Las Vegas Weekly’s Party on the Patio was in full swing outside Hennessey’s Tavern as I headed for the Tell, the storytelling event hosted by judge-in-running Dayvid Figler and the Beat’s Heather Hyte. The theme: “Spin Me Right Round,” which included tales of Ryan Pardee’s 2010 arrest en route to SXSW, scene fixture Krissee Danger’s teenage letters to Descendents singer Milo Aukerman, spoken-word pro Derrick Brown’s misadventures in Nashville shock-pop and “Queen of the Groupies” Pamela Des Barres’ meeting Jim Morrison and brief dalliance with the drug Trimar. The music-related tales were well-received by the packed Fiesta Room crowd. As a bonus tidbit, P Moss broke the news that pseudo-secret Europunk joke band Bloodcocks UK (Moss, Louie Thomas, Rob Ruckus and a blow-up doll) have a stateside album due this summer.
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By 11 p.m., Neon Reverb action must have been centered around the Gypsy Den or the Bunkhouse’s new outdoor stage, because following the completion of early shows at the Griffin and the Beat, Fremont East venues sat markedly empty. Over at the Las Vegas Country Saloon, locals Moaning Black Snakes kept about two dozen out-of-towners nodding politely through a two-hour set of exuberant, bluesy Southern rock at the Las Vegas Country Saloon, while more hip-hop fans lounged behind Beauty Bar in silence than caught Provo’s The Vibrant Sound inside. A pity, as the socially-conscious hip-hop foursome uniquely rocked guitar, bass, live percussion and a trumpet. A funkified cover of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” closed the set.
Buzzed Brooklyn trio Brahms didn’t fare much better in the crowd-response department at the Royal Resort, a hotel off Convention Center Drive remodeled in recent years. The lounge just east of the lobby bar is a new Neon Reverb addition, and though the muted tans and greens, snake and cheetah prints, brass mermaid lamps and sound system piping the live, synth-seeped dark harmonies outside the main entrance were nice upgrades, the visitors’ sky-high pompadours (bassist Eric Lodwick) and skinny black jeans (all 12 souls in the entire place) clashed violently with the hyper-lit BUSINESS CENTER sign mounted 10 feet away.
Singer/beat producer Cale Parks twirled a mallet with flourish in his right hand while tackling keyboard duties with his left, but his terse comments indicated his first time playing Vegas was a bit underwhelming. “Hey, do you guys watch SNL?” he sneered at set’s end. “Did you see the one a couple weeks ago where Fred Armisen’s electro band plays at his brother-in-law’s sportsbar for the Super Bowl?” Parks didn’t provide a punchline, though we were clearly the slack-jawed Jason Sudeikis of his scenario.