Mew (September 19, the Sayers Club) Denmark’s arty alt-rockers bring their arena-sized sound to the SLS’ cozy music space, part of the Bunkhouse Series’ efforts to relocate key shows from that shuttered Downtown venue’s calendar. With The Dodos.
Life Is Beautiful Festival (September 25-27, Downtown) The top of the street festival’s poster (Stevie Wonder, Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar) won’t resonate as loudly as last year’s headliners (Foo Fighters, Kanye West, OutKast), but the rest of the bill features some intriguing names, like Run the Jewels, Shamir and Dan Deacon.
Las Vegas Jazz Festival (September 25-27, Henderson Pavilion) The oddly named gathering of mainly soul and R&B talent will bring Erykah Badu, The Isley Brothers, Toni Braxton and more to the Henderson Pavilion. We repeat, Erykah Badu is playing the Henderson Pavilion(?!).
Route 91 Harvest Festival (October 2-4, MGM Resorts Village) If the headliner choices—Keith Urban, Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line—don’t excite you, dig deeper into the 20-act lineup for fast-rising foursome A Thousand Horses, Colorado singer Clare Dunn and rockish trio The Cadillac Three.
The Word (October 6, Brooklyn Bowl) Haven’t heard of the band? You probably know its members: guitarist Robert Randolph, keyboardist John Medeski and three of the North Mississippi Allstars—who team for a modern, instrumental take on gospel music.
My Morning Jacket (October 9-10, Brooklyn Bowl) Jim James’ rootsy rock outfit, which canceled its last scheduled Vegas date (2008), finally circles back, doubling up on gigs in support of latest album The Waterfall.
Neil Young (October 11, the Chelsea) On the cusp of his 70th birthday, the Canadian rock icon returns to Vegas after a 12-year absence, bringing along new backing band Promise of the Real (featured on new album The Monsanto Years) and a string of massive, drool-worthy recent setlists.
Madonna (October 24, MGM Grand Garden Arena) The pop queen’s shows are always a party, and this one’s got a local bonus: Vegas duo Shelco Garcia and Teenwolf co-produced a track (“Unapologetic Bitch”) off latest Madge album Rebel Heart.
Ride (November 10, House of Blues) The reunited British shoegazers (if you don’t know ’em, take a spin through 1990’s Nowhere, pronto), bring their dreamy guitars to the Strip. File under Least Expected Vegas Tour Stops.
Yo La Tengo (November 11, the Sayers Club) This new addition to the Bunkhouse Series brings Hoboken, New Jersey’s indie survivors to town for just the second time ever, with an all-acoustic format celebrating new, Fakebook-y record Stuff Like That There.
Public Image Ltd (November 25, Brooklyn Bowl) What better way to prepare for Thanksgiving than by feasting on Johnny Rotten’s “other” band, pioneers of the U.K.’s late-’70s post-punk sound—and reportedly still a crack live experience.
Also: Primus (September 4, the Joint); Lil Wayne, Fetty Wap (September 6, Foxtail); The Psychedelic Furs, The Church (September 8, Brooklyn Bowl); Big Blues Bender (September 10-13, the Plaza); Alejandro Fernández (September 15, Mandalay Bay Events Center); iHeartRadio Festival (September 18-19, MGM Grand Garden Arena); Charli XCX (September 20, Rehab); Swervedriver (September 24, Backstage Bar & Billiards); Shannon and the Clams (September 27, Beauty Bar); Murs (October 1, Backstage Bar & Billiards); Janet Jackson (October 9-10, Planet Hollywood); Wine Amplified Festival (October 9-10, MGM Resorts Village); Pete Rock & CL Smooth (October 11, LVCS); Father John Misty with Mikal Cronin (October 15, Boulevard Pool); Judas Priest with Mastodon (October 17, the Pearl); The Sword (October 21, Vinyl); Deftones (October 27, Brooklyn Bowl); Sepultura (October 25, LVCS); John Prine, Kris Kristofferson (October 30, the Pearl); Wanda Jackson (October 31, Backstage Bar & Billiards); Deerhoof (November 5, the Sayers Club); Peaches (November 11, Brooklyn Bowl).
Sold out? So what!
Beg, borrow or steal your way into these three packed houses:
Drake (September 6, Boulevard Pool) No surprise the Coachella-headlining rapper’s smallish Cosmo show ran out of tickets weeks ago.
The Who (September 19, the Colosseum) Colosseum one-offs tend to be special (Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon), and Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend sounded fit and fiery when they last came through Vegas in 2013.
Trey Anastasio Band (October 30-31, Brooklyn Bowl) The man they said might never play Vegas again finally returned with Phish last year, and marks the one-year anniversary of that epic weekend with another Halloween-pegged run.
Pick to Click
Together Pangea (October 31, the Griffin) You’ve got dozens of options on Halloween, and I’m betting nothing will be as badass as seeing these LA garage rockers—whose 2014 album Badillac is still at the top of my rotation—for free in a small Downtown space. –Leslie Ventura