BALCONY LIGHTS High up in the winding hills of Hollywood last summer, indie bands were jamming on a stranger’s balcony surrounded by sunshine and palm trees. It was the set of BalconyTV, an online viral music show that features bands and musicians performing original songs on balconies with breathtaking views. On this particular day, the stunning landscape of LA set the filming session apart as the shimmery synthesizers and electric guitars floated over the houses below.
Over the past 10 years, the Dublin, Ireland-based company has expanded to more than 50 cities around the world, including Budapest, Barcelona, Cyprus, Tel Aviv, and now, Las Vegas. No matter the location, BalconyTV’s concept, to film local and touring bands free of charge, has been the same. In Vegas, it’s a way for musicians to get direct exposure (Ed Sheeran and Mumford and Sons were featured before they were famous) while showcasing the city’s ever-growing community of talented artists to eyes and ears all over the world.
“They’ve done all of the footwork to get people involved,” BalconyTV Las Vegas producer Courtney Davis says about the online show. “We don’t have to start from scratch—the platform is there.”
Davis moved to Las Vegas from Chicago after high school and spent years cutting her teeth on the local music scene, getting to know bands and going to shows every week. The producer then moved to LA, where she worked for AEG Live and Goldenvoice, until she recently decided to move back to Las Vegas to bring BalconyTV here.
“I was going to the Boston, the Huntridge, always seeing shows,” Davis says. “I’ve always been the kind of person where I have to be more involved. It’s not enough to just watch the show … I know that there are a lot of other projects happening with Punks in Vegas and 11th Street [Records], and I really love the growth that I’ve seen here.”
So far, BalconyTV Las Vegas has partnered with Hard Rock Live on the Strip to feature Vegas acts Cameron Calloway, Pure Joy and Jessica Manalo, plus touring reggae artist Matisyahu. Plans call for episodes with Vegas outfits Mercy Music, Rusty Maples, Bee Master, Sonia Seelinger, Jesse Pino and Black Camaro to air in the future. balconytv.com/las-vegas
HOTS HAPPENING After more than two years of Facebook inactivity, on April 1 defunct Vegas punk favorites Holding Onto Sound posted a concert flier for a Macro Fi reunion show, scheduled for May 13 at the Bunkhouse. Naturally, most took it as an April Fool’s joke, but bassist/vocalist Zabi Naqshband is assuring fans and skeptics that the poster—which also features Macro Fi alums The Skooners, One Pin Short and Outside Looking In—is very real.
“We never really got a chance to do anything like this, [to] play one more show when our band broke up. We broke up kinda abruptly … and we started Illicitor and everybody just moved on,” Naqshband says. The possibility of a Macro Fi reunion, the collective that brought together local indie, punk and hip-hop artists, has been floating around for some time. “I think it just turned into one of those crazy ideas, and then it just kept going and going. We had planned on announcing it months ago. It’s been kind of like a secret for everybody.”
As for the bill, Naqshband says he’s happy to be playing alongside his old cohorts. “Those years were the most influential in my life. It was so eclectic … We were doing that when people didn’t think there was a community, when First Friday was still really, really small. They were such a supportive group of people. They made you feel really important and you felt compelled to make them feel important” Naqshband says. “It wasn’t hard to be stoked about Macro Fi.”
DAYDREAM BELIEVERS Prior to last month’s Neon Reverb set, it had been more than two years since the eclectic indie rockers Black Camaro played a show in Vegas. Now, the Bunkhouse is getting four of them—a series the group is calling Daydream Delphi. The mini-residency kicks off on April 8 with co-headliners Romance Fantasy, Halloween Town and When We Escape, and singer/multi-instrumentalist Tom Miller says the band will dig deep for each show, playing 40 to 50 songs between the four sets. Black Camaro’s Daydream Delphi: runs April 8, 14, 21 and 28.
ALSO Hip-hop mainstays Late for Dinner and Phil A and Hassan are kicking off their tour with Vegas instrumental band Brother Mister on Wednesday, April 13 at the Bunkhouse. … The Downtown venue is also throwing a Smiths and Morrissey bash on Friday, April 15, featuring the latter’s guitarist Boz Boorer, the 11th Street Band, Close to Modern and more. … Velveteen Rabbit is celebrating the women of the Vegas music scene with its Legendary Ladies showcase on April 23, featuring artists like Jessica Manalo, Brittany Rose, Kaylie Foster and Shayna Rain. … And Vancouver psych-rockers Cult Babies will perform an all-ages show at 11th Street Records on Sunday, April 24 with locals No Tides and Candy Warpop.