“Every single day, a band loses its spot in the top 25.” That’s the message local pop-rock outfit Avalon Landing had for its fans in a YouTube video last week—a parody of Sarah McLachlan’s infamous animal cruelty infomercial. As “Angel” came over the speakers, footage of the downtrodden musicians filled the screen. “Will you be the vote to make a difference?” they asked.
Last week, the band placed among 25 finalists in Hard Rock Rising, a global battle of more than 10,000 acts from 40 countries vying for the chance to play the Hard Rock Live music festival in Rome. When Tuesday’s announcement came, Avalon Landing wasn’t the grand-prize winner (or one of three runner-ups who received $10,000 in gear apiece), but the Las Vegans raked in nearly 2,000 votes in the final round, a worldwide online poll that ended May 7.
“I wanted to get into the top 25 to make [our fans] proud and show them that if we’re given an opportunity, we’ll make the most of it,” says guitarist/singer Mike Vargovich. Avalon Landing ultimately finished 14th in fan voting, and a panel of judges went on to tap Seattle band Joyfield for the grand prize. –Leslie Ventura
Local indie outfit A Crowd of Small Adventures has found a novel way to reach new listeners. The band’s latest song, “Ruby Rose,” will go out as a free download this week on the website of Vegas-based young-adult author Jessie Humphries (jessiehumphries.com), in conjunction with her newly published debut novel, Killing Ruby Rose.
“I reached out in the hopes they’d be up for writing, producing and recording an original Ruby Rose song,” Humphries explains. “Lead singer Jackson Wilcox wrote the song and lyrics, and invited me to band practice to hear it. My reaction: chills. Such amazing insight into the heart of the book. Total poetry.”
Of the new experience, Wilcox concedes, “At first it was kinda difficult, because I’m not used to taking someone else’s story and characters and using them in my songs. But after I read a few chapters I picked my favorite elements, about what the main character is feeling and lamenting.”
Humphries’ book, about a 17-year-old girl who turns vigilante after her father’s murder, reached No. 5 in Amazon Teen & Young Adult Kindle sales in early April—all in pre-orders, nearly a month before its May 1 release date. –Spencer Patterson
And the award for Creepiest Cover of an Already Creepy Song goes to …
Vegas duo Leaving Springfield, for its take on Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight.” The sinister, stripped-down version can be found on the band’s third full-length, Zihuatanejo, along with 11 new originals and a cover of Wax’s “California.”
In familiar LS fashion, the disc blends the serious with the silly, as Brent “BK” Kessler (guitar/lead vocals) and Matt Norcross (drums) rock out on record the way they do onstage—with enthusiasm typical of a hungry new band, not one that’s spent seven years gigging around town.
Zihuatanejo is available for download now at iTunes, and Leaving Springfield will have CDs available at a May 21 release show at Cheyenne Saloon with The Standells, The Astaires and Haberdashers (8 p.m., $10-$15). –SP
Much-adored all-gal five-piece Love Pentagon, a force on the Downtown scene from 2006 to 2009, has announced a one-off reunion show. Original members Christina Usatenko (vocals), Amanda Morgan (guitar), Judi Brown (bass), Marites Velasquez (keyboards) and Courtney Carroll (drums) will reassemble July 5 at Backstage Bar & Billiards, Carroll tells the Weekly. No word yet whether they’ll dig out their costumes, but you should consider wearing one regardless. –SP
Local label SquidHat Records has announced the addition of punk outfit Sounds of Threat to its roster. The five-piece band was selected after participating in SquidHat’s January showcase, and has a song on the imprint’s recently released Desert Rats With Baseball Bats 2 compilation. … Local website punksinvegas.com will celebrate its third anniversary with a May 22 house show featuring Jeff Rosenstock (Bomb the Music Industry!), San Jose’s Hard Girls and Las Vegas’ Mercy Music. We haven’t been given the address, but we’ve been told it should be easy to find on Facebook closer to the show date … The hard-touring Rusty Maples are headed out again soon, this time for a pair of San Diego sets (June 3 and 5 at North Park Theatre) supporting Sixto Rodriguez, the subject of 2012 music documentary Searching for Sugar Man.