A few should-sees from Neon Reverb’s 100-plus-act lineup

Photo: Alex Kacha
Compiled by Laura Davis, Spencer Patterson, Julie Seabaugh, Ben Westhoff and Annie Zaleski


Aruba Showroom, Friday, 10:45 p.m.

Need to know: The San Diego art-punkers weren’t the first to hit huge with broodingly catchy, ’80s-throwback psychedelia, but the ex-Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower pair have a unique knack for turning downer titles like “Summer of Hate” and “I Wanna Kill” into infectious, electro-pop jams.

Sounds a little like: The Jesus and Mary Chain, Crystal Stilts, Wavves.

First spin: “Neon Jesus” (


Local, Yayo Taco, Thursday, 9 p.m.

Caravels: (From left) Foskaris, Shines, Van Cleef, Frantom and Mike R.

Need to know: Coming off a tour that saw them reach the East Coast for the first time, Las Vegas’ premier progressive hardcore band is celebrating the release of latest EP Floorboards by writing even more new material. The quintet’s Yayo Taco shows have been known to inspire fairly intense mosh pits, so turn out for this Neon Reverb debut if you’re looking to expend some energy prior to heading Downtown for more soothing sounds.

Sounds a little like: Faded Grey, Touché Amoré, At the Drive-In, Portraits of Past, Envy.

First spin: “Snake Plissken” (


Boomers, Saturday, 1:40 a.m.

Need to know: A founding member of acclaimed LA hip-hop trio Dilated Peoples, he’s one of the best-connected—and underrated—MCs in West Coast underground rap. On his new solo debut, Crown of Thorns, he enlists a murderers’ row production team (Alchemist, El-P and Dilated mates Babu and Evidence) for a first-rate work that bring out the best in his focused, thoughtful rhymes.

Sounds a little like: Jurassic 5, Heiroglyphics, Fashawn.

First spin: “Delilah”


Bunkhouse, Saturday, 1 a.m.

Need to know: Surf-pop doesn’t make much sense in Wisconsin—precisely why this ’60s-meets-now-sounding band caught a wave to San Francisco. The relocation meant new members and big opportunities, like sharing the stage with Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes and being featured in SF Weekly’s Best of ’09.

Sounds a little like: The Thrills, The Beach Boys, Girls, Coconut Records.

First spin: “Yellow-Haired Girl” (

Pan de Sal

Pan de Sal


Beauty Bar, Saturday, 11:30 p.m.

Need to know: The worldbeat faves, who’ve played every Neon Reverb to date, dance their black-and-white stripes back for another round of fun, spastic energy. And they’ll have new full-length release Bebegurl in tow—pick up a copy before the catchy chants of “Cloud Fever” get stuck in your head.

Sounds a little like: Junior Senior, M.I.A., The Go! Team.

First spin: “Cloud Fever” (


Las Vegas Country Saloon, Friday, 10:15 p.m.

Need to know: Vegas’ veteran bluesy garage-rockers have toured Japan twice but haven’t played Neon Reverb—until now. Frontman Gabe Stiff describes the group’s current batch of new tunes as, “a little looser, a little jammier, a little more riff-oriented, maybe heavier” than what’s come before. Consider us there.

Sounds a little like: MC5, The Stooges, Blue Cheer, Kiss Alive.

First spin: “Thrill City” (


Beauty Bar, Friday, 12:45 a.m.

Need to know: Previously known simply as Entrance, singer/guitarist Guy Blakeslee’s psych-blues project is now an LA-based trio featuring Paz Lenchantin (A Perfect Circle, Zwan) on bass. The new unit’s self-titled debut was released last year on Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace imprint, and the group has toured in support of Moore’s Sonic Youth.

Sounds a little like: The White Stripes, Black Sabbath, The Warlocks, U2 on acid.

First spin: “Lookout!” (


Las Vegas Country Saloon, Thursday, 11 p.m.

The Growlers

Need to know: The Long Beach laconics know how to do two things: release albums nearly as frequently as the tide comes in and play lo-fi, surf-cowboy rock with shifting time signatures and a flair for the darkly dramatic. Following 2009’s 18(!)-track Are You in or Out?, Hot Tropics is due out October 12.

Sounds a little like: Blue Hawaii, Quentin Tarantino’s fever dreams.

First spin: “Something Someone Junior” (


Bunkhouse, Thursday, 11 p.m.

Need to know: Not very many cool things come out of Hemet, California—or Flagstaff, Arizona, for that matter—so it’s bit of a mystery how the two cities turned out these indie folk-rockers. Original members Ryan Burian and Kate Hinojosa recently added two new additions to the family, completing the Complete in time for Neon Reverb.

Sounds a little like: Arcade Fire, Neutral Milk Hotel, Bright Eyes.

First spin: “My Bird” (

Audio Clips

The Vermin

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    Cock Fight
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    Exciting Sounds of Al Martino
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    King of Men
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    Lipstick Smears & Bloodshot Eyes

More on The Vermin


Las Vegas Country Saloon, Saturday, 10:15 p.m.

Need to know: Between playing in a jillion other bands apiece and working on a new album (out next year!), the Vegas punk stalwarts still find time to play Neon Reverb—and show the young ’uns how it’s done.

Sounds a little like: Tattoo guns, broken glass, nuclear fallout.

First spin: “Cock Fight”


Aruba’s Thunderbird Lounge, Friday, 10:15 p.m.

Need to know: A glowing album write-up in Spin might explain the West Virginia-based psychedelic popsters’ confidence. Any band secure enough to post its good, bad and ugly album reviews on its MySpace page deserves some props ... or at least a Neon Reverb pop-in.

Sounds a little like: Animal Collective, Depeche Mode, Atlas Sound.

First spin: “Hard to Unwind” (


Boomers, Friday, 12:30 a.m.

Need to know: Local hip-hop titans HighDro and Shamroc have joined forces—and fast-paced rhymes—for a project whose three-letter name is short for Jagged Leaf Clover. The pair released a self-titled disc this summer, but this marks the rare chance to catch the two rappers performing together.

Sounds a little like: Blue Scholars, Atmosphere, Brother Ali.

First spin: “Head Games” (


Gypsy Den, Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Need to know: The newish Boulder City boyfriend/girlfriend duo brings a throwback flavor to the local scene, in the form of raw, acoustic-folk harmonies and old-school equipment. The vintage tube amp alone demands you stop by.

Sounds a little like: The Duchess and the Duke, Peter Bjorn and John, The Carter Family, Langhorne Slim.

First spin: “Shipwreck” (


Aruba’s Thunderbird Lounge, Thursday, 10:50 p.m.

Need to know: The larger-than-life, NSFW Vegas comic recently began filming his debut DVD at Bonkerz Comedy Club. Get a sneak peek of the three-camera, compilation affair at Neon Reverb’s first foray into comedy programming.

Sounds a little like: Eddie Murphy, Fat Albert.

First spin: Las Vegas Laughs


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