Your Emerge soundtrack starts here: 12 music acts to catch

OK Go plays syncs up with its famous videos inside the Flamingo’s Donny and Marie Showroom on Sunday.


Who: A viral YouTube star with her sights set on crossing over into the pop-music realm, whose absurdist, minimal vignettes have become one of the more bizarre corners of the Internet.

When and where: Saturday,

April 7, 4-6:30 p.m., Mat Franco Theater at the Linq Hotel, $20.

Why: If you’ve seen Poppy’s videos—like the one where she robotically repeats the words “I am Poppy” in a creepy baby voice for 10 minutes—you’re probably just as perplexed as us. Is it art? Is it satire? Only Poppy knows the answer.

Lower Dens

Who: These drone-pop synth-rockers from Baltimore, Maryland, create ’80s-influenced indie jams meant for hazy, reflective nights.

When and where: Sunday,

April 8, 4-7:30 p.m., Harrah’s Cabaret, $20.

Why: Jana Hunter’s voice is reminiscent of Beach House’s Victoria Legrand (also from Baltimore), but Lower Dens’ New Wave leanings add an element of understated complexity. Hear: “To Die in L.A.”


Who: This LA-by-way-of-Chicago act has been known for its precise, ambitious music videos ever since it first hit the treadmills for “Here It Goes Again” in 2005.

When and where: Sunday, April 8, 4 p.m., Flamingo’s Donny and Marie Showroom, $30.

Why: Witness those iconic videos projected onto the big screen as OK GO plays along live.


Who: “I can walk outside and get shot down if you ever wonder why I’m hostile,” raps Kemba on his standout single “The New Black Theory” from 2016—the same year Kendrick Lamar invited the Bronx rapper onstage to freestyle during a live set in Brooklyn.

When and where: Saturday, April 7, 12 p.m., Harrah’s

Cabaret, $20.

Why: In a country plagued by police brutality, racism and anti-blackness, Kemba’s lyrics contain the words we all need to hear right now.


Who: Katie Crutchfield’s soft-but-powerful voice is the backbone of this Alabama indie project steeped in lo-fi guitar riffs and ’90s-tinged emo.

When and where: Friday, April 6, 9 p.m., Bunkhouse Saloon, $20.

Why: The Southern outfit tends to play warehouses and DIY shows, so seeing them inside a Downtown venue could be a rare treat.

Hurray for the Riff Raff

Who: Led by Alynda Segarra, this New Orleans band makes resistance music for the people through bold electric guitars and swinging, energetic percussion.

When and where: Saturday, April 7, 7:30 p.m., Mat Franco Theater at the Linq Hotel, $20.

Why: Check out their Tiny Desk performance from February for a taste of Segarra’s modern spin on folk and blues.


Who: Step aside, Lil’ Kim. This queer hip-hop icon’s bars are the lyrical equivalent of riding in on an iron horse made of dildos.

When and where: Saturday, April 7, noon, Harrah’s Cabaret, $20.

Why: Her new album Ephorize is packed with sexual spitfire, but lyrics like, “It was days I dreamed of money/But I woke up broke instead/Maybe that’s my fault/I shouldn’t sleep until I’m dead” show Cupcakke can drop wisdom on just about anything.

Jeff Rosenstock

Who: The Long Island, New York, singer/songwriter’s honest, anxiety-ridden lyrics have gained him a cult-like following of devout fans.

When and where: Saturday, April 7, 7:30 p.m., Mat Franco Theater at the Linq Hotel, $20.

Why: You’ll hear songs from this year’s POST- LP and maybe even catch his latest recording: the theme song for upcoming Cartoon Network show Craig of the Creek.


Who: Cameroon-born songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Laetitia Tamko has been called “Girl of the Moment” by W magazine and landed on NPR’s 100 best songs of 2017 list for her vastly bold songs that swell with emotion.

When and where: Sunday, April 8, 7 p.m., Brooklyn Bowl, $30.

Why: Vulnerable and raw, Tamko’s 2017 full-length debut, Infinite Worlds, should take on new meaning when heard live.


Who: Fans of sunny, ’90s-washed indie rock with a grungy outer layer will fall in love with the soft center present on the LA four-piece’s recent EP, Happy Omen.

When and where: Sunday, April 8, 4 to 7:30 p.m., Harrah’s Cabaret, $20.

Why: Physical copies of 2016 EP Dusk of Punk are completely sold out on Bandcamp—and for good reason. Hopefully you can score one when you see Goon live.


Who: A whimsical video by Vogue Arabia features the artist and model’s hook-laden earworm “The Cure” as she shows off Alice in Wonderland-inspired looks by Fendi—but even without the fashion fanfare, Rotana’s deep, organic pop stands on its own.

When and where: Friday, April 6, 5 p.m., Mat Franco Theater at the Linq Hotel, $30.

Why: A recent Instagram post by @iamrotana shows the singer flooring the crowd with her raspy, hair-raising vocals and a fiercely animated performance. Expect more of the same.

Downtown Boys

Who: Hailing form Providence, Rhode Island, this post-punk five-piece has made the rounds on bigger indie labels like Sup Pop and Don Giovanni.

When and where: Saturday, April 7, 7:30 p.m., Mat Franco Theater at the Linq Hotel, $20.

Why: “Either you are comfortable and unfazed by the current reigning power structures, or you use your music as a vehicle for the dismantling of oppression and the creation of something better,” writes Pissed Jeans’ Matt Korvette on the Boys’ recent LP, Cost of Living. Which side are you on?

EMERGE IMPACT + MUSIC April 6-8, times vary, $125-$250 full-fest pass, $20-$30 per show. Various venues, emergelv.com.

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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