[The Music Issue]

Notable bands that have—and haven’t—played Las Vegas

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Did you know these bands played Vegas?

Nick Cave

Nick Cave

Nick Cave has played Las Vegas? At Lollapalooza ’94, as part of a Sam Boyd Stadium lineup tour stop that also included the Beastie Boys, The Smashing Pumpkins, A Tribe Called Quest, The Breeders, The Flaming Lips and Boredoms.

Radiohead has performed in Las Vegas—twice? Opening for Tears for Fears in 1993 at the Aladdin—where a furious Thom Yorke reportedly kicked out half the stage lights—and again in 1995 at the old Joint, during a problem-plagued tour with Soul Asylum. No wonder the Brits haven’t been back.

Led Zeppelin played Las Vegas? At the old Ice Palace in the Commercial Center on Sahara, which also hosted The Doors, the Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival and others in the town’s nascent rock era.

The New York Dolls at Jillian's

The New York Dolls at Jillian's

GZA headlined the Blue Note Jazz Club? The Wu-Tanger stopped by in late 2002, as the ill-fated Strip venue embraced new programming to stay in business.

The Black Keys played the Cooler Lounge? In 2002, just five months after their first-ever gig, the lo-fi alt-blues duo played the former Decatur Boulevard dive.

The New York Dolls played the Las Vegas Sport Center and Jillian’s? The scrappy punk/glam act performed rather awkwardly at both modestly attended gigs in 2008.

Aphex Twin played the old Joint? According to one online anecdote, the British electronic/IDM maestro (with Sneaker Pimps opening) played for 20 minutes in 1997 before he was given the hook.



Nirvana played Las Vegas? Opening for Sonic Youth, in August 1990, at Calamity Jayne’s on Boulder Highway. Reportedly, Kurt Cobain and his mates were booed viciously.

Brian Wilson brought Smile to Boulder Station? In its entirety, with a 19-piece band, at the Railhead in 2004.

The never-seens: Some notable, active acts that have yet to play Vegas

Tom Waits

Frank Ocean

Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens

The National

Flying Lotus

Billy Bragg

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Philip Glass

Grizzly Bear

Cloud Nothings


Patti Smith

Death Grips

The Field

Jason Isbell


Randy Newman

Fleet Foxes



My Bloody Valentine

PJ Harvey

John Zorn

*Of course, we might have missed a show somewhere along the way. If so, tweet evidence to @lasvegasweekly.

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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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