The best-laid plans …

Corlene Machines—and friends—make the most of a strange situation

Three of the Machines’ cogs: (from left) Wilcox, Byrd and Weller.
Photo: Jacob Kepler

With her original intentions broken into pieces—literally—Corlene Byrd improvised her way through a memorable Plan B last week at Beauty Bar.

Byrd had planned to reunite her original Corlene Machines—the quartet that opened for The Killers in June 2007 outdoors at the Hard Rock Hotel—before bassist Max Supera suffered multiple arm fractures during a recent California visit. So Byrd, already booked into a Thursday-night headlining slot, got creative.

She identified a substitute bass player, Ronald Corso, studio whiz behind local label National Southwestern Electronic Recordings, and quickly organized a series of rehearsals with her rejiggered lineup, which also includes original members Jackson Wilcox of A Crowd of Small Adventures (guitar) and Mike Weller of Hungry Cloud (drums). Still, Byrd knew she wouldn’t have time to work up a full set, so she put out a call to her friends.

And, following a captivating opening set by San Francisco all-girl trio Lovers, those friends came to her aid. Joe Kendall (Las Vegas Club*) stepped to the mic to perform a pair of acoustic tunes, one of them a ditty about dinosaur ghosts. Wilcox and Weller took solo turns, serenading the packed club with two songs apiece, the latter’s “(Oh Oh) I Feel Much Better Now” even managing to hush the noisy crowd momentarily. And, after the Machines’ own set, Ryan Pardey (Halloween Town) and singer/songwriter Tracey Hope hopped up to jam with Ms. Byrd for a bit.

As for the billed foursome, those not in the know would have been hard-pressed to guess either personnel or practice time had been an issue. Corso rumbled away on long-forgotten originals and a cover of Tom Petty’s “You Got Lucky,” as if he’d been onstage for that bill way back with The Killers. Call it another lesson in improvisation.

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Spencer Patterson

Spencer Patterson is the Editor of Las Vegas Weekly, having previously served as Managing Editor, Arts & Entertainment Editor and ...

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