Disco inferno

Cramped quarters can’t extinguish Afghan Raiders’ energy

Mikey (left) and Beans.
Photo: Aaron Thompson

Next time, I’m wearing roller skates.

Well, actually, probably not, if Afghan Raiders play Beauty Bar’s interior again. And certainly not, if the joint is as packed as it is tonight—so crammed that when a wheelchair tries to squeeze through the crowd, it very nearly forces bodies onto the nearby bar.

Still, listening to Mikey and Beans work through their late-Saturday electro set, I’m wishing the duo was set up behind the club—not in lieu of the monthly Down & Derby roller disco transpiring out back, but as part of it.

Instead, the Afghan guys are indoors, which cuts down on their—and our—movement considerably, but makes for a memorable scene nonetheless, what with all the smoke wafting through the dim lighting surrounding Mikey’s sashaying torso and Beans’ bobbing head.

Tonight’s gig coincides with the release of the Raiders’ second CD (a two-song job pairing promising new cuts “Admiral’s Doorbell” and “Morphine Dream”), but neither performer says anything to advertise that fact. Stacks of discs are simply left on the foot of the short stage, along with compact posters of the group, for anyone wandering by to snag. “‘Admiral’s Doorbell’ is an aviation term for when a pilot ditches his cargo,” Beans explains after the show. “That’s what we feel we’re doing—stripping everything back and just sticking with what matters. So free show, free CDs, free posters …” Mikey finishes the thought: “We just want it to make it fun for everybody.”

It has definitely been that, despite the absence of dancers on wheels. “Amazing! I can’t believe I was in that band,” Beans marvels. “I haven’t seen Beauty Bar packed like this in years.” The duo, which has played live only 23 times—11 in town—seems to gain confidence with each outing, a product, perhaps, of a daily rehearsal regimen. That seriousness didn’t go unnoticed by South by Southwest, which invited the Las Vegans to participate in this year’s fest, or by The Faint, which commissioned Afghan Raiders to provide an official remix of their track “Mirror Error.” Don’t be surprised to see the pair remixing for other name artists in the months to come.

As for soundtracking a live roller disco, Mikey says nothing is out of bounds. “We’ll talk about it,” he says. “We’d love to be outside for it next time.”

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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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