A&E

[Neon Reverb 2017]

If you can only catch one Neon Reverb act this year …

Five Weekly writers point the way to the Downtown music festival’s compelling performers

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      THE DRUMS (Thursday, 11 p.m., Backstage Bar & Billiards) Lots of indies bend a knee to ’80s New Wave, but few understand it like The Drums. The NYC band knows that the style endures not for its haircuts, but for its ability to absorb other styles—in The Drums’ case, ’60s surf-pop—and re-deliver them as friendly messages from an alien civilization. They come to Vegas armed with at least three world-conquering earworms: “Let’s Go Surfing,” “Days” and “Money.” But like their Seagull-haired antecedents, they come in peace. –Geoff Carter

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      LVL UP (Sunday, 10:30 p.m., Bunkhouse Saloon) Remember when indie rock actually rocked? Like, with guitars and everything? This New York foursome’s three-album catalog plays like a ’90s college-town jukebox—some Malkmus-y guitar slop in “Hex,” those dead-ringer-for-Mangum vocals in “Hidden Driver” and the Martsch-y song construction of “Pain” and “I Feel OK”—yet in LVL UP’s hands, it all sounds as fresh as it does retro-fuzzy. Mostly, it feels tailor-made for late-night, small-club fun. Start tuning those air guitars for a fitting fest finale. –Spencer Patterson

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      MNDSGN (Friday, 11 p.m., Beauty Bar) Behind a blend of smooth R&B and boogie funk—with an electronic tinge—Ringgo Ancheta has become a principal member of LA’s infamous beat scene. Last year’s Body Wash LP on Stones Throw Records, is ripe with jazzy chords, boomin’ bass and introspective lyrics. Songs like “Use Ya Mind (Twentyfourseven)” and “Transmissionnn” are reminiscent of Flying Lotus’ most tranquil touches, infused with a shot of dopamine. At Reverb, Mndsgn supports Stones Throw head Peanut Butter Wolf, so this should be the funkiest engagement of all. –Ian Caramanzana

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      PRISM TATS (Saturday, 11 p.m., Bunkhouse Saloon) South African frontman Garett van der Spek served as a KEXP intern before moving to LA and forming this poppy rock group, which pairs Spek’s stirring vocals and soulful flair with catchy rhythms and distorted guitars. Last year, the band signed to ANTI- Records, released an acclaimed debut LP and toured with Nada Surf; next month, it opens for Guided By Voices in Hollywood. Catch Prism Tats with Le Butcherettes and Sego at Reverb, before they’re too big for the Bunkhouse. –Leslie Ventura

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      TEMPLES (Friday, 11:30 p.m., Backstage Bar & Billiards) Temples came close to greatness with 2014’s jaunty, infectious “Keep in the Dark”—all that was missing was a touch more inspiration to elevate it above 1960s Brit-rock traditionalism. The U.K. quartet has acted accordingly per its irresistible new album Volcano, which updates its melodic psych-rock with additional production layers and electronic flourishes, much like Tame Impala did with 2015’s Currents. Catch Temples before its inevitable breakthrough. –Mike Prevatt

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    • The show never felt rushed, and the band never sounded anything but polished, whether on new songs or slightly tweaked versions of old favorites.

    • During its original November weekend, Emerge will host a concert at Brooklyn Bowl benefitting victims.

    • “We’re sort of doing a complete reset of the production and our band and crew.”

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