Judging from the throng queuing up for autographs and handshakes outside Zia Record Exchange, it’s a safe guess a well-known visiting headliner has just stepped offstage. Not bad for a local band playing its first-ever show.
Okay, technically The Lazystars have performed in public once before—in June in Boulder City—but that show featured a three-man lineup sans guitar, so the Saturday night Zia in-store is for all purposes the group’s launch. And, despite the location’s bright-lights-at-night backdrop and you’re-on-your-own sound system, the happening goes down as a raging success.
“It went better than you would think your first show would go,” Dave Hawkins, The Lazystars’ songwriter, lead vocalist and keyboardist, says as he merrily signs copy upon copy of the band’s new EP, All of the Difference. By the time the four musicians and some close friends congregate for drinks at Casa di Amore later in the night, they’ve sold more than half their initial 100-disc pressing.
Though The Lazystars are new to the Vegas scene, their pedigree hardly speaks of inexperience. Hawkins and his cousin, bassist Tony Divencenzo, anchored local outfit Psychic Radio during its three-year run; guitarist Dave Meeks was a longtime member of veteran Vegas band Big Bad Zero; and Brian Havens served, briefly, as the drummer for The Killers (yeah, those Killers). The four men came together when the 30-year-old Hawkins recently reconnected with his muse. “Inspiration comes and goes, and after grinding it out for so long [with Psychic Radio], it disappeared,” he says. “Then it just happened again. It was just time.”
With a crowd of about 40 standing congregated around the back-of-store CD racks, the quartet burns through nine tunes—the first four without pausing for air—showing off a mature and melodic pop-rock sound that recalls Coldplay and U2 without mimicking either (needless to say, Zia’s “No Slam Dancing” sign seems expendable). The setlist includes all four songs off Difference (ballad “Still Remember,” featuring anthemic three-part harmonies, is a highlight), along with newer pieces, including the night’s most rocked-out number, “Light of Day.”
Up next for The Lazystars: a November 22 set at the Forum Shops Apple Store and a November 29 gig at Casa di Amore. From there? Judging from tonight’s audience response, anything seems possible.