Bar & Billiards at 11 p.m., there’s no one here—save for a few stragglers at the bar, and the openers, The Big Friendly Corporation. Probably not what Futurebirds had in mind for their first Vegas show.
2.The guys look more like a group of Vans-sponsored skaters than a country band, but the American flag bandana strapped to one of the guitars is a dead giveaway. Think Tony Hawk meets Steven Tyler—pre American Idol.
3. The slide guitarist, sitting slightly hidden at stage left, shines throughout the show. But for the first half of the set, Triple B’s overblown PA system takes away any subtle nuances we might’ve otherwise noticed.
4. While I’d dub Carter King the “lead” singer, he and the other two guitarists are liberal with the mic, taking turns sharing vocals. A different side is revealed each time they trade off, showcasing a range that spans the likes of Neil Young, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Deer Tick.
5. If Futurebirds played it safe at first, the band has a whole new game plan for the second half. Toward the end of the set, I find myself happily lost among thick basslines, galloping drums and shoegazey guitars, loaded with face-melting reverb. It’s pure indie-country bliss. Is that a thing? It is now.